Asking if a business should use SEO or PPC is a loaded question, a good question, and a frequently asked question. If you had an unlimited budget, the obvious answer would be—both! They both have their benefits and their drawbacks, and if you can do both, the benefits of one will make up for the drawbacks of the other.
SEO is No Longer a One-and-Done—But PPC Never Was
Search engine optimization, or SEO, needs constant upkeep and maintenance, whereas only a few years ago, all you needed for SEO was to stack your content with high-ranking keywords. Google wants to bring its users to the best sites, where they will find the most relevant content, which means frequent updates are required.
Pay-per-click, or PPC has always required constant attention to have a decent return on investment (ROI). Knowing what you spend on Google Adwords allows you to get the most with a small budget. The constant attention in using PPC includes:
- Keyword updates
- Bid management
- Creative writing for your ads
- You have to keep paying, to keep benefitting
PPC’s Immediate Rewards
With PPC ads, you will have to take some time to set up your account, and writing the ads will take some time and effort. Still, it’s reasonable to expect that you could have your ads up and running, driving traffic to your site, within 24 hours. SEO will typically take at least a month before a business notices any significant website traffic increases.
Potential ROI Is Higher With SEO
SEO has a larger initial investment, takes longer to see the benefits, and requires more consistent effort, but your potential ROI is much greater. When done properly, after a few weeks your website will be ranked high for several keywords, and capturing even a small number of the traffic that searches those keywords will quickly and easily make up for the initial investment.
PPC Is More Easily Quantified
PPC ad traffic is very easily tracked, thanks to technologies such as:
- Conversion tracking
- Phone number tagging
While it’s easier to see the direct impact of PPC, SEO is still more profitable in the long run for most companies. Online marketing companies can show you how their SEO will directly impact your company’s bottom line, and you can use this information to make your choice.
What is Your Competition Doing?
If you research your target keywords and it turns out that all of the companies ranking high for those words are giant corporations that would have a lot of money to invest in their SEO campaigns, you may be better off using PPC to gather your initial online following. One way to get around this and still use SEO effectively, is to change your keywords to words that nobody else is using, but still effectively describe your business. Also, be sure to use your geo-modifier to help your business site stand out to your local market.