Let’s set the record straight – SEO and digital marketing, by nature, is a fiercely competitive arena. After all, everyone wants their websites to appear at the top of every search engine result page (SERP)!
In recent years, organic search results have taken a backseat to pay-per-click advertising for nearly every brand out there – from small businesses to enterprise powerhouses. If this trend continues as predicted by industry experts, an overwhelming majority of businesses will be relying solely on PPC ads for most of their traffic.
Although it is possible to optimize your campaign for both SEO and PPC simultaneously, it’s important to know which alternative will prove more cost-effective so you can put your efforts where they count the most!
How PPC Works
Although AdWords is the most popular pay-per-click program, other popular services such as Amazon, Bing and many web companies offer the same type of campaigns.
The way it works is that you register with a pay-per-click advertising program and plan out a campaign based on your budget. In turn, the service will send you only relevant potential customers for your business.
By narrowing down your target audience and sending you highly targeted clientele who are searching specifically for what you’re selling and when and switching off at particular times (allowing certain competitors to take their turn), these ads give you a much more specific setting for each product/service you need to sell in order to make sure it goes to somebody who actually needs it.
Depending on the search term, you can pay anywhere between €1.00 and €50.00 per click. Most advertisers are paying upwards of €1 to €2 per click.
Advantages of PPC
With pay per click ads, your business will be listed at the top of the search results. This is great for picking up potential customers who are searching for your well-known business keywords or phrases. Furthermore, these are their areas of search! They are serious about what they are looking for so you have everything to gain by presenting your company to them first.
As an advertiser, your search engine listing will share space with other local businesses that have the same keywords in the same areas. You’ll also have an ad at or near the top of the page, and down towards the bottom of the page.
Many search engine sites place a lot of attention on ads near their main interiors which can lead to a better chance at catching more customer attention since they know not every website on their front page is going to be relevant to whatever they were searching for!
No matter how perfect your site is, or how much you follow all of the latest SEO best practices, there’s no guarantee that search engines will pick up on it, and that’s where PPC can give you an instant lift – provided you have the budget for running and managing Ads.
Customised Ads and Keywords
When you run a pay-per-click ad campaign you have flexibility – firstly being able to choose your own keywords so it displays to the right audience. This gives you the freedom to either use an expert’s words or your own.
For example, if you know that “car insurance Ireland” is a popular search term for your product, why not use savvy SEO marketers to make sure your ad says exactly what needs to be said?
There are so many ways to up your conversion rate and Google Adwords is an ideal way of doing this.
With some handy customisation, Google will show your advertisement only when it has found a user who is in their interest area – which is beneficial for you because not only are you saving money but you are getting new customers without having to be wasteful with adverts.
You can see exactly what items people are looking at on your website by adding tracking tools that tell you whether new visitors have clicked one of your links which helps build data graphs on their interests.
Disadvantages of PPC
The biggest drawback of PPC advertising is that you never know exactly who your audience is, which means you can’t really tell whether your campaign will be cost-efficient. Moreover, the amount of money you spend on your campaign depends solely on how many clicks or views you get so if too much money is spent per click it might not be worth it.
It’s near impossible to predict the performance of an ad beforehand especially when you’ve already decided on what target market to focus on because anybody could come along and click the ads. Even people who neither need nor are interested in the services offered by the business owner (i.e., “clickers”) can end up clicking this or that ad, just for fun, which will drastically affect the earnings generated by placing ads online.
Sometimes bots have nothing better to do than visit your ads, costing you money on bogus traffic that wasn’t even the product of a human.
If you bid for ad spots with these bad actors, you could end up spending thousands on click-throughs that may not pan out.
Depending on the ad platform, it could require hundreds of impressions before your advert is shown to a real person allowing you to win the auction for this user’s attention, which results in receiving payment if s/he clicks through.
Many People Don’t Like Paid Ads
Although your ad might very well be placed at the top of the search engine, there are a lot of people out there who will call you out for being a paid advertiser and not a legitimate business.
Unfortunately, this means that your ad will often be ignored altogether. Fortunately, the organic search results do pop up beneath the sponsored ads that pay to take up that space, and many people find them to be much more trustworthy as those placements usually entail businesses who have established both an online presence as well as a legacy offline one.
Ultimately, opinions can vary from one customer to another as some may prefer what they perceive as authentic businesses over those which pay for their spot on Google’s results page – regardless of where on the screen they wind up.
You Have To Pay To Play
Another downside of using a pay per click (PPC) account is that the only way you will be seen is if you pay.
Yes, once you’ve paid you will be ahead on the page and people will notice your business first. However, if you don’t pay anything then you won’t exist on the page — unless your website already has some great search engine optimization (SEO) tactics at play.
If your site is already doing well organically for keywords, then you should appear, but if not, it may be time to think about PPC!
It’s up to you how much work you want to put into this front though; it may take more money than time, or vice versa. I would consult with an expert before making this choice especially if SEO/branding isn’t something that comes naturally to you, but I can guarantee that both of these marketing tactics are great for increasing visibility on the internet! Unfortunately, one downside of using either option is that it can get very expensive so choose wisely 🙂
PPC campaigns can be unpredictable. If you’re planning to use them, make sure your budget is big enough to back it up because there is no guarantee you’ll get any return on investment.
If you run an ad that produces terrific results one day, the next day it could go flat or even lose money. Of course, there’s also the possibility – depending on how long your campaign runs for – that you could hit big if your click-through rate is low and Google gives you good placement in their search rankings.
Even so, it’s crucial to realize PPC isn’t foolproof so do yourself a huge favor and get professional help at least during the introductory stages of your launch!
If you would like help with your next PPC campaign or just some advice to see if it is right for you then get in touch here.