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SEO or PPC which shall I choose?

If you’re looking to invest in your online marketing, you will need to consider which option is going to give your business the most benefit.

Written by

Robert Hufton

Director & UX Consultant

If you’re looking to invest in your online marketing, you will need to consider which option is going to give your business the most benefit.

SEO vs PPC what's in this article?

Jargon busting

Benefits of Pay Per Click advertising

What are the risks of PPC?

How much does PPC cost?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Benefits of Search Engine Optimisation

What do you need for great SEO?

How much does Organic SEO cost?

Downsides of SEO

Time to decide...PPC or SEO...or both?

Everyone wants more traffic to their website - so let’s look at the characteristics of both solutions.

Jargon busting

Pay Per Click (PPC) - Pay to appear in the search engines immediately. Target specific audiences and locations, and control how many clicks you want 

Typically, PPC is associated with large search engines such as Google where keywords are used to push your website to the top of the Google search rankings. Then, if the consumer chooses to click through to your website, you pay a small fee every time that advert is clicked. 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - Optimising your website for long-term, slow growth, constant traffic from ongoing investment 

Unlike PPC, SEO is a more organic way to push your website to the top of the page in Google. Instead of paying Google to help you get the clicks, SEO harnesses the content on your webpage to help drive your ranking. Once you understand how search engines work, you can use specific techniques to edit content, add links to useful articles, and ultimately drive your ranking to the top.

Read about our Organic SEO services here.

Pay Per Click advertising

The main reason any organisation chooses pay per click (PPC) as a component of their online advertising strategy is largely down to control and immediacy of results.

You have complete control over the geographic location and time of day you want advertisements to run (and therefore when and where you are driving traffic).

As your strategy becomes more sophisticated, it’s also possible to target your ads at specific audiences. We can then re-market to this audience, ensuring users keep seeing your advert, even on other sites. A strategy such as this  really increases the likelihood of a successful sale and this type of activity is associated with a high conversion rate.

By using PPC properly, it's possible to whittle down and effectively target the correct audience for your offering. Google is the world leader in advertising for good reason - they have created one of the best marketing tools to ever exist.

Organisations have full control of where and when they want to appear in search engine results across websites like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Each of these websites have their own version of paid and offer specific benefits for PPC. The devil can be in the detail!

What are the risks of PPC?

The main risks of using paid ads to promote your organisation or products are:

- poor conversion rates if your ads are not relevant or clear enough

- poor budget management - if your ads are clicked by people unlikely to buy

- when you stop PPC, the traffic stops 

One doesn’t simply walk into Google and start spending money. If you don’t optimise your website for conversions or target your campaign for the best return on investment, PPC will most likely be a failure. 

It’s crucial that conversions and KPIs are established before starting with PPC. Otherwise how can you prove whether PPC advertising added any value?

A major issue with PPC is that when you stop (maybe your marketing team goes on holiday or you run out of money), your visits stop. The same can be said for social media.

If you want to know more about PPC, we’d suggest a quick chat with our Manchester-based Pay Per Click team to answer any questions.

How much does PPC cost?

People ask us all the time “How much do clicks cost for our company services?” This all depends on what you are selling... you might be selling a luxury yacht or roof felt installation. But how do you know what is a good value click cost?

So how much does Google charge per click?

The simple answer is ‘it depends’! As Google advertising is based on an auction system, costs can vary. Once a user enters a search into its engine, Google will search for the company who is bidding the highest for that search keyword and push them up the rankings. There are many other factors that will influence just how far Google will push you up the rankings, including your Page Quality Score.  For a more detailed explanation and the in’s and out’s:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

What is SEO or Organic SEO?

SEO in its simplest term, is the practice of driving increased visits to your website through organic search engine results. SEO takes into account the way in which search engines work.  Websites and pages are ranked by authority. When users search for specific keywords, search engines rank websites based on authority for that search.

Benefits of Search Engine Optimisation 

It doesn’t take a genius to realise a constant footfall of visitors interested in buying your products, using your services or reading important information is good for business. 

After putting the effort in to get visits for your products and services in organic search listing you should keep that position for some time, making clicks become almost free.  

We’ve seen campaigns with 100,000s visits each month. These businesses are often well established, and clearly treat investment in organic SEO as part of a well-coordinated online advertising campaign. 

There is also the trust element. Some marketers believe that visitors from organic search hold more trust, and are therefore more likely to convert into an action (the inference being that people trust paid links less).

What do you need for great organic SEO?

Here the most important factors for great SEO:

Your site needs to be fully compliant with the major search engines. This can be a tricky technical task that is best left to an experienced SEO developer. Setting up your site incorrectly could prevent your pages from even ranking.

Your site needs to load fast. 

Be highly useful to people. If your content is useful people read it, people will share it, people will link to it. All amazing for SEO.

You need to use social media to promote content. 

People need to stay on your site. A recent Google study shows that pages that don’t engage people for long, don’t get ranked highly. It’s widely known as Dwell Time

You need mobile-friendly pages. Check your website mobile experience here

Your site needs to be very easy to navigate. Users should be able to get around your site using the main navigation but also using content.

All content needs to be accessible. Use Google Webmaster Tools to scan for pages that can’t easily be found.

To check your website’s performance, use the Google Search console to run an audit. This will help you identify broken links, page loading issues, incorrect site maps and other conditions set by Google to ensure sites are good for users. If you need help, our SEO team can help. 

- Read about our Organic SEO services

How much does Organic SEO cost?

How much you spend on Organic SEO depends on your budget. You may want to do it all yourself which only costs your time, but it’s very wise to use a specialist organic SEO expert to review all your optimisation to ensure you're doing it right.

Organic SEO is made up of numerous factors such as

- Lots of great content

- High quality backlinks including articles on other websites linking back

- A well optimised, google approved directory network

- Regular activity

- Utilising other channels such as Youtube.

Organic SEO is more important than ever. It is estimated that around 75% of all users do not click past the first page when searching. In essence, if you are not on that first page, you are not reaching your customers, and someone else is.

There are many ways to drive Organic SEO and knowing where to start can be overwhelming. There are some great guides to managing your own website SEO however most people opt for using an agency such as Higher Ground to manage this process for them. This approach will get results quicker and remove the need for someone in your organisation to learn how to manage SEO. Remember, SEO isn't a one time job, it needs constant management. 

Google SEO starter guide can be found here:

Downsides of SEO

You need to play the long game

Getting a steady stream of visits takes time. A recent study conducted by AHREF shows a site’s keywords take up to 6 months to establish a strong search engine position.

So if you need to get an immediate flow of visitors to your website, SEO might not be for you, and a trial period of PPC may be much more suitable. Talk to our team to find out how.

Poor quality clicks 

You can generate a lot of clicks from all kinds of areas. Naturally bots and other factors will create clicks to your website from China, Brazil and Timbuktu. These clicks probably won’t hold any value for your organisation. The trick is analysing your website data and learning what the best keywords are ranking for you, then focussing on boosting their search position.

That said, many marketers consider SEO to be one of the most effective marketing channels available.

Time to decide...PPC or SEO...or both?

Understanding how your organisation works, makes money, and delivers value to your target audience can help us understand what option works best for you. 

PPC will give immediate insights into your online strategy and you may see an immediate return on your investment.  The key is setting reasonable expectations for this method of marketing compared with other methods of acquisition.

SEO will give you organic growth, and although results can be immediate after some initial changes, you should expect to see clicks and visits improve over a longer period. 

Some organisations opt to take on other strategies, using PPC to kick start an invisible website into the mainstream, whilst working on a more long term strategy of SEO in the background.

To find out more talk to a specialist Conversion Rate Optimisation Agency such as Higher Ground.

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