SEO & PPC – Finding the balance
The fact of the matter is that the aim of every digital marketing and SEO firm in the world is to maximise the amount of traffic that a website receives, while insuring that that traffic is relevant. The quality of the traffic, and efficacy of the website is key to converting casual website browsers into converted customers. So, when looking for the most effective strategy for a digital marketing plan, there are 2 primary ways that a website can draw both the quality and quantity of traffic, and these are SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click) adverts, leaving the Search Engine Marketing team to decide whether to use SEO, PPC, or a combination of both, and if so, what is the formula of these two ingredients that will maximise the level of Search Engine Marketing success?
SEO. A brief tutorial on Search Engine Optimisation.
The effectiveness of a search engine optimisation or SEO strategy is mainly guided by the website, and how it is managed and maintained. The amount and nature of the content on it, the construction of the site and the amount of SEO effort that is being applied to the site. All websites that are putting forth any SEO effort need to regularly publish relevant content insuring that it is laced with the right keywords that search engines love so much. Good quality content that is relevant and engages your target market is exactly what search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo are looking for (and sometimes it’s more important to create content that the search engine crawlers like more than the actual users). These search engines scan your website for relevant content, helping them to decide what search results a website should appear in. Search engines then make a determination, based on the quality of the content and use this to decide where to rank a website. Once all of the various SEO elements have been taken into consideration, a search engine will attribute a ranking to a website. Everything from a website's images to its backlinks determines its SEO ranking, and depending on the level of competition, it can be a constant SEO battle to maintain search engine ranking.
PPC, a user’s guide
Pay Per Click, or PPC as it’s more commonly known is nothing short of steroids for websites. They offer a website a short-term boost in relevant traffic, for a price! It requires a great website to start with, identify the top keywords most relevant for the website's target market, determine a budget per click, and the website is given a top spot above even the best ranking “organic” SEO site, with a little flag that tells people that it is a paid ad. Basically, PPC (Pay Per Click) is a paid ad campaign that you would pay a search engine every time a person clicks on it, the value of each click would be determined by the level of traffic that keyword receives.
Choosing between, SEO or PPC
There is no clear of a definitive answer as which would work better for a website, PPC or SEO. Both have good points and drawbacks, and the target market, as well as the industry would also inform the decision making process. The main facts to consider when looking at a PCC and SEO campaign are:
· Setting up an SEO campaign would work well with websites that have been well established and have been around for quite a few years. The converse would be true for websites that are relatively new and could do with a temporary, but substantive boost to its traffic.
· PPC has the advantage of relative ease, in that once you have set up a Pay Per Click campaign, you can just let it run, however depending on the interest, you could find that your PPC budget is eaten up very quickly, and it is important to keep an eye on the amount that is being spent on a websites PPC campaign. This doesn’t mean that SEO is particularly cheap. As well as a financial commitment, there is a commitment of time to the creation of content.
· Despite the content requirements that go with SEO, PPC also has some content commitments. If users are clicking on your ad, which will incur a cost, but not finding what they need, they may not return, and a website will need to improve or alter its content to ensure that future visitors are converted.
· SEO is a process that takes time, unlike PPC that can yield results instantly. An effective SEO campaign can take up to 6 months or more to get going, but once it does, the results can be far more profitable. The commitment in time and money can be extensive, but done correctly, the SEO campaign is almost always more profitable in the long run.
· When using an SEO campaign, the visitors are often far more relevant and can be converted much easier, as they are often customer looking for your website. Users are also drawn to the top ranking sites in search engine results, as they know that search engines like Google and Bing will show them the best and most relevant sites for what they are looking for. It is also becoming more common for people to, in some cases disregard the PPC ads all together.
· On a more fundamental level, the nature of your website's offering will determine the effectiveness of SEO and PPC. SEO can be more effective when dealing with lower levels of competition, whereas if your product or service has a lot of competition, especially if you're new to the market PPC can give a new website an initial boost. This improved PPC visibility can entice customers to check out a websites’ offering.
When deciding whether to use PPC or SEO, the answer may sit somewhere in the middle. PPC is great to give any site a short-term boost, promote a new product/service, and push a new site. SEO is a website's long term strategy for achieving long lasting, long term ranking in search engines. Talking to your web team, and ensuring you have all the facts is the most important part of finding the perfect, and most profitable balance between search engine optimisation and pay per click.