The Internet has become an absolute necessity for modern businesses that are looking to expand their advertising reach. With a relatively small investment, any business can start reaching their target audience faster and more efficiently than ever before in human history. It is an exciting time in the business world, and the some of the most significant online territory has already been claimed. Sites like Amazon and eBay have already sunk their roots into the ground and are firmly established in their respective fields. Even these major players, though, are investing in search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. These are known by the savvy as SEO and PPC respectively.
PPC vs. SEO: The Basics
There’s only a few simple factors that decide whether or not SEO and PPC are worthwhile investments for a business. SEO is typically considered “free” traffic, but the reality is that it’s time-consuming, and professional businesses do charge for SEO services. On the other hand, PPC is usually considered “paid” traffic, but effective PPC will make more money than it costs to maintain. While many businesses can benefit from both, there are times when either of the two may prove inefficient or ineffective, and with a little common sense, anyone can distinguish which of the two is right for their business.
Most small or medium-sized businesses will have the freedom to choose between the two, but they often lack the resources to simultaneously invest in both. This is because PPC requires a continual, upfront investment, while SEO requires continual effort over long periods of time. Both can be outsourced for a premium charge, and this is often the easiest way to go for fast results. Deciding which of the two to begin with should always be based on facts and costs, and these are fairly easy to ascertain.
There are a few primary factors that determine what course of action will be most effective. The first factor is understanding what keywords are likely to be the most beneficial to the company. If a company does nothing but sell chairs, it would be most interested in keyword searches such as “chair,” “buy chairs,” “cheap chairs” and other similar phrases that a chair buyer would likely be typing into a search engines like Google or Bing. There are also longtail keywords that may be of relevance, such as “buy chairs in Los Angeles” or “Where can I find cheap chairs?”
In regards to search engine optimization, the most important considerations are searches per month and competition. Major search engines all provide basic data on how many searches per month a keyword is receiving, and this data can be used to estimate how valuable the word is per month. If a keyword is receiving an estimated 7,000 searches per month, it’s commonly accepted that a majority of the searches will click on the first, second or third webpage listed. Many will still click on results further down on the keyword’s result page, also known as a search engine results page (SERP), but the most profitable position will most likely be the first position on the list.
This is where competition becomes a factor. If well-established sites are all occupying the first few positions, it will be impossible to overtake them quickly. This is because search engines favor authority sites with great reputations. However, if all the sites occupying the top slots are shoddy and unprofessional, they will be far easier to overtake.
Profitability in SEO is always based on the point where competition meets searches per month in a favorable way. When competition is low, the word is likely to be conquerable in four to sixteen weeks with minimal effort. When competition is high, it’s much more difficult to reach the first page without a substantial investment of both time and money. With that said, a business that has numerous keyword options that can all reliably bring natural traffic to their website should always invest in SEO.
Pay-per-click advertising is much easier to assess. As with SEO, a business must first find their keywords of choice that are likely to lead to potential customers. However, rather than spending the time to climb the proverbial SEO ladder, they only need to bid small increments for every person that clicks their advertisement. This is done via bids, meaning that everyone has a chance to bid on a specific keyword. If a keyword is likely to result in 100 unique clicks per day, the decision to invest will be easy to make. If a website’s conversion rate is one purchase per 100 unique viewers, then the cost of those 100 clicks must only be less expensive than the profit of one sale. If, for example, one sale is worth $30 in profit, 100 clicks must cost less than $30. Each website has its own unique needs, costs, and profits in regards to PPC, which is exactly why a unique approach is required for each business.
Both SEO and PPC are two of the most valuable tools for generating profit in the digital age. As such, it’s important for business to realize that doing both well will always be better than doing one or the other well. However, some markets are not friendly to new and emerging businesses that want to buy traffic via PPC. Some markets are completely saturated with SEO competition. The unique approach that must be taken for profit can be generalized, but the needs of every business across the various different fields that exist are going to vary drastically. This is one of the reasons outsourcing PPC and SEO to professional companies has become so popular. It isn’t always easy for a business to figure out exactly what they need to do for profit, but it’s almost certain that the profit is there and waiting to be claimed.
About the Author
Frank Anderson used to work a lot with an online marketing Perth firm so he has a great understanding of SEO tactics.