We love snappy digital marketing terms. But we only love them when they actually do something for your business. One of the most common questions from our clients is, “should I be doing organic SEO for my site or rely on PPC?” The short answer is, both. You should be doing both in order to grow your business.
As you may have suspected, we also have a long answer… so don’t leave just yet, it’s not boring or technical, or even that long. We promise! So let’s start at the beginning and have a look at what it is that we’re dealing with. If you’re already an expert and don’t need to know what organic and paid traffic is, then skip right ahead to the next section which will help you decide which method to choose to complement your marketing strategy.
First and foremost, organic website traffic is kind of the Google equivalent of great word of mouth advertising in a digital form. It is the process of optimising your site and content to contain relevant and useful information that your clients will be searching for. Google-bots reward you by boosting your content and pages higher up the page ranks, but only if their algorithms find that it is relevant and helpful to their clients. This process is called search engine optimisation (SEO) and done right, can result in increased organic traffic to your website. Which simply means more people click on your listing in the Google search results. We explain here in detail how you can make sure you’re getting high-quality, organic traffic.
While SEO is great for small budgets, is does require time and effort. It’s essentially a natural, organic approach to boosting your Google rank within search topics related to your business. This process is as much about identifying your buyers as it is about finding keywords.
Paid search marketing, on the other hand, gives businesses the chance to display their ads within the sponsored listings of a search engine, most commonly Google. We refer to paid search here generally as PPC or pay-per-click marketing, as this is one of the most common paid search forms. It simply means that a Google Ads partner advertising in the Google search or display network pays a certain amount every time an ad is clicked. Another example of paid search marketing would be CPM or cost per thousand views.
PPC results can be instant. You’ll be able to see your ad on the very top of the search results as soon as it has been approved. Obviously, great positioning in Google search results comes with a price tag, which not every business can afford. Also, your listing will disappear into thin air as soon as your ad campaign is paused so keep that in mind!
Decide Which One Is Right For Your By Considering These Factors
Now that you know the difference between organic traffic and paid traffic, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision. Here are the main factors you need to consider:
1.) Traffic Potential
If you’re an SEO wizard and manage to land the top-ranked page on the organic Google search results, you’re probably guaranteed a 24/7 flow of traffic, whereas paid ads only drive page visits for as long as your campaign is up and running. PPC may get you more clicks short-term (as studies suggest) but you’ll end up paying more out of pocket too.
The infamous page one ranking on Google, it is every business owners dream. Unfortunately, there is no secret sauce to making it to the top. It is hard work and more often than not, requires a significant monetary investment. If your niche’s keywords are dominated by authority pages, it might make more sense to invest your budget in PPC campaigns.
Our tip: Keyword research software like Google’s Keyword Research Tool, will give you an estimated competition level for your keywords, as well as the average CPCs and help you make an educated decision. So take advantage of the awesome software available to you!
2.) Cost Factor Likeliness to Convert
You may have heard rumours saying that SEO is completely free. Let’s take a closer look at this statement! Sure, you might not have to pay anything upfront for organic website traffic, but it does involve hard work to get that “free” traffic from Google. We all know time is money and money is time. And there are really no shortcuts if your plan is to outrank your competitors. The cost of your PPC campaign really depends on the popularity of the keywords you’re competing for and on how many advertisers are bidding on those keywords, amongst other factors. If you’re worried paid ads will break your bank, fear not. You can set a daily budget in advance and keep full control over your spending. Using PPC is certainly a bit more complex, even though Google Ads is trying hard to make things easy for you. The safest way to ensure long term success is to hire an SEO expert. Luckily, we have a few of those in our crew. We’re happy to help you with your Google Ads campaigns, after all, it’s what we do best!
If you’re just starting off and are operating with a low budget, then you may want to stick to the organic SEO methods. However, keep in mind that you can set your PPC spending limit as high or low as you can afford. Whether that’s $1 or $100 per day is up to you. We usually recommend starting with a minimum daily budget of $10.
It’s definitely worth investing in paid ads, as it allows you to actively test website variables that can improve conversion rates thanks to the data generated by your Google Ads campaigns. SEO efforts are always highly dependent on algorithm updates. Websites that have been optimised only in certain ways may lose rankings within seconds as soon as the algorithms change. Investing in paid ads is a great way to ensure a steady stream of traffic.
3.) Likeliness to Convert
The question is: Which visitor is more likely to convert, one finding your site via PPC or through organic SEO? The answer is pretty straight forward. If you’ve done a great job setting up your Google Ads campaign, traffic coming from a PPC ad is more likely to convert. Highly targeted and optimised ads ensure that a person that is presented with it, is actually looking for what you have to offer. Whereas your website can rank for a variety of keywords and a user coming across your organic listing, may not be looking for a particular product or service on offer.
Before you set your budget, have a look at what your competitors are paying for their ads. The industry benchmarks will give you an idea of how much you should be spending. How high the CPC is, very much depends on the products or services you’re selling. The average CPC for accountants, for example, is $5.19, whereas healthcare professionals pay about $2.32 on average per click. If you are in the insurance sector, the average cost-per-click for the keyword “car insurances” can be billed at up to $28.55 – A quite significant cost factor when considering the profitability of your Google Ads campaign. If you have to stretch your budget, relying on SEO might be a wise choice.
Our Expert Advice
Now, for example’s sake… say your product is a wheel. The wheel has been rolling around for a long time and many wheels have been producing optimised website content since the internet was invented. How are you going to make your wheel stand out in a crowded marketplace? People aren’t searching for “new wheel with a difference?” or are they? We don’t know, it’s just an example.
This is where Google Ads and PPC come in.
Regardless of whether you’re a new or old wheel dealer, your organic SEO is still going to take time. AdWords and PPC advertising is the most efficient way to fast track the process of getting your wheel in front of the web’s wheel buyers. Yes, it’s paid advertising; but you only pay each time someone clicks on your ad. Then it’s up to your website and your wonderful wheel to deliver the answer your customer was clicking for.
At the end of the day, it won’t be an either-or choice. A combined SEO and PPC strategy is a powerful force that will help you grow your business and increase your sales. If you’re a small business wanting to target location-based keywords, you will be able to make your site visible locally with a PPC campaign. Achieving similar results with SEO alone is a more complex task (but not impossible). The first step would be claiming ownership of your business via Google My Business and then optimise your account. But keep in mind, if your website content is bad, you’ll most likely end up wasting money on ads that don’t convert.
Our tip: Start with SEO then try your luck with PPC campaigns, or better, let us help you!
Anchor Digital is a crew of creative strategists, copywriters, search engine marketers and techs. With us in your corner, you can expect tailored expertise and measurable results. Our goal is simple: Consult, Create, Convert. Through close collaboration, accountability and total transparency, Anchor combines the forces that set your digital brand sailing. From the ground up, we’re your partners in climb.