Updated: Aug 24, 2020
What works best: Pay per click model or organic- Insights into the what, why, and how of Search Engine Marketing
Should I opt for an organic or a paid campaign for my content?
What will my digital marketing strategy fetch me?
Will I be able to get a good return on my paid campaign?
Would it be wise to resort to SEO over time to see better results out of my campaign?
…These, and many more such dilemmas crowd a marketer’s mind today. In the present era of marketing our products, services and even content, in the language that people are already speaking rather than instilling one, it is increasingly becoming crucial, that we know some essential concepts of marketing digitally.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
The first step towards that knowhow would be to understand the difference between SEO and PPC. In the crudest form, this difference is the monetary investment involved. Whilst directing traffic to your website through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is free, for PPC (Pay-per-click), as the term itself suggests, you would need to shell out some money out of your business development budget.
A famous artist ‘Wendy Piersall’ very aptly puts it, “Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” This very statement forms the basis of all our Search Engine Marketing practices, and is often a guiding principle for whether one should use organic or paid search advertising. According to Jupiter Research, a Forrester Research company, 81% of users find their desired destination through a search engine. It, thus, becomes imperative for your brand to have a strong presence on the search engines. And that is where comes into play, the BIG question about whether to use SEO or PPC to build your brand online.
A recent article on IMPACT provides a quite comprehensive definition for SEO & PPC, as below:
SEO is about optimizing your website through the process of identifying industry related keywords you want to target and creating your website around themPPC is a form of online advertising -- allowing you to pay a set amount for each click your ad receives.1
What to consider before investing in SEO & PPC?
Honestly, neither way is better than the other, and it depends on what you want to achieve out of your campaign. So the question shouldn’t be which strategy is better. Rather, it should be which strategy would make more business sense ‘NOW’. Here is a summary of the pros of both when compared with the other. These can help you decide just that:
Advantages of using SEO over PPC:
With almost no investment attached to it, SEO is undoubtedly much more cost effective than PPC
With appropriate keywords, SEO can result in much more traction to your website even after the campaign is over Since these are organic listings, users rely on these much more than paid ones
A highly place organic listing performs much better in terms of overall clicks and click-through-rates (CTR), your ROI by using SEO is much more than that on PPC
Advantages of using PPC over SEO:
Results of a PPC Campaign can be seen as soon as the campaign goes live
With PPC listings you can be sure that the ads are being directed to your target audience
The campaign budgets are in your control and hence the return on the investment to build the campaign can be easily calculated
You can easily track conversion rates using the PPC model and integrate the same with your analytics tools
However, these pros and cons alone, cannot be considered in isolation, to be able to effectively invest in. According to the Search Engine Journal, other factors that need to be examined are:
The current status of your website
Your website’s level of organic visibility
If you have or are currently using paid search
The goals of your website and brand
Where the majority of your site’s traffic comes from
How your brand, product, or service fit into a searcher’s buyer journey
So which approach should you finally go ahead with?
In effect, search engine marketing needs a two-pronged strategy, wherein one can first start with a robust foundation of organic optimization (SEO), followedup by that needs to be enhanced with pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to further increase the reach and targeted conversions.
Alternatively, introduce the products/services through a pay-per-click listing to garner as much traffic initially and create a large user base, while optimizing your website in the background to be able to reap in long-term benefits, even after the paid campaign is over.
In essence, my response to the earlier question on which strategy to implement, would be to have a balanced and a neutral view. Aspects like your scale of business, short-term and long-term goals, investments that can be pumped in etc. will come into play when debating and deciding between these two approaches. Whilst each has its benefits and costs, if tackled earnestly, both paid and organic listings can get you the first few berths on the search engines.
There are numerous examples that would add weight to the fact that an integrated search tactic combining the winning strokes of both SEO and PPC is an ideal approach. Particularly, for aggressively marketing your products and services in a high-growth market, it would be best to develop a holistic strategy rather than considering the benefits and costs of SEO or PPC in isolation.
So, keep exploring, and evolving as the realms of the digital world unfold and unveil!