The SEO vs PPC Showdown

Online marketing

It isn’t always easy for newcomers to the internet marketing scene to determine what’s really necessary. Both PPC and SEO marketing strategies can be very effective, especially when used in conjunction with one another, but many small businesses just don’t have the resources to afford both. Here, we’ll look at the pros and cons of PPC and SEO marketing as tools for driving traffic to your website.

SEO Basics

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s all about getting indexed with Google and achieving higher search engine rankings for competitive keywords. It’s certainly an important strategy. Studies have shown that between 70% and 80% of search engine users choose only organic search results and that the top-ranking organic result is chosen by 42%. Furthermore, SEO-generated leads have 14.6% close rates compared to the 1.7% close rate produced by outbound leads.

Though SEO marketing can improve rankings, it is naive to think that your small business will be able to replace the major players that have been ranking on the first page for years. For industries with very high competition, SEO is usually less effective than PPC because it can be so difficult to rank highly. It also requires a lot of time to take effect, and even after you begin to see gains, Google might make a major algorithm change rendering some of your progress pointless.

PPC Basics

PPC stands for pay-per-click advertising and it’s more or less exactly what it sounds like. You only pay for the ad if people click it, based on the CPC (cost per click) agreed upon by you and the publishers. It can be helpful for small businesses who want to see which keywords are attracting the most users and can also be useful for companies who know that they will probably not make the first page any time soon.

On the downside, the average CPC for a popular keyword phrase can run as high as $30 per click which represents a large expense for most small businesses. Though it can take immediate effect, yielding traffic for your website right away, that’s a privilege for which you pay dearly.

The Big Showdown

There is really no definitive answer about whether PPC or SEO marketing is more effective. Both fall into the “inbound leads” category which costs 61% less than outbound leads like cold calling. Ultimately, the choice between PPC and SEO is one of circumstance. Some companies might find better results from one method than another, and when it comes down to brass tacks, a strategy utilizing both methods is far and away the most effective.