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Should I Choose PPC or SEO?

When a company starts dabbling in digital marketing, the different tools and tactics available can get a little confusing. For example, what is the difference between Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Digital Marketing Terms Defined

PPC advertising is simply defined as online advertising that costs the advertiser every time a click brings traffic from the ad to the advertiser’s website. More specifically, PPC usually refers to advertising on Google or Bing’s search results page. Ads can appear above, to the right of, and sometimes below the actual “organic” search results.

SEO, on the other hand, deals exclusively with organic search results, trying to increase the ranking and visibility of those results in an effort to bring relevant traffic to the client website without paying directly for the click. Together, PPC and SEO are known as Search Engine Marketing or SEM.

There are great incremental click benefits of employing search advertising.

Paid vs. Unpaid Digital Marketing Tools

So why would anyone pay for each click when SEO can bring traffic for “free”? Let’s ignore for a minute the assertion that SEO doesn’t cost anything in terms of time or money, and look at the unique features of PPC advertising.

  • PPC ads are more visible. Except for when ads appear below organic search results, they show above and in the prominent right-hand column, with the terms that were searched on highlighted within the ad.
  • They can occupy more screen space. With the proper use of various ad “extensions,” they can occupy an area significantly greater than an organic listing, and when combined with great SEO ranking, can push potential competitors completely off of the first page of search results.
  • Messaging is completely under the advertiser’s control. Within the 95 characters available within a text ad, plus those available within ad extensions, the ad text can be written with the exact “call to action” and other messaging as desired.
  • Text ads are written for relevance to the search terms typed by the potential customer. Because ads are organized into “ad groups,” they can be written to reflect exactly what the searcher is looking for at the time of the search. Ads can also send users to the exact web page where a “conversion” is more likely to occur.
  • Messaging can be customized by location, time of day, or even day of week or weather conditions.
  • PPC can be implemented very quickly. Sometimes SEO efforts can take weeks or longer to take effect. An advertiser using PPC can be nimble and react to changing market conditions and opportunities within hours, if necessary.

So, No SEO?

Studies have shown that PPC ads can provide up to 89% more incremental clicks (those that would not have occurred if only SEO were used) to a website.  Does that mean PPC should replace SEO? Absolutely not. The two work best when paired together. Another study shows that the presence of a paid ad on the page can boost the clickthrough rate of organic search results as well, by as much as 522%.

So what should your website promotion strategy be? How much should you invest in PPC and SEO? The questions can be unnerving if you have limited experience with either. If you do have questions about what direction you need to take to help increase your bottom line, BIG YAM welcomes your questions. Please feel free to call and talk to our digital marketing experts at any time!