Table of contents:
Stripping SEO and PPC down to the bare bones
The best and worst things about SEO
- Great ROI. There has always been a lot of talk about the actual return of marketing campaigns. This research has left no stone unturned, putting SEO as the channel of choice with its average and highest ROI at 41% and 32%, respectively. Wrap this up with its one of the lowest customer acquisition costs (CAC), and you will get a real thing.
- High conversion rate. Once your website takes pride of place in search without any ad sign next to it, this serves as a signal for people that it’s their best way to go. After they land on it and see that everything works like a well-oiled machine, they become your customers. That is why organic traffic is all about the most coveted conversion rates and lifetime values.
- Excellent CTR. An average #1 placement on Google boasts 31.7% in its click-through rate. To realize how huge it is, think of the medium CTR for PPC, which is 1.91%. Apparently, it all comes down to ad blindness (when users jump over paid listings to hit organic results).
- Richer traffic source for ecommerce businesses. If you’re considering SEO versus PPC for your online store, you need to know which one makes more people gravitate towards it. Many years of doing e-commerce SEO at Semalt are now crammed into the following breakdown: measly 5.05% of online store traffic comes from paid results, while organic ones welcome the remaining 94.95%.
- Improved long-term standing. Doing SEO consistently can foster your way in business, especially if you’re not a household name. All-round optimization, beefed up with link-building, will crank up your company’s trustworthiness and produce a ripple effect on your brand awareness.
- Relatively uninterrupted traffic flow. Another thing where SEO outperforms PPC is how long your traffic remains at the same level if you choose to stop your campaign. When you no longer pay for Google Ads, this cuts the cord instantly. With SEO, however, you will be getting as much traffic as you used to for the next 3-4 months.
- No eligibility criteria. You don’t have to prove anything to dive into SEO. Sadly, this is not the case with PPC. Not all businesses are eligible for advertising with Google Ads, meaning that some of them have to adapt to strict policies or undergo advanced verification. That’s where having an ordinary Google My Business listing is not enough.
What about SEO downs then?
- Gear up for months of waiting. You can’t know whether your campaign works if you’ve just got it off the ground. For the best to come, you should bide your time for up to 1 year from the moment you start. Be patient because SEO has never been an overnight process.
- There are no guarantees. Unrealistic expectations sometimes soar among SEO beginners who heavily rely on wishful thinking. But the success of this campaign can’t be pre-determined. All binding promises are a pie in the sky.
- Unpredictable downs happen. With all those ranking algorithms and giddy searching trends, only fortune tellers can assure you of the results. SEO may be the rollercoaster of peaks and valleys, making your ride quite bumpy.
- Winning the first spots on Google is tough. In the face of cut-throat competition, it will take you a good deal of effort to rank #1. If you operate in the niche saturated with rivals, your SEO results are likely to depend on their marketing success, as well.
Benefits and drawbacks of PPC
Why go for PPC?
- Instant results. PPC is like a sports car in the digital marketing world. You only need to fuel it with the right bidding and keyword strategies to make it to the finish line on Page 1.
- Targeted promotion. If you’re putting forward some time-sensitive service, Google Ads can help sell it in a flash. Plus, you can create a campaign for impressions when brand awareness is more of a priority.
- Better exposure control. PPC comes up with a pack of benefits for local and niche-specific businesses. It allows you to propel your promotion for the specified areas.
- Hands-down launch. Technically, you can set up a PPC campaign on your own. Although it does require some skills to get started, the whole process is way easier than that of SEO.
- Easy-to-measure performance. With Google Ads, you have a lot of metrics ready at hand to determine which ads bring the expected CTR and which are worse-performing.
Why may PPC fail to meet your needs?
- Bidding dependence. The catch with PPC often lies in the demolished results once you stop splashing out on placement. When your campaign is over, so is your high visibility.
- Costly promotion. PPC is deservedly labeled as the most expensive online marketing channel. It makes you pay for EVERY click, with an average CPC of $2.69. Do the math.
- High cost of failure. Should something go wrong when setting ads, your promotion is likely to come to nothing, cutting a yawning hole in your budget.
- Ad blindness. We all tend to selectively ignore ads when searching, which is why paid results can’t be as impactful as organic traffic. People just don’t trust them anymore.
- Thorough planning is also a must. To leverage your PPC campaign, you need to take care of many things before setting it up (on-page optimization, keyword research, etc.). This can take up to 6 months.
Still baffled about SEO vs. paid search?
The bottom line
- type of your business
- ultimate aim of your promotion endeavors (revenue boost, brand awareness, etc.)
- keywords you want to rank for
- how much time you can devote to it
- size of your marketing budget