Things can get a bit tricky when it comes to online marketing. You have SEM, SEO, and PPC and other abbreviations that could leave any newcomer scratching his head trying to make sense of it all.
Two strategies stand out among the vast suite of online marketing game plans: Google AdWords and Search Engine Optimization (or SEO). Although both can help business owners build brand awareness and boost conversion rates, the path to reach these goals can be different, depending on the strategy you’ve chosen.
Understanding their features and how they can serve you will help you determine which of the two can help you maximize your ROI. In addition to AdWords and SEO’s capabilities, you will also have to look at your business’ profile, online presence, and marketing goals.
A Short Definition
Before diving into understanding the differences between SEO and PPC, let’s take a look at what each of them does.
AdWords is a Google-based advertising platform that enables you to place your website on top of organic search results. The great thing about AdWords campaigns is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. In other words, you can have your marketing message featured in relevant search queries and not pay a dime until prospects click on it.
With SEO, on the other hand, you need to employ a variety of strategies to get your website at the top of search engine results and generate organic traffic. Everything from your link building strategy, keyword optimization to content relevancy and quality and site loading speed can influence your SEO strategy. Moreover, organic SEO has an influence not only on Google’s algorithm but on other major search engines, such as Bing or Yahoo as well.
So, What’s the Difference?
Let’s take an in-depth look at what makes SEO different from paid traffic.
- Time and Money Investment
Achieving the same goal differs depending on the method you’re employing. For example, with Google AdWords, you can reach your audience almost instantly and see immediate results regarding traffic and click-through rates. However, PPC is a short-term strategy as the results stop showing the moment you stop pouring money into AdWords.
The pay-per-click system ensures your investment stays proportional to your return. Simply put, the more leads you get, the more you pay.
SEO, on the other hand, doesn’t require an upfront payment. However, running an SEO campaign does come without any significant costs. You will need a professional content creator, search engine optimization specialists, web designers, social media managers, and photo editors if you want to get a favourable SERP position. In other words, you will almost always need the help of a professional SEO company to stay on top of the game.
If you want to get long-term results from your marketing efforts, then AdWords might not be the right option for you. At least not on its own. The moment you quit paying for your AdWords campaigns, you will see a sharp decline in traffic. While it takes longer to build organic traffic with SEO than with paid search, the results are lasting. In other words, prospects will read a high-quality article the day you posted it, the next week, and even the following year.
- The Number of Leads
AdWords make it easier to calculate your ROI. With SEO, on the other hand, assessing your investment can be a challenge as it implies more factors than just ad spending and revenue. While AdWords’ lead generation potential is higher regarding bringing quick results, these are not sustainable long term. In other words, AdWords can bring a high number of leads, but SEO increases your chances of getting a constant flow of visitors.
What to Choose?
If you’re just starting out, then AdWords is an excellent way to get targeted traffic quickly, reach out to prospects and increase brand awareness. Keep in mind, though, that although a great tool, AdWords can’t perform magic. What many business owners fail to understand is that paid traffic isn’t a set it and forget it type of deal. You need proper monitoring and control tools to keep your progress in check, or you might find yourself losing money.
While AdWords is a great way to get started, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore SEO for too long as it’s a key component to your long-term success. So make sure you keep your search engine optimization game strong and steady at all times.
Knowing how to best play up on each of AdWords’ and SEO’s strengths will take you a long way. That means strategically combining both approaches to drive your traffic to a peak. Many might consider SEO to be the only way to go about traffic, but the truth is AdWords can complement your search engine optimization efforts by helping you get more exposure for the same keywords. AdWords also enable an easier measurement of your performance and an easier start to getting targeted traffic.
While seemingly easy, AdWords might not grant you, purely on its own, the long-term, sustainable success you are aiming for. SEO comes here as a more strategical approach to keeping your lead generation consistent. Make sure you use both to their best potential.
Knowing what to use and how can be difficult, especially if you are new to the online marketing scene. Australian Internet Advertising is a top-notch SEO agency that can help you navigate the process and reach your goals.