Are you planning to run a digital marketing campaign? If yes, you may be faced by the common decision that creates conflicting emotions in marketers everywhere. Should you choose SEO over PPC or vice versa? Which is better for your campaign – paid vs organic search?
In this article, we will explore what SEO and PPC strategy are. We will then consider which is better for your business – organic search results vs paid search results. Finally, we’ll also provide tips on how you can make both of these techniques work together seamlessly, with the help of an experienced SEO and PPC agency.
What is organic search?
Organic search refers to a digital marketing technique, where companies boost their websites’ natural ability to draw visitors. Here, the focus is on building the site in a way that naturally ranks high in search results.
The biggest tool for organic search is SEO. This SEO includes –
- Site load time
- Internal site navigation
- Content quality
- Content format and font
- Website design
- Device compatibility
- Meta data
- ….and more.
What is paid search?
Paid search is the opposite of organic search. Here, the digital marketer buys the space on the search engine; just as an advertiser would buy space in the newspaper or on the radio. Paid search ads appear at the very top of the search results, above organic search results.
The tool used for effective paid search is, PPC. Pay per click refers to a search engine advertisement, which displays the ad content for the company’s product/service. They may be text-only or text and image ads, which you can click to visit the product page or company website.
Organic search results vs paid search results – What’s the difference?
The main difference between paid vs organic search lies in how they work –
- Timeline of results
The success of organic search depends on how strong your SEO is. If your SEO is weak, then your website won’t rank high on the search results for a long time. It can take anywhere between a few weeks and a year for a website’s SEO strategy to yield measurable results.
PPC on the other hand can give you immediate results because you’ve paid for the ad’s top placement.
- Cost of running the SEO and PPC strategy
While some companies choose to hire SEO specialists to optimize their website, your SEO organic search can be very inexpensive. If you design and optimize your site yourself, you can have your SEO strategy up and running in a few hundred dollars. Plus, once you’ve found an SEO strategy that works for you, you won’t need to spend much (or anything, really) on making tiny tweaks to your website.
With PPC, your paid search’s cost will depend on how many people click on your ad. Each ad can cost anywhere between $0.99 and $2. With PPC, your company pays the advertiser every single time someone clicks on the ad. Since your ad is at the top of the search list, you’ll definitely get a lot of clicks – which means you need to spend equally high. If there aren’t many conversions, your PPC campaigns can get expensive very quickly.
- Quality of conversions
Speaking of conversions, organic search definitely has a higher conversion rate and better-quality conversions, compared to paid search. This is because SEO campaigns are built to attract a specific clientele with the use of the right combination of keywords, design psychology, content variety & format, accessible site navigation, etc. Your SEO campaigns are built to attract prospects who are looking for a company like yours. Since they’re searching for you, using the keywords you’ve used and since they stay on your website because they like what they see/experience, the chances of conversion are higher. Repeat purchases are also likely.
But with paid search, the PPC ad is displayed to them whether they are actively looking for these products/services or not. While more people may click on your ad and visit your site, they haven’t come there with the conscious intent of exploring your site. PPCs are something that prospects just chance upon. There’s an equal probability of your converting the visitor, as losing the visitor to a competitor's website.
Now, in saying that, we do need to mention that PPC can be used to create highly-targeted advertisements for niche groups as well. But such targeted PPC ads will bring you only a select group of customers. You’ll need to run new PPC campaigns again to continue your marketing efforts. With SEO, you keep your website open and available to people from a larger audience group. This gives you a larger pool of prospective clients in the long run.
Which is better - paid vs organic search?
Now that we’ve seen how SEO and PPC fare, which one should you choose for your company?
Choose SEO and organic search if –
- You want to build your website credibility and domain authority through quality content and backlinks.
- You want to generate consistent traffic over the long term.
- You want to build a client base of loyal patrons who repurchase and recommend your brand.
- You want to increase the sale value of your website through its reliable performance.
- You want to keep your digital marketing under a budget and run your campaign for a long time.
Choose PPC and paid search if -
- You want to see immediate traffic and engagement on your website.
- You are running a short-term product/service campaign and long-term traffic is not your goal.
- You want to target a niche group of customers.
- You have many competitors and want to stand out from the crowd in a keyword category.
- You have the money to spend on expensive paid campaigns in the long term.
A few ways to make your SEO and PPC work together without trouble
While individually the SEO and PPC strategy are both effective, you don’t need to forego one for the other. There are a few ways in which you can use both techniques simultaneously, to supplement each other.
Here’s how you can do this –
- Use PPC ads to test which organic keywords drive the highest traffic. Then build content centered around the best performing keywords.
- Use your existing SEO performance to inform your PPC ad campaign decisions and create powerful ads that are effective.
- Use PPC ads to draw prospects' awareness to your best and most engaging on-site content.
- Implement search retargeting/remarketing. If people find you through search, use PPC ads to remarket to them. Similarly, use your PPC ads for retargeting prospects based on the search intent. You use this search intent to SEO-optimize relevant landing pages for the highest organic reach. This way, you’ll attract both the retargeted prospects and others like them who haven’t yet engaged with your brand.
When you combine SEO and PPC strategy, you automatically make your website more SERP-worthy.
When it comes to choosing between SEO and PPC, you don’t always need to pour over which is better - organic search results vs paid search results. When you partner with the right SEO and PPC agency, you’ll be able to find ways to combine the power of both strategies and use them to supercharge your online presence.
So, use SEO and PPC together and let us know what you experience. We can’t wait to know.