A battle as old as Google itself, kind of, the tug of war that is SEO vs. PPC is a gauntlet of blood, sweat and tears with no clear winner. A scene straight out of Lord of the Rings this is a fight for the ages, two proud houses clashing on the battle ground, willing to war endlessly to distinguish which side is the best, what is the answer, who is the real winner of this perpetual battle for traffic?
In order to understand this feud of digital marketing we must first look at the two sides and what sets them apart.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the element of online marketing dealing with driving organic traffic to your site or pages – organic traffic being those viewers that are driven to your site organically, through search results. SEO holds many elements, all strategically targeting parts of the Google algorithm in order to rank your page above the competition. Involving targeted content, optimised around a selected grouping of relevant keywords, this allows us to tell Google what to read, aiming the content at their ranking process and ensuring that Google will find what it’s looking for when crawling your site. Not only relying on content, but links to and from the page, design of the page, layout and structure of the site, as well as overall authority of the site all play into Google’s calculations in order to give you a rank. As Google’s goal is to best answer any query or question, an SEO specialist must optimise the page to lead Google to the answer as efficiently as possible. With all these factors taken into account and expertly executed, you can make a good bet that you will rank for your chosen search term and thus increase your online visibility. As a cost effective route to authority and rank, you do not have to pay in order to achieve top SEO results, all it takes is an understanding of the process and the ability to implement the strategy.
PPC, or Pay-per-click advertising, is very similar to SEO in the ways of overall goals. You are still focused on traffic, authority and conversions to sales, however the driving force is the main difference. Rather than optimizing content and design to best suit Google’s ranking requirements, PPC allows you to bid on certain keywords with money. If your bid is accepted, you will then be placed above or below the organic search results on the SERP, as an advertised link. With every click on the link, you pay a certain amount – hence the name. This circumvents the need for thorough SEO as you can rank through paying rather than playing – so to speak. With a targeted reach rather than layout, specified dimensions and demographics set within the PPC campaign, this can rank for a multitude of targeted terms at the same time. While this may seem like the easy way around the more timely SEO practice, pay-per-click campaign are known for getting very expensive, very quickly….especially when executed correctly.
Now when comparing the two as separate entities, there are some interesting results. While one takes time and prepares you for a long term authority status, the other offers fast and flexible reach, which means it is time to look at it from the user’s point of view. As users of the online space have come to realise, there is a difference between ad links and organic links. Understanding that the one has quality and the other has been paid for, it has been seen that the click through rate from organic results are around 8.5x higher than that of paid – we attribute this difference to many user’s distrust of online advertising, especially when you can pay to be ranked first. A lot more trust is shown towards organic results that have, from the user’s point of view, earned their position fair and square. PPC does however hold reign over conversion, with click through to goal conversion sitting around 1.5x higher than that of SEO. This makes PPC ideal for products, but services are still found to perform better under and SEO based campaign. However, even though PPC can hone in on multiple phrases and keywords, as well as increase conversions, SEO done right still allows for almost five times as many opportunities as PPC, maintaining authority and trust in the eyes of users.
So to offer a choice without grey area, SEO vs. PPC allows for two options – high organic ranking or great paid ads. From a digital marketing point of view, with all logic considered, SEO is the ideal choice along with its organic reach and authority. The only factor working against this is time itself. SEO takes time, good SEO takes good time, if you want to be number one tomorrow SEO is not your ideal option. However, if you want to rank page one for months at a time, PPC will cost you an arm and a leg.
When it comes to long term goals and authority, Search Engine Optimisation simply offers the better value in search marketing. You may not rank overnight, but this affordable, long term solution has proven benefits for business big and small.
Whether PPC, SEO or even a combination of both, contact Click Me today for all your digital marketing needs.