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SEO Versus PPC

SEO or PPC – Which is “Better?”

When looking to drive traffic to their website, most companies consider SEO and PPC (Google Adwords) as possible options. Both have the same goal: get people who search online for a particular key-phrase to see and click on your website. The thinking is that if you can put your website in front of a potential client at the precise moment that they are thinking about your product or service, you are likely to convert this targeted traffic into sales. PPC looks to capitalise on this demand by placing an advert for your website at the top or right hand side of the SERP (search engine results page) when someone searches for any of the key-phrases you have identified as being important. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to the process of improving the rank of your website in the natural search results for a set of target key-phrases.

Clicks to your website from the natural search results are free whereas clicks generated through PPC incur a cost for each click. Obviously, if it is possible to attain top spot in the natural results for your target key-phrases, then this is the ideal situation. Assuming there is demand for the key-phrase (check demand on Google in your country for any key-phrase here using the free tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal), top spot will ensure a steady stream of targeted traffic to your website with no cost per click charge being incurred. However, getting your website to top spot simply may not be feasible if the competition is too strong. For example, the top performing website for the key-phrase “apple i-pod” on Google.co.uk is the Apple website. They have over a million inbound links as well as having part of the key-phrase in the URL. Attempting to wrestle this spot away from them would be a monumental / pointless task that would take years and huge link building resources. In such instances, PPC can be used to bypass this lengthy process and get straight to the top in the sponsored listings section within an hour of setting up an Adwords campaign. As the competition for such key-phrases is so high, the cost per click will be high. Careful bid management would need to be implemented and conversion tracking in place to monitor return on investment. Assuming conversion rates are maximised and positive ROI is generated, then the Adwords spend makes sense. So, in such instances where competition is stiff, should SEO be ignored? Definitely not. While page one rank for competitive key-phrase does take time, once achieved, results are fantastic as traffic flows are strong and no cost per click is incurred. Also, page one rank could be quickly achieved for long tail key-phrases (less demand and supply) such as “buy pink iphone.” While traffic flows from long tail key-phrases will be relatively low, conversions tend to be higher due to the targeted nature of the search.

A prudent strategy for any website looking to increase the amount of targeted traffic it receives is to blend a combination of SEO and PPC. PPC will generate immediate traffic. If conversion rates and ROI are carefully monitored and the campaign is set up and managed by an expert, PPC will deliver great results. SEO is a slower process; patience is required as links are diligently built day after day. As rank in natural listings improve, spend on Adwords can be scaled back as traffic from natural results begins to increase.

For more on SEO or PPC, please contact us and we will be delighted to discuss your needs with you.

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