Mastering digital marketing requires understanding and implementing effective marketing strategies.
However, many small businesses and startups don’t have enough resources to put out marketing campaigns of each possible type. Instead, your business may need to focus on one or two primary marketing strategies and hope for the best.
Out of all the possible strategies to implement, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two of the most popular for digital traffic generation.
It can be tough to know whether SEO vs. PPC marketing is right for your business. Let’s break down both marketing strategies in detail and explore the pros and cons of each.
In a nutshell, SEO or “search engine optimization” means improving how well your website/store’s pages rank with Google. Google uses an automated algorithm to rank pages based on things like:
- Their apparent quality
- Their relevance to certain keywords
- Their mobile-friendliness
- Other factors
By improving your store’s SEO, you’ll make your brand more likely to appear at the top of Google search engine results when potential customers search for keywords related to your brand.
Say that your orthodontic SEO marketing needs work to bring locals to your practice. If you prioritize SEO marketing, locals with orthodontic needs will see your practice first when they type in relevant keywords like “braces near me.”
SEO marketing is chiefly concerned with improving organic SEO. This guarantees that search engine crawlers – which are essentially automated bots – can accurately read what’s on your web pages and rank them appropriately.
SEO marketing can take a few different forms. Some of the best ways to market for better search engine optimization include:
- Revamping your existing store webpages for better copy and better keyword placement
- Ensuring that you have several external links leading to “high authority” web pages
- Posting relevant, well-written blog posts consistently to inform your audience and to improve your brand’s authority in its industry
Companies like Techwyse can help your business master SEO marketing in its niche.
Benefits of SEO Marketing
There are many benefits to practicing search marketing. Chiefly, organic SEO will help your brand remain relevant and highly ranked on the web for years to come.
Over time, this can very likely lead to increased traffic for your online store and cause your brand to become better known.
Other benefits of SEO marketing include:
- Cost-effectiveness. Compared to PPC advertising and other digital marketing, organic SEO marketing and improvements are cost-effective and pretty easy to implement
- SEO marketing leads to long-term improvements when done properly rather than short-term marketing gains.Good search engine optimization stays effective for years to come, while PPC ad requirements can change quickly
- Organic SEO often leads to greater audience trust, which can make your brand stand out from the competition
- High click-through rates for PPC and other ads – in this way, good SEO leads to better marketing for your digital enterprise overall
Downsides to SEO Marketing
That all said, there are some downsides to focusing on SEO marketing to the exclusion of PPC advertising or other marketing efforts. These downsides include:
- It takes a while to see significant results. Compared to PPC marketing, SEO is slow and may not yield the short-term marketing improvements you need ASAP
- Lots of hands-on effort is required
- SEO is continuous, so you’ll always need to update your site’s SEO to account for the changing intricacies of Google’s search engine algorithms
PPC Marketing Explained
PPC or pay-per-click advertising means you purchase visits to your website through advertisements. Essentially, you create online ads, and then you get charged a fee whenever someone clicks on your ad and visits your website.
Depending on the keywords you use and the types of ads you create, this can cost anywhere from a few cents to several dollars.
Thus, PPC advertising can be relatively affordable or very expensive depending on how competitive the keywords you choose to advertise for are.
That said, PPC marketing allows you to harness search engine traffic and immediately bid for keywords that are linked directly to your industry or product. Through PPC marketing, you also don’t have to pay for bad advertising space that doesn’t result in clicks to your site.
Advantages to PPC Marketing
PPC marketing is popular among many online store owners for a variety of reasons. The biggest advantages to focusing on PPC marketing include:
- Immediate results for your sales pipeline – when someone clicks on your PPC ad, you know that they saw your advertisement and clicked through to your website’s landing page
- Total control over your PPC account. You can set the final budget for your advertising and roughly estimate how many leads you’ll get
- Targeted advertising. PPC advertising allows you to more directly target the people you want to bring to your site
- Less focus on search engine algorithms. With the right PPC ads, you’ll bring people to your brand even if Google isn’t particularly friendly to your site at the moment
- Visual product advertisements. Some PPC campaigns allow you to use visual images or videos, which could increase the click-through rate if the images and/or videos are made well
Disadvantages of PPC Marketing
Even though there are benefits to focusing on PPC marketing, there are also some downsides. These disadvantages include:
- Your landing page and website have to be very well-designed for the clicks to be worthwhile. You can theoretically pay a lot for PPC marketing but not see any return on your investment if your site isn’t well laid out. Basically, the success of your PPC marketing is partially contingent on the quality of your website and SEO
- Can be very expensive. In general, the more successful your PPC marketing becomes, the more money you have to spend on it to remain competitive
- Can take a long time to do well. You have to research the perfect keywords to bid on if you want your PPC ads to be really effective
- Click fraud. Some businesses are negatively impacted by click fraud, which occurs when advertisers imitate human clicks from different IP addresses, forcing you to pay them money even though you aren’t generating any legitimate traffic
- Not good for long-term benefits. You’ll have to constantly reinvent your PPC ads and marketing if you want them to remain relevant and attractive to your target audience.
Which Marketing Strategy Should You Choose?
Both SEO marketing and PPC marketing can be effective and useful for small businesses and startups like your own.
If you have to pick between one or the other, PPC marketing is best to use at first while you are still learning the ins and outs of your industry and building up a target audience.
However, you can and should lean into search engine optimization early in the process. SEO marketing yields longer-term, more consistent results for your brand.
More than that, SEO marketing will help you keep customers in the long term by boosting your brand authority and industry reputation.
In a way, you should use both SEO and PPC marketing to their maximum extent. The most successful businesses will try to use both in conjunction with one another.
Alternatively, you can take a look at your brand and see which marketing style works best for your needs and target audience.