By Digital Hub on February 4th, 2020
Almost all of us know how search engine marketing (SEM) works. Normally, when optimizing your website for search, you have two major options at your disposal: paid and non-paid listings.
Paid listings rely on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising while the latter depends on both PPC and organic search engine optimization (SEO). A debate on which one to pursue between these two techniques (SEO vs PPC) has been going on for a while.
Is SEO better than PPC or should I rely on both? That’s the question I see most business owners and marketers ask. Today, we won’t dwell on which is better but rather how you could use both to your advantage.
Organic SEO no doubt came first. PPC followed shortly after. Both have been evolving over time and right now we have proper ways you could use PPC to complement organic SEO in your search engine marketing efforts. Here’s how.
Initially, paid listings used to sit right at the top of the SERP. A good number of them could be seen on the right side of it, but that has since changed, thanks to the ever-changing Google algorithms, structure, and functionalities. If you are keen, you may have noticed that paid listings now dominate both the top and bottom side of the page, while others are blended together with the non-paid listings.
You may be putting in a lot of effort in your SEO campaigns, which is fully recommended, but the uncomfortable truth is there’s probably going to be several paid listings above you. That means that the gap between you and the top spot is that PPC budget. A great way to go about this is to split your SEM budget between the two, then work out an SEO and PPC strategy that will ensure you leverage both of them.
Information shared by Search Engine Watch indicates that most businesses are utilizing both PPC and SEO for similar keywords. In another report by Search Engine Land, both techniques were shown to have a reasonable share of the amount of traffic that goes to websites from search engines.
Your SEO efforts won’t pay off in a day or two. You’ll have to wait for months or even years before seeing those desired results. This is because the search engines have to evaluate your credibility, website quality, organic SEO techniques, among other aspects, before letting you climb up that SERP.
PPC advertising, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Just as the name suggests, you’ll pay the PPC (Google AdWords) for every click on your ad or banner.
With this technique, you can have your website rank at the top on search engine pages (for a priority keyword or phrase which you have to bid on), websites and advertising networks within days. But there’s a catch – Your content and website both have to be excellent as far these two go. If the user experience is awful and your content fails to convert, then your money will have gone into waste.
Admittedly, organic listings tend to attract more trust than the sponsored ones, which are also more expensive in the long run. Now, the best way to fix this little complication this would be to invest more in PPC advertising at the beginning then slow down as your organic SEO efforts start to materialize.
Website owners no longer enjoy more free Google data like before. A case in point is the Google Keyword Planner tool. At the moment, only those with AdWords accounts can enjoy all its functionalities, analytics and data, all of which are crucial in both PPC and SEO working together.
Maybe you also want to test your market, probably to see their reaction on specific products, services, or keywords, then use the data to refine your SEM strategy. PPC would be ideal for such a campaign. This adds on to the need to have both techniques as part of your SEM strategy.
A few years ago, Bright Oak shared test results of a study that sought to find out the impact of complementing SEO with PPC advertising. The outcome was a 25% increase in clicks and a 27% increase in profits. Yet this is just one of the many studies and reports that continue to confirm the fact that SEO and PPC integration is a sure way to better results.
Even though the two techniques are completely different in their approach, they both contribute towards the same goal, which is to harness targeted traffic from the search engines and drive it to your website. They do not have to be limited to organic SEO vs paid SEO debates. Instead, squeeze all the benefits each has to offer and let them work together for the common good.