PPC and SEO: Do You Need Both?
PPC and SEO are marketing strategies that can be used to acquire new customers and increase the loyalty of existing ones. Both have been proven successful for every industry imaginable. However, they do require an investment. They can be very profitable even with smaller budgets, though the more you spend, the more successful the campaigns tend to be (naturally since you are investing more time and money). If you can only afford one, which is the right marketing strategy for you, and is it even worth it to be utilizing both services at once? Before we dive into these pressing questions, let’s first break down PPC and SEO.
What is PPC?
PPC is also known as pay-per-click advertising, which means that the advertiser pays when someone clicks on the ad. PPC is seen most commonly on social media platforms, such as Facebook (though many consider social media ads separate from PPC), and with search engines, such as Google. A great characteristic of PPC campaigns is how highly targeted they are. You can create a lookalike audience or target people based on what they search for, what groups/pages they like on social media, and of course key demographics, such as age and location. Based on your keywords, your ad can appear on a search result – even if the user’s intention was to search for your competitor!
Pay-per-click campaigns can be used to utilize different ad messages and content. You can split test your ads to see which are performing well. The key is to constantly tweak your ads and modify them based on your data. You can also use PPC to retarget previous users. This is very convenient for conversion campaigns. For example, you can retarget a group of customers who clicked on your ad but left the landing page immediately after, or added something to the cart but didn’t checkout. This is an audience that is already warmed up to your business and interested in your products or services. PPC ads can give them the push they need to make a purchase.
What is SEO?
SEO is the abbreviation for search engine optimization. It is used to increase the visibility of your website and get it to the top of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) based on keywords and optimization efforts. This goes a little deeper than PPC and tends to take longer to see results. However, the long-term success is quite impressive. It is also much more complex. It includes internal modifications on the backend of the site to ensure that the website will be noticed by Google and be seen as an authority. If you are interested in further information on SEO, you can learn more in our 2021 Guide to Local SEO blog.
We tend to explain the importance and purpose of SEO using our CEO Jeff Hecht’s analogy: Picture this; you are hosting a party. You buy the decorations, get a caterer, arrange for music and dancing and everything you could imagine for the perfect gathering – but no one show’s up because you never sent out the invitations! Search engine optimization is that invitation. So basically, you can have the most beautiful website in the world but what good is it if no one knows about it or can find it. SEO will get people to view your website.
It is best to use search engine optimization when you are looking for growth in long-term, organic traffic. It allows for Google to see you and place you higher on a search page. Like PPC, SEO needs to be modified, however, too much modification is not always beneficial. As stated previously, SEO takes time. It takes about 90 days before you can begin to see accurate data and results you can utilize. Therefore, it is important to make changes and fix issues, but when it comes to major changes, keep in mind that it will take a couple of months to see those results. Therefore, you should wait a while each time you make a change to see how it performs.
Do They Work Together?
In short, yes, they do work well together. SEO and PCC, when utilized properly, can help each other out, giving you optimal results. For example, if you are not ranking well on some of your SEO keywords, you can bid on them in your PPC campaign. Or you can buy Google Ads, which will not only yield results but will also demonstrate that you are a reliable source of content, giving you more domain authority for your SEO. These two forms of marketing are perfect to use together. They not only can benefit one another but they are different in how they market your business, allowing you maximum opportunity to grow.
However, if you can only choose one, it comes down to what you need. SEO is going to drive lots of traffic to the website and give your business lasting results. Since a website is such an important part of a business, SEO tends to be the best choice. Now if you want to market a sale or a promotion, PPC is the best move. Pay-per-click is better when the campaign is not ongoing since you can gain results in a shorter amount of time. You can advertise any product, promotion, or sale and get people to interact with your ads. These results are fast and very goal-oriented. SEO is more of a constant, general campaign. If it is not in your budget to run both, what might be best is to run SEO year-round and PPC a few months of the year. For example, if you are selling Christmas decorations and supplies, you should do PPC 3-5 months leading up to the holiday season. If you own a banquet hall, you should run PPC around wedding season. During off-seasons (or less busy times) you can still keep the SEO. It is important to always have some sort of marketing running no matter what time of year it is or how busy you tend to be. If you can only afford one service, it all comes down to what you are trying to promote. If it’s website traffic, SEO would be better. If it’s a sale or brand awareness – PPC would be better. Either way, you should still see results regardless of what you choose if the campaign is running properly – which we can always assist with. For more information, reach out to us or schedule a meeting.