There is plenty of competition, and businesses as well as digital marketers must take advantage of SEO as well as PPC to get convertible traffic. Both strategies cost money to get traffic to your site.
The difference is that you pay people to implement SEO that leads to free organic traffic.
However, that happens over time. It may take a year for results to show. For PPC, you pay the service provider, and you pay for ads. You get immediate results.
This might lead one to assume that PPC is the way to go. SEO experts opine otherwise. The best way forward is to use the two together.
The good of PPC
You pay for every click in PPC, besides paying the campaign manager. PPC does have its good points.
- You can choose the time, geographic location, and position on the page.
- You can pick your keywords and craft the ad around it.
- You can target people who are searching for similar products.
- PPC stands a better chance of clickthrough and conversion.
- PPC generates immediate traffic and gets you instant exposure, possibly on the first page of search results.
- You can target geographic locations and track data.
The bad of PPC
PPC is not without its downsides:
- People may simply click through without any intention of buying. You pay for such clicks.
- Your ad, and therefore your company, is visible so long as you have an ongoing PPC campaign. Suspend it, and you go off the radar. You were where you started.
- People know that it is an ad. Depending on their intent, they may click on your ad or ignore it.
- PPC results show up in search results. It faces stiff competition from the broader world of digital display ads.
- Higher competition for keywords drives up the cost of ads.
- There is no guarantee that even finely crafted ads can lead to conversions. There are other variables.
- PPC does nothing to enhance your reputation or create an online persona or a brand image.
Now take a look at SEO.
SEO is an umbrella term that covers a variety of ongoing strategies that may be implemented in parallel or on a modular basis. It includes social media too.
The goal is to create backlinks from authority sites in the natural organic way.
The end purpose of SEO is, ultimately, to generate more sales but, along the way, you pick up benefits such as a recognized online presence and reputation. Like PPC, SEO too has its pros and cons.
The good of SEO
- You do not pay to see your site appear in search results. Search engines rank your website based on your search engine optimization strategies and incorporate keywords in the short search result. Some visitors may prefer such listings to PPC and are more likely to click through, especially when they wish to obtain more information.
- SEO is like planting a tree. You reap the fruits after some time but like a tree, you have an abundance of fruits. Keep at it and SEO will result in the increasing volume of organic, convertible traffic. Plus, you establish a robust online presence and reputation. The two combine to deliver more tangible results that keep improving with the passage of time.
- Even if you suspend SEO operations for a while, your presence is there on search engines.
The bad of SEO
There are downsides to search engine optimization as a technique of digital marketing.
- It takes time ranging from 6 months to a year for your site to show up on the first page of search results. Meanwhile, you keep paying SEO people to keep working on your website.
- It requires a polished site to serve as the base of SEO operations.
- It is not easy to get to the first page and the first five at the top. It is tougher to maintain that position.
Where to apply
It is easy to lose sight of applicability.
For whom does PPC work well? Retail shops selling branded products, for instance, rarely need SEO.
The important thing for them is to get people to walk in and PPC is admirably suited for this purpose.
A little bit of social media interaction on the side helps retailers and local businesses.
PPC may be implemented at certain times such as during festive seasons to enhance visibility and drive sales.
SEO, on the other hand, is indispensable for larger businesses that need to address global audiences, improve their online reputation and disseminate information about their company, products and service.
Branding drives sales and such businesses need to create online brand auras, an area in which SEO surely helps.
The cocktail mix of SEO and PPC
SEO is excellent and so is PPC. The smart thing that expert digital marketers do is to mix the two together. PPC can be used to drive even more SEO traffic and gain multi-channel success. It is a win-win situation for customers and digital marketers. Google is expanding the scope of text ads, and that is good news for digital marketers plus an incentive to integrate PPC with SEO. It works like magic to achieve better results while containing costs.
Using PPC data for SEO
The common practice in PPC is to bid on keywords. Generic high demand keywords command a higher price. The trick is to use your brand or product-specific keywords to reduce your PPC cost.
At the same time, PPC gives you analytics on keyword performance and keywords used in searches. You take this data as input to optimize your website and content pages with keywords based on what the PPC data suggests.
The PPC text can be straightaway ported to serve as meta description tags for your website. The ad reinforces the search result. Your PPC ad could be displayed and below it the organic search result.
Another useful technique that works is to use the clickthrough rate data to determine use of the relevant keywords in your site and for content marketing. The keywords can be the basis for the development of content.
Work in reverse
SEO experts are likely to conduct research and then decide keywords for the SEO campaign. This may or may not have the desired outcomes for their client. However, if they use PPC and work in reverse, their efforts at the selection of keywords are better rewarded. For instance, they can start at the PPC end and initiate campaigns, glean high performing keywords, and use these keywords in their SEO campaigns. They are using keywords that have been clicked and converted.
Parallel implementation or, better still, PPC first
SEO is a cash cow digital marketers can keep on milking. Understandably, this is one reason why they recommend SEO first to their customers. Besides, customers are not too eager to spend loads of money on PPC with no guarantee of returns. They are more agreeable to SEO. However, they lose sight of the fact that competition can take away market shares. PPC gets them immediate responses and keeps them competitive too. Therefore, on this ground, it is advisable for digital marketers to recommend PPC first to their clients. The benefit, as explained above, is obvious: you get to know which keywords are effective. These keywords are transplanted to the future SEO campaign and thereby improve rate of returns on investment as well as SEO efforts. There are other ways in which PPC catalyzes SEO.
PPC energizes SEO
Suppose you launch a PPC campaign. Visitors search using keywords and your ad shows up. They click through. You get data on their behaviour on your website and that helps you to modify websites to lead to longer, fruitful engagement.
- Analytics show results of pages that generate the most revenue. You can focus on these pages as well as others that need improvement.
- PPC lets you bid on your brand keywords and on competitor brand keywords.
- Analytics lets you zero in on keywords with the highest clickthrough rates which are not necessarily keywords with the highest bid value. Launch Google’s ad reporting window, search terms and view results under clicks. You get insights on which keywords drive results and which simply drive traffic. You can amend your existing content.
- A PPC campaign gives you access to analytic tools of Google as well as tools from Moz and Serpstat. You can use these tools to view keywords reports and keywords used by competitors. This helps you decide on the best combination of keywords that will get you more visitors who are likely to buy.
- Keyword research tools can, at best, help you make an educated guess about which keywords to use whereas PPC reports are data-driven. You can create a keyword map using keywords that have actually delivered traffic.
- The simple logic is to be visible and that too prominently. PPC fulfils this function admirably. Should a PPC ad appear and below it your organic search result, it proves to be more visible and enticing for visitors to click through to the landing page. If the landing page is engaging enough, you see a conversion.
- Google is evolving its metrics and algorithms. One good thing is when you link PPC ads to your product page then the ad could also relate to an e-commerce page where it is available. Visitors also get to see concise user reviews. It is more convincing.
Why PPC First?
You could initiate both SEO and PPC campaigns at the same time. However, what happens in this scenario is that if you intend to use PPC derived results on keyword choices, then you would have to modify the SEO campaign already initiated. Undoing what has been done takes a lot of effort and may not be successful. Besides, it is wasteful of effort, time and expenditure. Instead, wait for the PPC to give you precise ideas about the choice of keywords and customer behaviours. Then you can modify the website and set off your SEO campaign on the right foot.
As stated above, there are specific cases like that of a retailer who wishes to see sales first. PPC helps achieve this goal. You may initiate SEO later on to boost the retailer’s image and reputation in a much better way with data derived from PPC. That said, there should not be much of a time lag between the two implementations. Once you get data from PPC you can launch SEO and the two can run concurrently, reinforcing each other. You see higher ranking, ranking that lasts for a longer time, more conversions, happy customers and better returns.
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