One of the most common questions we get asked here at Boston Web Marketing is which is more effective: SEO or Pay Per Click (PPC)? It’s a difficult question to answer, as both provide benefits and setbacks to businesses of all types.
When you’re just taking industry into account, some industries actually do benefit more from SEO than PPC, and vice versa. Remember that SEO is utilizing keywords and link building and other techniques that abide by Google’s core algorithms which decide how high a website will rank in search results for a particular search. PPC costs money; website owners pay search engines such as Google to appear at the top of search results in a designated section just for advertisers.
Not sure which one is best for your type of businesses? Here are the three main differences between both online marketing strategies:
- Cost. SEO is free because all that’s required of website owners is to understand best SEO practices in order to be ranked higher in search results. However, depending on the industry you’re in, you may end up finding that you don’t have the time to put in the effort to be at the top of the search results because after all you are also running a business. You may find that it’s beneficial to enlist in an SEO company for help. Adwords will be more of an investment. The service works in such a way that you must pay more money for more advertisement time as well as to have your ad shown for certain keywords. Again, it’s wise to enlist professional help.
- Impressions & Leads. Impressions deals with the number of users who either see your ad or see your website. Leads are the number of users who click on your ad or website. Adwords will give you more impressions and leads over a shorter period of time. Unfortunately, if you decide to discontinue your Adwords campaign, these leads will immediately stop — unless you have SEO to help you out. SEO is more sustainable and will, over time, give you more leads because your website will constantly be showing in the organic results section (assuming you’re following best practices!).
- Speed. Another common question we get from business owners is how quickly will I see leads coming through the door. With just SEO, it can take up to 3 months to see a sizable difference in leads coming through the door. However once you’re on the first page of search results under a desired keyword in your location, the customers will no doubt start pouring in. For newer companies or businesses who are going through a rebranding process, we highly recommend Adwords. It only takes a few days to set up a campaign and the results are instant. However, keep in mind that each click means you have to pay — no matter whether or not you see a conversion!
So, which strategy is better? As mentioned, newer companies will benefit from Adwords. Companies who are in competitive industries such as car repair, dental, or ecommerce should highly consider a PPC campaign to increase brand awareness. Those who are in niche markets or non competitive industries will benefit more from strictly SEO. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having the best of both worlds!