Not sure whether your business should be investing in PPC or SEO? SEO MCR, pay per click agency Manchester, breaks them both down and provides you with some insight as to where they will fit into your marketing plan.
As PPC specialists in Manchester, we often get asked: “Which is better: PPC or SEO?”
Despite popular belief, this is not a question we can easily answer, as it depends on a variety of things such as your marketplace, the current situation of your business, and your business goals.
SEO is in our business name, and SEO has always served us well. After all, when SEO is done well it can offer you more website visitors at a better cost per lead than PPC.
However, many businesses struggle to get started with SEO and so use PPC as a way to quickly get into search marketing and achieve results.
So, the answer to the question really comes back to your digital marketing strategy. Understanding your target customers and how they use the internet to search is critical for determining whether organic search (SEO) or paid search (PPC) or a combination of both is going to work the best for your business.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both PPC and SEO and some tips on how to ensure you choose the right channel for your business.
PPC vs SEO
There are two main differences to keep in mind when comparing PPC and SEO:
- Paid Ads appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERP) above the organic listings (which are influenced by SEO)
- Traffic from PPC has a cost attached to it (you pay for each click) whereas traffic from organic search is technically “free”
PPC offers you laser targeted visibility
Some of the benefits that PPC can offer you are:
- Higher position on the page as paid search tends to dominate above the fold content. Users will typically see at least 4 ads on a desktop screen and 3 on a mobile, meaning they will usually clock them even if they choose to scroll past them and not click
- Improved adverts with more space for getting your marketing message across.
- Visual shopping ads that help the searcher to see what they are clicking on – really helps with click through rate
- Brand visibility as they get your brand seen by the right people
- Budget controls are much tighter than they are on SEO – you can set a fixed limit on how much you are willing to spend per day
- Laser targeting of potential customers
- PPC campaigns can be created in days and ramped up in a matter of weeks
- PPC campaigns can be really agile, allowing you to get feedback on a new product or marketing message quickly
- Can determine what keywords convert and at what percentage and cost, and use this information to fuel our organic campaigns
- A/B testing is built in
- PPC ads don’t tend to suffer from the same turbulance that organic results tend to suffer from
- If your ad campaign is set up and run well, it can be a low cost way to generate leads for your business
The downsides of PPC are:
- It can be expensive especially if you are running international campaigns
- It requires constant investment or your lead generation will dry up
- You could get into a bidding war with another advertiser in your space, which will drive costs up
- PPC ads are also relatively easy to copy by your competitors
The benefits of SEO are:
- Achieving visibility in search engines for your targeted keywords puts your business in front of customers and drives brand awareness
- You can become an authoratitive voice around a chosen topic as searchers conduct research that will lead them to a purchase
- Being visible in the search results can influence your perceived crediblity with the audience who is searching for your services
- An increase in website traffic provides you with more opportunities to drive awareness of your business
- There is no direct charge for each click or impression
- Organic traffic does not dry up the moment you stop investing, helping to sustain your business when marketing spend is cut
- Once you have established your place in the organic search results, your competitors can’t buy their way over you.
However, there are cons to SEO as well:
- Organic traffic can be slow to come by especially if you are targetting keywords that are being targeted by Amazon and eBay
- You need to be able to develop content assets that help you to achieve strong organic visibility
So it should be PPC and SEO, not PPC vs SEO
In an ideal world, then, most businesses should invest in both PPC and SEO. They both have pros and cons and work best when run alongside each other. The benefits of investing in both PPC and SEO include:
- Keyword and conversion data from PPC being fed into SEO campaigns
- Total traffic volume can be increased by using organic to target high-performing keywords and paid to target clicks
- High-cost, high-volume and low-performing keywords can all be moved from PPC to SEO
- A/B testing of paid ad copy and landing pages can be fed into organic listing and landing pages
- Retargeting can be used to ensure you stay in front of your website visitors after an initial search, and you can customise your messaging around what they engaged with on your site
- You can test your keyword strategy in PPC before adding it to your long-term SEO campaign
- Use commercial keywords to target your audience all along the purchase funnel from research through comparison to purchase
- Having strong paid and organic visibility will increase awareness of your business and confidence in it
So, to summarise. In our experience, the optimal approach is to combine PPC and SEO in one strategy. Results are improved overall in each channel when this approach is taken.