PPC & SEO: Friends or Foes
In the online business world, mastering your marketing game is the name of the game. However, since the online realm is constantly changing, and the marketing strategies that brought results one month may fail to do so the next, digital marketers need to stay alert.
That is one of the reasons why businesses need to be very careful when choosing their marketing strategy. Not only that, but the fact of the matter is that – in most cases – relying on a single strategy won’t bear much fruit either.
That’s why businesses should consider combining some of the most lucrative strategies and rely on the advantages of one of them to compensate for the shortcomings of the other and vice versa.
In the current online marketing scene, SEO and PPC take the lead. But businesses usually make a mistake and treat these two marketing strategies as separate entities.
The truth is that they actually complement each other beautifully, so any business that wants to reach success should implement both SEO and PPC in their marketing efforts and enjoy the best of both worlds.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on improving a business’s search results ranking for some targeted keywords. Even though SEO is one of the oldest online marketing strategies, it is still viable today as it ever was.
Since SEO is one of the oldest online marketing strategies, it had the opportunity to grow and evolve alongside the internet itself. So, this caused SEO to keep evolving constantly.
Most modern consumers look for things online, and most of them only focus on the results displayed near the top of the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs)
Due to this fact, businesses rely on SEO to help them reach those top positions organically.
Therefore, the main goal of SEO is to help businesses rank higher on search results pages and thus – hopefully – bring more traffic their way. This can be achieved by:
- Using relevant and high-quality keywords
- Including keywords and keyword phrases in their product descriptions
- Including keywords in meta descriptions and page titles
- Improving your website loading speed (2 seconds or less is recommended by Google)
- Securing backlinks to and from other reputable (relevant) websites
What is PPC?
PPC stands for pay-per-click advertising. PPC is a marketing tactic where marketers aim at strategically placing ads online, for which they are obliged to pay a fee every time one of those ads gets clicked on. For example, a 20Bet casino pays for every click users make on a banner located at partner sites.
These types of paid promotion are more prevalent on search engines and social media platforms. Businesses that aim at driving more traffic to their website this way can greatly control how they target their audience.
With PPC, businesses can target their audience specifically based on their age, gender, geographic location, social and economic status, and other factors.
Unlike SEO, PPC won’t bring organic traffic to your website. But the visitors that land on your page through PPC are usually more likely to convert.
It is also important to note that the price per click may vary greatly depending on the type of keyword you wish to rank for, your overall competition and the industry your business operates in.
What is the difference between SEO and PPC?
The first and the most obvious difference is the fact that SEO brings in organic traffic while PPC brings in paid traffic. Next, PPC is considered a better choice if you aim to increase your traffic fast, as it yields results almost immediately. On the other hand, SEO drives traffic over time.
That’s why you will commonly hear businesses stating that PPC is “better” than SEO, while the actual truth is that both of them work best when combined. According to experts from web design company, strategically aligning these two marketing channels will bring the best results.
Why choose SEO?
Since the main purpose of SEO is to bring in more organic traffic, its strong points boil down to:
SEO will help you boost awareness by positioning your business higher in the SERPs. To achieve this, you must understand your audience, meticulously approach keyword analysis, and match those results with user intent.
If done correctly, this will bring organic traffic to your website that will – in turn – raise awareness about your business.
Better click-through rate
The visitors you manage to attract organically will be more likely to explore your website further than the ones that come from PPC ads. This is particularly true if you fill your website with high-quality, relevant content that offers value to your visitors.
Room for education
With high-quality content, you’ll have the opportunity to educate your visitors about all the ways they can benefit from interacting with your business instead of simply trying to sell them a product.
With the help of SEO, you can show your audience what others think about your business (through reviews and testimonials) and thus improve your overall credibility.
Since you won’t have to pay for SEO directly, the ROI (return on investment) you can expect from it will generally be higher than the one you can expect from other online marketing strategies.
SEO doesn’t simply go away the moment you stop investing in it. Instead, all the content you’ve created will still be present online, which is why it offers greater sustainability.
SEO is the perfect strategy for businesses that are in it for the long haul. Since it takes time to build up your SEO strategy and for it to actually start bearing fruit, you will be in a better strategic position than businesses (competitors) that are just starting out.
Why choose PPC?
Unlike SEO, PPC has other benefits that will aid your business, so its strong points include – but are not limited to:
Simply put, in terms of on-page positioning, PPC reigns supreme over SEO. With four ads being displayed at the top of the search engine results pages on desktop, and three on mobile, visitors will still be able to see your ads first, even if they choose to scroll past them.
As mentioned previously, unlike SEO, where the content you create is aimed at targeting your entire audience, PPC leaves more room for specific targeting.
Closely related to on-page positioning, with PPC, you will improve your brand visibility. Even if the users don’t end up clicking on your ad, they will still see your brand being advertised.
While SEO will bring traffic and show results over time, PPC delivers instant results. That’s why many businesses that are looking to attract traffic fast most often rely on PPC rather than other online marketing strategies.
PPC offers greater stability than SEO, simply due to the fact that the overall “rules” of PPC don’t tend to change as often.
While PPC ads can sometimes change the position up and down, these changes are usually very slight. However, organic listings can drastically change their positions based on how well they comply with the new rules of SEO.
Visual product ads
Google offers businesses that sell products the option to display their offer with Google’s visual advertising. Needless to say, including a visual in your ad can only further encourage your audience to make a purchase.
How do these two strategies complement each other?
By closely researching and truly understanding these two strategies, marketers can easily use both of them in their efforts.
This will not only drive better results – in terms of traffic, revenue, exposure, and so on – but it will also eliminate the possibility of inefficient use of either of the two.
Here are just some of the ways in which combining SEO and PPC practices can benefit a business:
- Combining the two increases search engine presence
- Both of them bring in traffic at different speeds
- PPC will boost visibility until SEO starts bringing in results
- Both SEO and PPC help optimize overall data collection
- PPC helps reach missed SEO clicks and vice versa
- PPC helps test keywords for conversion potential, which can greatly affect SEO
Friends or foes?
With everything discussed previously, it becomes quite clear that these two strategies are extremely different from one another. However, the fact that they are so different and that they drive such different results only makes them great pairing options.
Instead of relying on a single strategy and simply settling for all of its shortcomings, you can choose to rely on both of them and enjoy the best of both worlds.
So, businesses looking to grow their online presence and boost their operations can benefit a lot from relying on both of these marketing strategies simultaneously. As mentioned earlier, the strong points of one of these marketing strategies will greatly compensate for the shortcomings of others.
That being said, it is safe to say that SEO and PPC are – in fact – friends rather than foes.
Christopher is a Digital Marketing Specialist, Project Manager and Editor at Find Digital Agency and a passionate blogger. He is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research and details. Focused on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels, he starts the day scrolling his digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee. In his free time, Christopher plays drums and Magic: the Gathering.