Online advertising is nothing new. Businesses all over the world spend nearly $100 Billion per year on online advertising. All of this spending results in the average American being exposed to around 7,000 ads each day. With all of the advertising your customers are seeing, the challenge is to make your advertising stand out from the crowd.
The old method was to improve your search engine placement by using the ideal combination of keywords, shared links and content. This process, also known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO has driven many business websites to feature keyword loaded content in the hopes of attracting search engine attention. Though SEO tactics are still important, there is another advertising strategy to be aware of, Pay-per-Click or PPC.
SEO vs. PPC – What’s the Difference
When you use SEO, you depend on Google, Bing and other search engines to find your website. The more effective you are at this process, the higher you will appear in the search results.
PPC is much more like the traditional methods of advertising in newspapers or on TV. The biggest difference is that you only pay when a user actually visits your website.
Of course, both SEO and PPC have benefits and drawbacks.
Let’s look at the good points of SEO first:
Simple to get Started
If you want to get started with SEO, all you have to do is start putting content on your website. It’s easy to find what keywords your potential customers searching for; then just write content featuring those keywords and post it on your website.
SEO is Sustainable
Once you write content for your website, it can stay up, and continues to drive traffic for months or even years.
SEO Builds Credibility
When your content drives your search results, it can make you look like an expert in your field.
Just like every other tactic, SEO has drawbacks as well:
SEO Takes Time
It takes time for search engines to parse your website and rearranged the search results. No matter how well you do at SEO, giant companies like Amazon and eBay will always have the advantage.
Writing Good Content Is Difficult
Not everyone is a natural communicator. Particularly if you are a small business, you may not have the talent in-house to write the content you need. You can always hire someone to write content for you, but this can be time-consuming and expensive.
Now let’s see what makes PPC good for your business:
Your Ads Go Straight to Your Customers
With PPC advertising, you choose exactly which audience will see your ads based on extensive demographics. You’ll never have to waste money on advertising to people outside of your target market.
Set the Budget You Want
With PPC, you know what your costs will be right from the start. You can establish your maximum budget ahead of time.
The Impact is Immediate
SEO is a long-term game. With PPC advertising, you will see the results within minutes, not weeks or months.
There are some drawbacks to PPC advertising:
PPC Isn’t Cheap
Though the costs are easy to control, the actual cost per website visitor driven by PPC advertising are actually quite high.
Popular Searches Lead to Bidding Wars
You may find yourself caught in a bidding war for customer clicks especially for popular search terms and target consumers.
Website Traffic Doesn’t Always Mean Sales
Just because a potential customer visits your site, doesn’t mean you automatically end up with a sale.
In the end, you have a choice to make. Which option is right for you and your customers? It depends on you and your business. SEO is best for businesses with no specific target market; the goal of SEO is simply to drive website traffic with little concern for who those visitors are.
If you have a clearly defined target market, a specific budget and need immediate results, PPC is probably the better choice for you.