How does Pay Per Click (PPC) Differ From Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine marketing (SEM) is essential for modern brands. However, choosing the best strategy isn’t so straightforward.
Are pay-per-click ads more effective? You’re paying, right? They must come with results.
But wait – search engine optimization provides organic traffic. That sounds healthy. It sounds long-lasting. But is it free?
Our guide explains all you need to know about PPC ads, SEO and how the team at BRANDefenders can help you develop a digital marketing strategy that marries the two.
PPC ads are just as they sound. They’re ads that you pay for, but only when someone clicks on them.
How much do you pay? That depends on what you’re selling. You can expect to pay more per click if you’re selling a product or service with high search traffic on Google. You’ll see a much lower ad spend if you’re selling a niche product.
So wait – the payment depends on what you’re selling? Surely that means you can change your PPC ad spend by changing the keywords you use to advertise it?
You’re on the right track. We’ll cover that later. Let’s start with the basics.
When you talk about PPC ads, you really mean Google Ads. This is where virtually all pay-per-click ad campaigns happen because it’s where the web traffic shows up.
Think about it – a brick-and-mortar business puts its billboard on the freeway, just outside the airport. Maximum visibility. Don’t put your billboard on a low-traffic road in the middle of the Nevada desert. The cost of advertising is much lower, but the problem is that nobody will see it.
So we advertise on Google. Unfortunately, that means that Google gets to dictate the spending terms. Google is very good at knowing which search terms are popular, and it charges a premium if you want to advertise to those searching the web. The more popular the search term you want to target, the higher the price per click.
You’ve designed adverts before. Do you know what catches the eye? Surely that means you don’t need an expert to help with PPC ads?
Remember what we said – the more popular the search term, the more expensive the click. On the other hand, the more popular the search term, the more people will see it. It’s a balancing act.
You need someone who knows how to balance your brand’s budget and find the most beneficial avenues for PPC ads. This means that your PPC expert needs to understand SEO.
They need to perform keyword research to discover not just those search terms that they think you want to optimize for, but those search terms that you should really optimize for.
Better targeting, and lower prices. That’s the difference between an SEO pay per click ad campaign orchestrated by the team at BRANDefenders and an amateur job.
But wasn’t SEO a different ballgame? Let’s dive in.
SEO is the practice of optimizing a website’s content so that Google decides that someone searching the web should find it. If someone’s looking for the top HVAC contractors in Cincinnati, Google is trying to figure out who those contractors are by trawling thousands of websites, examining keywords, checking out backlinks, and keeping an eye out for red flags.
We’ve said it already – Google is really good at its job. It wants the best content to be found.
SEO is the art of making your content “the best content” by Google’s standards. If Google thinks you’re the best, it’ll put you on its front page.
If you can achieve this at the highest level, you’re pretty much guaranteed long-term success.
Exciting times, huh?
SEO is a slow game. It can have extremely impressive short-term results if executed perfectly in certain niches.
However, you could write the description of a bulk pack of Coca-Cola cans to end all other product descriptions. You could optimize it for every aspect of Google’s search algorithm.
…and you’d still be ranked behind the official Coca-Cola website and most of America’s large retailers. Because there’s much more to SEO than keywords.
The answer is that you use SEO everywhere. You don’t stop at blogs, product descriptions, or landing pages. You optimize every aspect of your web presence to improve your results.
Every brand should understand the value of search engine optimization (SEO) if it intends to remain relevant. It should also understand that SEO:
- Takes time
- Costs money
- Delivers consistent results
Yep – SEO isn’t a quick fix. And it’s not free. Unless you’re a self-taught expert with a lot of time to spare, but it’s worth it.
The team at BRANDefenders can integrate your SEO spending with your pay-per-click ad spending to produce better results at a lower price. Let’s examine how.
So which is better: pay-per-click ads or search engine optimization? Here’s a cost-benefit analysis.
The higher the traffic for your targeted PPC ad, the higher the cost per click. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not worth targeting these search queries.
This is because, for some search queries, you’ll almost never be able to “organically” rank among the top results. Consider our example above about bulk orders of Coca-Cola cans. You’ll never be on the front page for that with organic traffic – but you could with PPC ads.
With this example, you’d be making a hefty spend per advert! But the point stands. If there’s no chance of organically ranking among those top results, PPC ads (which are displayed at the top of page #1 on Google) are your best bet.
“Organic” sounds great. It’s a nice word. But every marketer should know that it doesn’t mean “free”.
Developing a consistent SEO campaign isn’t easy. It costs money because you’ll need to enlist the help of a top SEO agency. This isn’t a short-term partnership, either – SEO should be maintained and regularly updated if it’s going to be effective.
So – no. Organic search results aren’t free. But it lasts for longer. Much longer.
Here’s the other thing – search engine optimization and pay-per-click aren’t mutually exclusive. Your PPC ads should be optimized for search queries.
PPC ads are charged per search query. The price fluctuates depending on how popular the search term is. It might seem to make sense to choose the most popular search terms for similar businesses in your area and simply proceed from there.
However, an expert agency like BRANDefenders will help you research the keywords and search terms that really connect your customers with your brand. These might not be the mainstream keywords that cost the most in your area – this can save you money and help increase lead generation. A higher proportion of customers who find you through these SEO PPC ads will be interested in your business and become qualified leads!
Pay-per-click ads are an excellent tool if you know how to use them. Likewise, SEO is a great investment if you’re working with a proven agency.
Like all marketing expenditures, the proof is in the results – so you should always work with a team like BRANDefenders, that can offer you proof of short and long-term results from PPC and SEO campaigns.
PPC ads are a fantastic choice for short-term marketing goals. They can dramatically increase visibility, and, if carefully optimized, can deliver an incredible ROI. You won’t need to worry about spending on futile projects because you’ll know that you’re targeting the most relevant leads.
For some niches, SEO is also an effective short-term strategy. A well-designed campaign can help promote local service businesses ahead of the competition for long enough to establish a lead.
SEO is the best long-term marketing strategy for online businesses. It’s worth investing in because it delivers organic results that only increase in strength as your online presence grows.
Search engine optimization requires careful thought from an expert team – otherwise, it risks becoming a wasted expenditure, just like poorly designed PPC ads. That’s why you should contact the expert team at BRANDefenders, who have years of experience designing coordinated PPC and SEO campaigns for increasingly successful brands.
Pay-per-click ads and SEO services are both parts of any healthy digital marketing strategy. The team at BRANDefenders can help you implement an optimal strategy for your brand, saving you money in the short and long-term.
Discover your options. Make wise choices. Expand your brand. Get started today!