9/22/2011

SEO vs PPC


If you want to attract visitors to your site then there are a couple of ways of doing this. Among the most popular and effective ones are SEO and PPC. Which one is better?
I have been thinking about this issue for a while and have come up with a few points to try and help me reach a final decision. Let’s take a look.

The Cost

PPC stands for Pay Per Click. As the name suggests, you pay for every time someone clicks on your ad and gets directed to your site. In theory this means that the more visitors you receive the more you pay. Anyone who is completely confident of converting the majority of their visitors into paying customers should get big benefits out of this. SEO is all about search engine optimization and the price you pay is generally not related to the results you get. You will be paying for a package which involves carrying out the tasks necessary to get you up the search engine rankings. However, you are not paying for the results as such but rather for the process.

The Results

In SEO the results you see will really depend upon how competitive a market you are operating in. For instance, if you are up against some big hitting sites then you are going to have to plug away for a while before getting into a good position on the rankings. On the other hand, if the competition is pretty puny then you should sweep them aside more easily. PPC is a different kettle of fish, as you aren’t really battling it out to get more visibility; you are paying for it. You would think that this means that the results are more guaranteed but I have a spanner to throw in the works. With SEO the people who find you are those who are looking for you. With PPC you might get a lot of idle clickers reaching your site. If your page is SEO optimized for your keywords and it has been done professionally then you know exactly what your visitors have typed in as their searches. With PPC you are attracting visitors who were maybe looking at something completely different but saw your advert and decided to have a look at it. Therefore, they probably have less intention of buying something when they enter your site.

The Long Term Sustainability

The final point I want to consider is which of these two methods is better in the long run. This is another close call and again comes down to the website’s own position in the overall market. For example, if I have a site which doesn’t have particularly strong competition then I can run some SEO work for a few months and blitz my way to the top of the rankings. If the rival sites don’t wake up then I can carry on in my lofty position with little or no maintenance work or costs. With the PPC approach you only get what you pay for. If you stop doing it you stop getting visitors from it, as simple as that.

Takeaway

This means that I have to go with SEO here, as it is something which is designed specifically to give your site visibility on an ongoing basis. Getting business from organic searches seems to me like the most natural and long term solution to finding your next generation of customers.

1 comment:

Paolo said...

Nice article.
Things can even get more complicated actually. I believe there is no absolute way to decide if SEO is best than PPC. Actually, all strategies are good if used together and combined strategically.

Example: to make good SEO, you need good keywords, to have good keywords you might want to test them in AdWords. And by the way: SEO is now affected by Social Media strategies, so you need to make Social Marketing as well if you want to succeed in SEO.

Briefly said: I think one should focus on what combination of different marketing channels brings the highest conversion rates. Which is to say: focus on serving better messages to whatever channel your target uses.