When deciding on the best way to invest your money and time in online marketing, there are some vital factors to consider. This includes recognising the differences between Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rankings and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements.
Both options offer attractive results for your marketing dollars and have an easy metric to track your Return of Investments (ROI). However, there are many clear and distinct differences between the two strategies that companies should be aware of.
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of drawing out the potential of your site to boost its online presence and visibility. Due to this strategy’s consistent results and returns, especially in an incredibly digitised world, it remains a popular marketing strategy.
Known as Search Engine Optimisation, SEO refers to the process of incorporating content that can potentially improve the search ranking of your website. By including relevant keywords into your website’s content, your website becomes more visible via search engines.
SEO is important as your optimisation efforts directly affect the number of online leads that you can get. On the first page alone, the first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks. Depending on your industry, monthly searches can vary.
For popular professional services like Accounting services, you can get up to a monthly search volume of 400, as shown in the picture below.
In other words, the websites ranked on the first page of Google gets to enjoy about 280 additional clicks. If you land on the first page too, you get to enjoy this share of the pie.
How to Improve SEO?
When attempting to optimise your website’s search results, here are a few things to take note of. Firstly, ensure that your website’s content is coherent, clear and informative. Use simplistic and easily understandable language and remember to include keywords that a user might search for.
However, do note that when including relevant keywords, always ensure that it is appropriately used. Overloading your website with full of poorly contextualised search terms or uploading fake websites can cause Google to deem you dishonest and blacklist you.
Additionally, avoid using images with text. Google and other search engines may not be able to recognise it.
Think of what kind of content would be most intuitive for a viewer, then aim to follow through with it.
Linking other websites with yours can also improve your ranking and is an integral part of SEO known as link-building.
This includes websites like blog product reviews, testimonials, your business partners and such. Linking them to your website shows Google that your website is relevant to many viewers’ interests, giving you brownie points with the algorithm.
Pros of SEO
- Relevant content pushed to interested readers. Improving your SEO results can improve your Google Search ranking as your page is optimised to be more relevant to readers. This is especially significant as search listings are free of charge and accessible to many people. As Google is driven to ensure that their search content remains reliable and relevant, it is one of the best rankings available.
- Long-lasting effects. The SEO method comes at a lower cost with a long-lasting effect. It is similar to the act of constantly watering your plants to ensure healthy growth and consistent harvest.
- Free Organic Traffic. Tweaking your website just a little while keeping in mind the audience’s eye can improve your search rankings tremendously over time. SEO can let a webpage enjoy up to $25,000 of traffic value per month.
To better understand how Google’s search engine works, and see how well your website’s content is doing, you can have a look here.
Cons of SEO
- More visibility, more impact. Getting noticed by everyone may not always be a good thing. As you get more visible, your competitors will start to notice as well. Increased competition is fairly common with good marketing, and it is a hurdle that is bound to stand in your way.
- Getting spammed. Spam comments and messages may appear more often, requiring websites to have good protocols and filters in place to prevent such uninvited traffic.
- Permanent effect. Unlike other avenues of digital marketing that can be switched off or tone down, the effects of SEO, for good or for worse, is permanent. Its long last effect may become a problem if leads surge in fast.
- Unethical black hat practices. There is also a common unethical practice of Black Hat SEO, where SEO results are delivered in the short term, but the website is more likely to get penalised with a Google Penalty as time goes by. Black Hat SEO services may be cheaper but come at a higher non-monetary cost.
What are Pay-Per-Click ads?
Now, what exactly is PPC and why is it important?
Google-based advertisements, commonly known as Google Ads, refers to Google’s PPC advertising strategy. It gives website owners and businesses the opportunity to display their advertisement next to the search area on Google’s website. This is the optimal space for advertising as it is where viewers will take a look at what there is to be offered.
Running a Google ads campaign can also help you reach your customers who are searching for content that coincides with the services that you and your company provide.
Google ads also allows you the opportunity to display your ads on related websites in Google’s display network (GDN). This gives you the chance to promote your business on an external platform besides Google Search. The GDN is composed of many sites across the internet, which increases your chance of meeting more customers. You can choose your preferred websites from the network or pick the demographic you’re reaching out to. Afterwards, Google Adds will formulate a list for you.
For the Auditing and Financial services industry in Singapore, according to SemRush, the Cost Per Click (CPC) of related keywords total up to 3.04 SGD per click.
Pros of PPC
- Pay and see results. Through this method, you only have to pay when somebody clicks on your ad, granting you the chance to be seen by more viewers on the internet.
- Tailor your content specifically to your audience. Additionally, you can adjust the content of your ads whenever you like. You can tailor it to target a particular demographic or to promote a certain product.
- Beneficial for smaller companies. The ease of change can be a huge plus point for smaller companies that are not capable of updating their SEO frequently to indicate promotional or seasonal changes to their products.
- Greater outreach, and a wider scope. PPC advertisements are more useful in connecting you with more viewers across the internet and beyond search engines. Hence, it might be capable of a greater outreach than SEO. By bidding for broad match modifiers, you can also broaden your keyword pool without having to know the exact phrasing searchers are using.
- New searches every day. According to Google, 15% of daily searches contribute to the creation of new keywords. This means that choosing the right broad match modifiers could help you expand your outreach and searches by millions.
Cons of PPC
- Misconceptions. A common belief is that a Google Ads campaign would help improve your SEO rankings. However, this belief is often debated over and debunked.
- Fierce competition. Unlike SEO, a PPC ad strategy like Google Ads won’t improve your search ranking, However, the flexibility it allows means that Google Ads can give every business the opportunity to reach out to potential customers – especially when they happen to be looking for a service like yours. This means that regardless of the size of the business, everyone has equal chance to reach out to customers. This will mean that your competitors are battling for attention in the same online space that you are.
- Planning and experience is important. Without proper planning or actual industry marketing experience, it is also easy to burn through your marketing budgets as you struggle to find the proper advertising structure that gets your clicks and conversions.
So, PPC or SEO for Your Professional Business?
Employing both Google Ads and SEO can offer you the best chance to enhance your site’s traffic in the short run. When it comes to the long-term, it also gives you a chance to improve the online presence of your business.
Google Ads comes with a series of tools to help you in optimising your website. For instance, the Keyword Tool produces a list of business-related terms that are relevant to many searches, which you can then incorporate into your website. Alternatively, you can also use the tracking tools to observe whether the modifications made to your ad campaign and website are improving.
Tracking tools can identify many helpful metrics such as impressions, interactions, the average cost per click, total conversions, and conversion rate, which is the percentage of the number of clicks to conversions. This can provide you with many inferential metrics. Your conversation rates can equip you with the knowledge of the cost needed for acquiring a customer. This allows you to identify stronger and weaker keywords to focus your SEO efforts on.
With more ads you run, you will have more data, meaning the more opportunities you’ll be able to find.
You can also use your SEO results to improve on your PPC click-through results. Using your organic search results from SEO, you can try different ad versions with varying titles and descriptions before you find a winning combination that works. Combining the efforts of your SEO results allows you to know which keywords or phrasing can help capture the attention and clicks of web users.
Secondly, PPC can also help you with your SEO link-building endeavours. With a proper blog and information infrastructure, you will be able to weaponise your blog as a marketing tool, providing a source of statistics or information for other websites to use as reference. Leveraging on this, you can bid on advertisement space for enquiries that have these ‘link intentions’, allowing you to reach people who are actively looking for resources to link to.
At the end of the day, which option is better for your website and business depends on your goals. Both PPC ads and SEO can aid in different methods. Nowadays, viewers are likely to consult the web for product reviews and answers. Both PPC ads and SEO can then connect you with these viewers – especially when your services are what they’re looking for right now.
SEO is a vital and long-standing part of online marketing. It increases the chances of your business being found when someone is looking for the services you offer (although optimising articles can be a little tricky to master). On the other hand, PPC ads allow you to contact your customers with more immediacy, regardless of your business’ size. It also allows you to customise your campaign with much flexibility.
For a more comprehensive idea of the cost structure of SEO services, and the range of services that you may require, feel free to contact us.