SEO or PPC? Tips for an Integrated Approach
When developing a digital strategy, business owners often wonder whether to focus on search engine optimization (SEO) or paid search (PPC). The answer depends on your business objectives, prospective customers, and industry.
Should you invest in SEO or PPC for business?
SEO and PPC have the common goal of helping your business rank highly on the search engine results page (SERPs). But there are key differences when choosing between SEO and PPC. While SEO is meant to influence organic listings, paid ads (PPC) appear at the top of the SERPs regardless of organic rankings. Secondly, traffic from organic rankings via SEO is free while traffic from PPC ads has a cost per click (CPC).
In most cases, however, SEO and PPC are more effective when strategically aligned and integrated. As organic visibility and organic traffic slide along with algorithm updates and Google penalties, paid ads will help you keep a dominant spot on the SERPs, helping you stay visible as you manage your organic rankings.
The benefits of investing in an SEO strategy
Being visible in the SERPs for your targeted keywords will put your business and brand name in front of prospective customers, helping drive brand awareness.
The main advantage of SEO over PPC is perceived credibility – ranking well in organic search results implies that your business has the stamp of approval from Google. Having high organic rankings means that your business has ethical SEO practices, positive online reviews, and a solid reputation that make you more trustworthy as far as the algorithm is concerned.
Online visibility around commercial search terms and queries with informational intent related to your products and services can have a positive impact on your branding, which becomes associated with these queries and builds trust among internet users who are conducting online searches that might eventually lead to a purchase. It helps you become an authority on a given topic in your industry or business area.
Generating organic traffic to your site also creates ample opportunity to promote brand awareness and persuade prospective customers to make a purchase.
It also provides improved ROI compared to traditional forms of paid media (e.g. TV, print, radio) and can help improve upon an existing PPC strategy.
As already mentioned, organic traffic is free. Building and maintaining online visibility takes consistent effort, long-term commitment, and significant spending, but there’s no direct charge for every click and impression compared to PPC ads, which have a CPC in addition to the costs of developing, implementing, and monitoring PPC campaigns.
The benefits of having a PPC strategy
Product Listing Ads help search users see which items or services they’re clicking on. These visual shopping ads help improve click-through rate (CTR) by offering a strong visual component that is lacking in organic search results.
PPC ads give business owners more granular control over marketing messages via calls to action (CTA), prices, locations, site links, callouts, and other options for creating ads and messages that are displayed prominently on the SERPs.
They allow for a more precise and targeted way of reaching prospective customers via language, search queries, location, device, time of day, day of the week, and audiences based on previous visits.
Further PPC gives entrepreneurs more control of their advertising budget by letting them pre-determine a fixed limit on ad spend per day depending on the returns they’re expecting.
But perhaps the main advantage of paid search is that it dominates above-the-fold content. The first page of the search results typically has four ads displayed for desktop and three for mobile, so a search user will always see the PPC ads even if they decide to scroll down.
This ensures that your products and/or services are seen by the right people. Even if they don’t click your ad or visit your site, you’ll still enjoy brand visibility and recall.
Which one is right for your business?
When deciding to invest more of your time and budget on SEO or PPC, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you looking for long-term or short-term results?
- Do you want to capture leads right away?
- Do you want to build your site’s authority?
- How competitive is your industry when it comes to organic search rankings?
- What is your CPC for paid search and do you have the budget for it?
Determining which one is more aligned with your short- and long-term digital marketing goals is crucial. The nature and circumstances of your business will also affect your choices.
For example, a hyper-local business with few competitors is more likely to develop good visibility in organic local search results with SEO.
But a newly launched ecommerce store that is in direct competition with Amazon and major online retailers might struggle with organic search, at least in the beginning, and might do better with PPC ads.
Luckily, there’s no need to choose one over the other. SEO and PPC work best when strategically aligned and have the potential to drive results that are much greater when integrated.
An integrated approach to SEO and PPC
The benefits of taking an integrated approach to SEO and PPC include:
- Integrating PPC and SEO efforts have been shown to drive a 25% increase in organic traffic on average (source: business2community.com)
- Combined PPC and organic search can increase profits by 27% (source: digitalfireflymarketing.com)
- PPC keyword and conversion data can be used to refine your SEO strategy and vice versa.
- A/B test results for various PPC ad copy and landing pages can also be used to refine organic search listings and landing pages.
- High-volume, high-cost, and low-converting yet vital keywords can be transferred from PPC to SEO.
- Increase total traffic volume by targeting clicks for top-performing keywords in paid and organic search.
- Stay in front of your target audience with remarketing after initial exposure via organic search
- Customise PPC ad messages based on search users’ engagement with your site when they click on organic search results.
Tips for integrating your SEO and PPC strategies
Bid on those keywords. Evaluate the queries that drive the majority of your site traffic, leads, and sales as well as keywords that directly relate to your products and services. It’s important for you to own these queries even if you’re already ranking on the first page or first position of organic search results.
Query ownership helps build trust, encourages clicks, and helps you generate additional leads and revenue. So if a certain keyword is an important component of your product offerings, you need to start bidding on that term, especially if you have been unable to rank reasonably for that term.
Switch PPC on and off as needed. One of the best things about paid search is that you can easily turn it on and off. So if your organic ranking improves but your PPC ads aren’t performing well enough to justify ad spend, you can turn it off in the short-term. You can also consider launching smaller and less costly PPC campaigns instead of switching PPC off entirely.
Evaluate data. Look into your search query reports and other sources of valuable data to learn more about your target audience’s search behaviours when it comes to relevant topics, products, and services.
A/B test. If you notice that certain search queries are driving traffic, sales, and leads, consider building and modifying your content around those particular
Work with the leading digital agency in Melbourne today
Here at Contevo, we believe that businesses have much to gain from a robust digital strategy that includes both SEO and PPC. With more than 15 years’ experience, we help Australian entrepreneurs gain online visibility and maximise their sales potential. Call us today for inquiries. keywords or key phrases. Make several variations and test them out on AdWords to see how they perform.