Pay-per-click verses SEO There are currently 2 main ways to generate visits from search engine users. Firstly, implementing a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy for a website can enable it to rank well for selected terms within the main search results and secondly, by using pay-per-click advertising, which displays your listing within the sponsored results on many of the popular search tools. Both of these options can be used alongside each other and can be a cost-effective way to attract new visitors to your website, but they also have their own advantages and disadvantages, as outlined below: Set-up time and costs Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be set up to work effectively within a few days, whilst developing a site's search engine optimisation may take weeks in many cases. Therefore using PPC can be useful for new websites, or for short term promotions as there is less initial cost involved and results will be achieved sooner.
Long term value As it charges for every click to a site, PPC will remain a constant cost for a business over time. In contrast, a successful optimisation project can provide added value long after the initial work has been undertaken, allowing its cost-effectiveness to overtake that of PPC in the long term. Risk The value, or return on investment, that an SEO project can provide may vary dramatically. For example, a business with a well established website containing extensive content can stand to gain far more from SEO than a newly launched website with minimal content. Assessing this value against the initial costs of optimising a site can be difficult. In contrast, the effectiveness of a PPC campaign can be assessed as money is invested, meaning that, if monitored closely, there is very little risk involved. Measurability Providers of PPC advertising, such as Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing provide information on clicks, with no need to set up any extra tracking, as leads or sales can also be tracked with the addition of a small piece of code, meaning that the cost per sale or lead can be tracked from the outset. In contrast, to measure the effectiveness of a natural search engine optimisation project, a website analytics
One or both? In the majority of cases it can be worthwhile to include elements of both activities within a search engine marketing campaign. For example, once a website has established good natural search engine visibility PPC can still be used to: Fill gaps were the site is not naturally visible Target the most specific keywords, which are often very cost effective Provide flexibility for short term campaigns Test new keywords, with a view to optimising the site for these.
it Works Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Your website appears: in the organic section by maintaining, optimising & promoting according to best SEO practices. Pricing: A click to your website does not cost you anything. Set-up and management fees vary by company. Sponsored Search / Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Your website appears: In the sponsored area of the search engine result page for keywords that you choose. Pricing: You are charged a small fee for each click. Plus any fees the company managing your campaign charges. Top Rankings Achieved in: Weeks to Months. A Few Hours. Stopping Efforts Will: Depend on industry. Rankings could remain for weeks - years . Cause immediate rankings loss in the sponsored area. Tracking Keyword and traffic performance can be tracked with an analytics program. Rankings can be used to track performance, but as personalized search grows, this will be an increasingly unreliable statistic. A diverse range of tracking available depending on who runs your campaign. Track email addresses, record calls received from clicks, ROI per click, A/B split test different landing pages, and many more. If running SEO and PPC simultaneously, use PPC feedback to optimise SEO performance.
Searcher's Impression of Website More clicks than sponsored listings on same page. Higher trust in results. Fewer clicks than organic listings on same page. Less trust of results. Number of Searches you May appear for Will depend on how each search engine's algorithm views your website and the size of your website. Infinite – as many as you set up. Conversion Rate ( ) About Equal Organic listings receive more clicks, but searchers are not as commercially motivated to purchase. Higher probability that they are in the research phase of their search. About Equal Users don't click sponsored results as much, but when they do, they are more likely to have an intent to purchase. High probability that they are in the purchase phase of their search. Upfront Investment Do It Yourself: Cash, Low. Opportunity Cost, High. Can be a DIY project, but high rankings will take even longer to obtain due to a substantial learning curve. Hire an Expert: Medium – High. Depends on who you hire, what your general marketing budget is, how big and in what shape your website is in. Low – High. Decide on your monthly budget. Budget amount will depend on the competitiveness of your online industry.
Short Term ROI Opportunity Cost: Medium. Ahead of your competitors who haven't started SEO efforts, but behind those who already have. Cash: Low - Medium. Make an investment, results could take weeks - months depending on the competitiveness of your industry. Opportunity Cost: Low. Make an investment, get immediate results. Cash: Low - High. Depends on how competitive your industry is and what your profit margin is. Long Term ROI High. Rankings can last for some time and you aren't paying for every click. Low - High. Depends on Industry and your profit margin. Ability to Target Local Customers Medium. Target local customers by optimising for keywords plus geographic keyword modifiers. High. Target local customers for any keyword phrase within virtually any geographic area you choose from specific cities to a radius around a certain city, to entire states or countries. Level of Control Medium. Pages can be optimised for certain keywords, but the management of the conversion process is slightly less customisable because a variety of keywords bring people with different goals to the same page. High. Highly customisable marketing message. You manage the entire marketing message from title and URL appearing in the ad, to the landing page people arrive on to the specific call to action you want visitors to take.
PPC is like hiring a Bugatti Veron for the day; It's fast, it's expensive, it'll definitely turn heads and grab the attention of passers by; If you get one it's going to eat up a lot of your budget, and cost quite a bit to run. It definitely gets results, though when the money runs out it's going to lounge in your garage gathering dust. It's also very easy to drive. SEO is like investing in a Volvo S40; It's definitely not as fast, and is unlikely to turn as many heads at first; But it's both cheaper and more cost effective; You'll reach the same destination as the Bugatti but you'll have spent less money along the way; Once you've got it working properly, you won't have to spend much money on the upkeep, it'll just keep ticking along with a regular MOT and a service or two.
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