About a year ago, we wrote a post titled “SEO vs PPC: Which one should I use?” We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to determine when each tactic was best used to achieve advertising goals. However, we are still being asked the question, “If my SEO is working, do I still need PPC?”
The answer depends on your goals and the timeline in which you’d like to achieve them. The major difference between SEO and PPC is time. While SEO is a long-term strategy, results can take months to come to fruition. A PPC campaign strategy can be established in a few weeks (sometimes a few days) with results seen 15 minutes after activation.
This particular difference is why SEO and PPC complement each other so well. You can use PPC to drive qualified, sales-ready traffic to your site while you wait for SEO to take effect. But when SEO starts sending traffic to your website should you pause your PPC campaign?
Not in our opinion! Here’s why:
1. SEO is not real time
One of the most lucrative benefits of a pay-per-click search result is that it shows your ad in real time. This means that if Customer A searches for Product B you can serve an ad specific for Product B directly to Customer A, thereby increasing the likelihood that Customer A will buy your product.
Organic listings, even if search engine optimized, aren’t always specific enough to encourage a purchase from a customer. A paid search gives you the opportunity to customize a real-time ad for each product you sell, which is important for…
2. Attracting customers late in the purchase cycle
Think about your search habits. Generally, if I’m searching for information on a product I will perform broad, non-branded search queries (e.g., Maxi dresses online UK). I’ll then review the first page of search results, visit sites, perhaps find a brand I like and then perform search queries for that brand.
This is how PPC advertising increases your brand presence online. It serves ads for what potential customers are searching for at the exact moment they search for it.
3. PPC is flexible
Have a time-sensitive promotion you would like to run? SEO is an unrealistic tactic to use for time-sensitive offers due to the time it takes for results to appear in the search engines. Plus, consider the time involved to remove that offer’s landing page from the search engine results pages (SERPs) once the offer has expired.
This is the beauty of PPC – campaigns can be set up “on the fly”. The ads are never indexed and there’s no chance of an ad appearing in the SERPs after the offer has expired.
4. Increase SEO conversion rates with PPC
Let’s say the majority of your traffic comes to your site via organic traffic. How are you going to convince those visitors to purchase from you after they leave your site?
Remarketing (via Google AdWords) is a strategy that allows advertisers to reach site visitors as they browse other websites within the Google Display Network. You are able to categorize your site visitors based on the PPC ads that have driven them to your site and target them with ads that are tailored to them.
Using Remarketing in conjunction with PPC advertising and SEO has been shown to increase conversion rates and purchases by upwards of 600%. This strategy keeps your brand top-of-mind for the consumer.
5. PPC can save you money with SEO
When using SEO in a highly competitive industry, it takes more time and therefore, more money to rank for specific keywords. This is particularly frustrating if after all the time you spent researching keywords, they do not result in conversions for your business.
Setting up a PPC campaign will identify the targeted and potentially sales-generating keywords that you may choose to have your website rank organically for. This prevents you from using competitive, non-converting keywords and saves you valuable time and money.
If you have a smaller budget in a competitive industry where keywords are expensive and you’re finding they do not result in conversions for you, then perhaps the SEO route makes sense. However, even in this case you should still bid on your brand name to ensure that consumers late in the buying cycle can find you, as your brand name will always be cheaper than non-branded, competitive terms.
Outside of competitive industries, even with small budgets it is recommended that you use SEO and PPC in conjunction with each other. They work well as a team, providing increased visibility and conversion paths that ultimately provide you with a nicer bottom line at the end of the day.
Do you agree? Write your comments below!