The Web Marketing Debate: Organic SEO vs PPC
Our guest blogger from Australia, Alexis Thompson, an online marketing enthusiast, writes about the pros and cons of two of the most widely used techniques of online promotion in general and search engine marketing in particular.
Search engine marketing is really vital for businesses and other entities as it is through this method that your website or ads will be easier for customers to find you on the internet. Without these customers, your business will surely not make it. One can maximize their quality of being searched via two major techniques – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC). But which of these two is the better choice? Before we decide, let us define each and enumerate their respective pros and cons.
SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engine in a natural, may be unpaid, and algorithmic way. The website entity or code will be tweaked with the goal of making that website appear more frequently or at the top of a search using various search engines.
Let us dive into its pros and cons to further understand it.
Pros of SEO
- Essentially free
When you use white hat SEO, you won’t need to shell out direct form of payment. Best website design practices can lead to SEO and you won’t pay for every click your website gets unlike PPC. Some SEO require services and hence payment though.
- Long-Term Return On Investment (ROI)
SEO may be a more cost-effective option in the long run because as long as your website is up and your high quality boosting back-links are there, the SEO effect will remain, and compared to PPC, SEO efficiency may be more exponential compared to PPC so ROI is in general will be easier to attain.
Cons of SEO
- Slow Startup
SEO initiatives may not immediately have any effect. Once your website is optimized, your page will go from let’s say the 6th page of the search result to the 1st page in around 6 months time.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
On the other hand, what is PPC and how does it work? Pay-per-click is also called cost per click, and is an internet advertising model used to traffic to websites, where advertisers pay the publisher which is typically a website owner when the ad is clicked. Advertisers bid on keywords and hope that their links will be seen by users and be clicked for the websites to be seen.
Like what we tacked in SEO, let us take a look at major pros and cons of PPC too to have a good overall idea about it.
Pros of PPC
- Speedy Startup
It takes only a few hours to set up a PPC campaign. There are several easy and quick to use advertising services like Google Adwords, Microsoft Center and among others. Simply do these 3 steps: Create the campaign, create the ads, and then bid on the search terms. Then you will be set to go!
- Better Ad Positioning
The physical location of the ad link can be found more prominently on top, on the right side, and/or at the bottom of the organic results in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Making it easier for people to find and click your links.
- Settings Editing and Data Tracking Made Easy
Various configurations of your PPC campaigns can easily be customized as you see fit. All elements like ads, keywords, bids, budgets etc can all be edited with a few simple clicks and will take only a few minutes. Data tracking is also made easy as PPC data are very quantifiable and highly measurable.
- Geographic Targeting
If you want to focus your PPC efforts on specific geographic regions only, this can easily be done. This is important if you have a specific group of people only that you want to target for whatever reasons.
Cons of PPC
- Costs may pile up over time
You get what you pay for per click which is the goal. But what if your investment is large and ROI period is long? The costs may pile up over time. Keywords competition is getting tougher in time which may mean that you have to shell out more money.
- Soul Dependency
If it will be unfortunate that for some reason your budget will be limited, your ads may be gone and it will be a bad thing as the percentage of traffic that came from your PPC campaigns will be more or less the same percentage of traffic that will vanish. So PPC may be a double edged sword if you have unstable budget.
Upon seeing all the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC, it is best to have a mix of both worlds! Some cons of either one can be complemented by the pros of the other one. For example, since SEO’s effect can take some time, you can use PPC first, and then once your SEO campaign takes its effects, you can switch to it and get rid of PPC to save costs. So weigh your options and engage your search engine marketing efforts using both SEO and PPC to maximize efficiency!