SEO vs PPC: Where to invest

23 May 2017

SEO vs PPC: Where to invest

In the early days of the internet, there was very little content available online. Now, it can be so hard to find relevant content is because there is so much out there. Hence, brands generally need to put in a bit of effort to get their content seen by the world. In practical terms, this means either or both of search engine optimisation (SEO) or pay-per-click advertising (PPC).

SEO

In today’s world of “fake news” and Photoshop, authenticity is valued and the fact that SEO delivers results without the search engines being paid to put a company name or brand at the top of their list can help to increase the credibility of the result in the eyes of some searchers.

This, in itself, can help to drive awareness of your business and brand, but the best SEO strategies use these search returns to drive traffic through to the company’s own online presence and start the process of engaging with prospects and converting them into customers and/or brand ambassadors.

Over the (very) long term, this can turn a brand from something users find as part of a generic search query into a brand for which they actively search.

PPC

SEO campaigns take time to show results, whereas with a brand new sale or special offer, you want quick wins. A PPC ad campaign can get your new product or your best offer in front of your ideal customer within minutes.

Added to this, there is the fact that advertising revenue funds the search engines and it’s easy to understand why the major players not only prioritise adverts in the rankings, but also make it possible to make adverts more attractive and engaging compared to organic search returns, for example by including images of products.

Putting this together means that PPC can be used to achieve meaningful results far more quickly than organic SEO.

So, which is better?

You would probably benefit from both.

In an ideal world you would probably like a PPC advert at the top of the search paid, immediately followed an organic result to lend it credibility. In the real world, your PPC adverts are what will give you visibility while your SEO strategy moves you steadily forward in the organic results. Once you have reached a certain level of prominence, you may choose to turn off PPC, but even then, you may find it is still a worthwhile investment.

The reality is that even though SEO is free in the sense that nobody pays the search engines, implementing an effective SEO strategy takes time, which comes at a cost. It may also involve investing in suitable tools, which again comes at a price. PPC advertising is, of course, chargeable and can get expensive, but if you’re careful in your approach, you may find that it is more affordable then you thought and that the overall cost per customer acquisition is perfectly acceptable for your business.