PPC vs SEO: Which One is Right for Your Business? | Fora Financial Blog
PPC vs SEO: Which One is Right for Your Business?
October 02, 2018

PPC vs SEO: Which One is Right for Your Business?

Regardless of your industry, you probably rely on your business’s website as a primary marketing tool. However, it isn’t enough to simply have an online presence. You should also learn effective ways to drive your target audience to your website. Although there are several online marketing options to consider, search engine optimization and pay-per- click advertising campaigns are generally among the most effective options.

Many industries are saturated with newcomers, which makes it more challenging to get the focused attention of your target audience. Your website’s design and content will play a major role in how effective your conversion rate is once your target audience arrives on your website, but first you’ll need to get them to visit your website.

Both SEO and pay-per-click marketing have their pros and cons. In this post, we’ll examine the strengths and weaknesses of both methods, so that you can determine if one (or both) are a good fit for your target audience and business model.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of gaining online visibility via a higher ranking in SERP (search engine result pages) without paying for traffic from search engines. It’s commonly referred to as “organic” or “natural” traffic. Some companies that try to implement search engine optimization strategies on their own fail to generate desired results. This may be because they lack the in-depth understanding of search engine algorithms and analytics, or because they don’t know how to apply those factors to their own online marketing efforts.

Keep in mind that search engine algorithms are updated periodically, so staying up-to-date with these changes adds to the challenge associated with generating results through this marketing strategy. Remember that all the leading search engines, such as Google and Bing, have different analytics. Therefore, your search marketing campaign should have elements that appeal to multiple popular search engines, rather than focusing on algorithms for only one or two.

A search engine optimization campaign is typically much more affordable than a PPC campaign. To create a solid search engine marketing campaign, you should regularly post fresh content that includes relevant keywords in a natural manner. If you don’t have any writers on your marketing team, you might need to hire a few freelancers to get started.

Search engine optimized marketing campaigns often generate moderate results initially, but their return on investment can escalate over time if you produce fresh, thoughtful content. Generally, search engine optimization plans are best-suited for companies that have a limited marketing budget or are fine with seeing slow growth in their marketing ROI.

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click advertising will also require you to select suitable keywords that your target audience may be using to locate your products or services. Each keyword or phrase that you target may have a different rate based on popularity, but you can bid for a higher rate to receive improved positioning in the search engine results.

Choosing very popular keywords can cost you a significant amount of money within a very short period. Therefore, a cost-saving strategy is to choose less popular phrases that are highly-targeted to your audience, products, or services. Essentially, when a consumer searches for a keyword that you’ve paid for, your website will be featured prominently. Also, it’s important to note that you won’t be charged for your website to appear in a search engine result. Instead, you’ll be charged based on the number of times your link is clicked.

This type of campaign may be more expensive, but it can generate leads very quickly. To contain the cost of this type of campaign, you may be able to set a limit on the amount of money that you want to spend. You may also monitor the campaign’s progress and opt out of it when the expense reaches a certain amount. Generally, this type of campaign doesn’t have the long-term results that search engine optimization can produce.

How to Find the Perfect Balance with SEO and PPC

Although it’s easy to lump these two types of marketing together, you can see that they’re different in many ways. SEO is preferred for businesses with smaller budgets that want long-term results, while PPC is well-suited for companies with larger budgets that seek immediate results. Some businesses may be a good fit for one type of over the other, but many businesses can benefit through the inclusion of both options in a comprehensive online marketing plan.

To find the perfect balance between SEO and PPC, you’ll need to determine how your target audience typically reaches your website and which keywords they use to locate your products or services. Research the cost of pay-per-click marketing for your preferred keyword and determine your need to generate an immediate ROI.

Some businesses find that heavily focusing on pay-per-click advertising with a moderate investment in search engine optimized content now is a smart idea, and they may gradually shift their emphasis to be more heavily-centered on optimized content as the leads from this source pick up. Because each business is different, it’s important to find a strategy that works well for your company’s specific needs and budget.

How to Afford Your Marketing Plan

Digital marketing is an essential element in any business budget. Marketing drives sales and defines your brand, so you should have an ample marketing budget. If you’re struggling to afford marketing efforts, consider applying for external financing. For example, you may qualify for a working capital loan or another type of business financing. Remember that your lead generation efforts and sales may lag behind expectations if you don’t follow a strategic marketing plan. It may make sense to finance marketing efforts initially until your income catches up with your company’s finances.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both of these online marketing strategies that may make one option more preferable than another. While you may decide to focus entirely on one method, you could also incorporate both methods into a comprehensive marketing plan. Because you understandably want to create an online marketing plan that maximizes your ROI, it may make sense to outsource your online marketing efforts to a trusted marketing firm that specializes in this area.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi location companies. He has recently been recognized as part of the 2018 Top 40 Under 40 list by Georgia State University.