Guest Post: Which Search Method Yields the Most ROI for Your Business?
SEO and PPC are two of the most important marketing channels for any business with a website. They are constantly confused and sometimes not completely understood. Many businesses must decide which one to choose, and a lack of resources can mean that a wrong choice impacts a business significantly, especially for small businesses. There is a correct answer for every business that depends on multiple factors. Taking these factors into account can help you make the correct decision and receive the most return for your investment.
If you are new to digital marketing, SEO stands for search engine optimization. In SEO (also often referred to as organic search marketing) search engines choose results on a search engine results page (SERP) that are not being paid for directly by the advertiser. Rather, the search engines use an algorithm that assesses a site’s relevancy and authority on the web to provide the user with the best results possible. SEO experts help to optimize a site so that search engines can more easily access their information and better rank their pages, helping to drive more traffic to the site. More traffic means more business.
PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click, also known as paid search marketing. These ads are sold by search engines on a per click system, meaning if a user clicks an ad, the advertiser pays for that traffic directly. PPC is complicated and can be difficult to succeed at with little experience. Because search engines charge advertisers for clicks, if the advertiser does not have a high conversion rate they can quickly lose substantial amounts of money.
3 Factors to Compare
Consider your marketing goals with respect to three different factors before making a decision. These three factors explain a lot about how PPC and SEO work. They are time-to-results, predictability, and website value.
Think about SEO as long-term. SEO will not produce results overnight, and most likely not for months. Getting ranked in search engines means proving to the search engines that your site has authority across the internet. This comes from hard work and a lot of time. Although a lot of SEO services can be performed by in-house teams, this definitely doesn’t mean that it’s cheap. You may very well need someone full-time just to build authority for your site. Once Google and other major search engines understand what your site is about and respect its authority, things become much easier and you can produce massive ROI for a long period of time.
PPC works well with sites that do a good job of converting traffic into sales. Unlike SEO where it will likely take months or years to see considerable ROI, a good PPC campaign can earn a business profit immediately. If your site isn’t converting traffic well, it may take a little time to optimize landing pages. Overall, PPC takes much less time to see results than SEO.
SEO is highly unpredictable. Why is this? You’re not paying a search engine to place an ad that a certain number of people see. Rather, you’re attempting to prove your site’s authority and credibility to receive impressions from an algorithm. On top of that, you have competitors that will do just about anything to beat you, search engines that are constantly updating and changing their rankings, and people utilizing PPC that are taking away from your traffic. SEO is hard and unpredictable. Good SEO professionals can usually forecast a highly accurate plan but sometimes things don’t always work out exactly as they say.
PPC is still unpredictable, but it’s definitely more predictable than SEO. Paid search depends largely on data collected and analyzed to make intelligent decisions on when and where to advertise. Because of this, PPC professionals can better meet the needs and better assess the success of a campaign than in SEO. When things aren’t going right, it’s much easier to figure out why and address the issues than it typically is in SEO.
3. Website Value
Doing SEO is like buying a house versus renting one. Organic search strategies are actually building equity for your website that will deliver free traffic forever. That means that if you ever want to sell the company or the website, it should have a higher valuation strictly because of the organic search equity it has earned. The buyer will essentially pay a premium for the fact that the site earns meaningful traffic with no incremental cost to him.
As soon as marketing spend on PPC is gone, it cannot be traded for future value. PPC provides immediate value, where SEO provides long-term value. An exception is that if a site can be proved to have excellent conversion rates by sending PPC traffic to it, this proof of user experience can potentially turn into a bargaining chip for the seller.
Which Should You Choose?
Overall, PPC and SEO have different effects and return for small businesses. If you are looking for quick profit and don’t have the resources for a long-term campaign, consider PPC as your option. If you are a business that hopes to be around for a long time and continue to grow over time, SEO may be a better choice. Whatever you decide, make sure to evaluate your needs against this framework, and consider the benefits with an expert.
Which option will you choose for your business?
Guest Blogger: Wesley Flippo of Inseev Interactive
Wesley Flippo is a digital marketing strategist for Inseev Interactive, a San Diego based SEO and PPC agency. He enjoys beach volleyball and mini golf.