Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) vs Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
I often get asked, “should we do SEO or PPC?” My answer is always the same: “you must do both”.
Some argue that SEO is more cost effective than PPC or vice versa – this is simply not true. Each can attain positive ROI if used correctly with specific goals and most importantly specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure performance. Until you establish ROI measurements for each you can’t say that one is better or more effective than the other – you’re simply guessing.
For example, SEO can be used to increase traffic related to organic search results by writing blogs such as this one. This traffic can then be measured and tracked using Google Analytics (or similar) to identify leads (“Goals” in Analytics) that are being generated as a direct result of this traffic. ROI can then be determined based on the investment of writing and publishing blogs compared to the returns generated from the associated leads. For PPC advertising, particularly Google AdWords, measuring ROI is just as easy if not easier because every lead can be attributed to specific keywords being bid on and specific ads that are being used.It’s also crucial to do so in order to improve the ROI over time using techniques such as split-testing of ads.
It takes time and the process of gathering enough data to know the effectiveness of each. It also takes time to optimise each: test-adjust-measure, test-adjust-measure, again and again until each reaches it’s optimum performance level. For SEO this means testing different content, targeting different keywords, using different strategies, integrating with different social media channels, and more. For PPC it means testing different ads, keywords, bidding strategies, ad groups, target markets and more. In both cases you will most likely start with negative ROI and only through hard work achieve the ROI results you are looking for.
Doing both, SEO and PPC means you can have two positive ROI channels supplying your business fresh leads. Whats more, using both amplifies the effectiveness of each. In fact the two are interconnected in a many ways – here are some examples:
- Effective PPC will increase relevant traffic, which will boost the performance of SEO;
- PPC can provide valuable data that can be used to identify opportunities in the market and respond not only with PPC, but with SEO as well;
- SEO work on landing pages that are used in PPC campaigns will greatly improve relevance, Quality Scores, click through rates (CTR), conversion rates and reduce cost per click (CPC), thus greatly improving ROI; and
- SEO can open up new opportunities which can be further capitalised on using PPC.
SEO & PPC should both be part of your marketing toolkit.