Google alone answers more than 12 billion search queries every month, by approximately 1.2 billion unique web users based across the globe. The sheer volume of web searches tells us the importance of the term ‘search’ in the digital world – if the aim is to connect with the rapidly widening pool of web users. Redirects by search engines, such as Google, are attributable for a major percentage of traffic received by websites that rank high on relevant search terms. On the flipside, those that are unable to secure a spot among the top pages lose out on countless potential customers searching for them. To fill the void, what they need is effective search marketing.
When it comes to driving traffic to your website from web search engines, there are two options:
These are two of the most employed digital marketing strategies by businesses of all sizes and nature, both promising their own set of advantages and limitations. Let’s delve deeper.
Organic Search Optimization
Also known as ‘search engine optimization’, or SEO for short, organic search engine optimization involves an array of strategies aimed at enhancing the receptiveness of websites to the algorithms of web search engines, thereby improving their rankings in relevant search results. By positioning your website on the top pages of relevant searches, SEO help you to broadcast your business to billions of web searchers representing countless potential business opportunities. It helps drive more targeted traffic, improves user experience, and ultimately optimizes the revenue and profitability of your business.
How it Works?
The first step in optimization is to find out the most suitable search phrases or ‘keywords’ to target. This depends on several factors:
Search Volume: The number of people searching for the keyword. The larger the number, the larger the audience you would reach.
Relevance: The applicability of the keywords to your business. All selected keywords must direct targeted traffic to your website.
Competition: This depends on the number of similar sites targeting the keywords and their popularity and authority on the subject.
Length: Though short keywords have much higher search volumes, it is always advisable to start the campaign with long tail keywords.
On-page optimization may involve an array of tweaks on the website, ranging from inclusion of target keywords in its Meta data and content, to removal of heavy codes that may hamper its search receptiveness. Effective on-page optimization requires intricate technical expertise, and if done wrong, may do more harm than good.
Once all elements under the hood have been tweaked to achieve optimum search receptiveness, focus is shifted to promote your website on diverse digital channels, the selection of which is based on the nature of your products and target audiences. The avenues include social networking sites, industry blogs, business directories, local pages, etc.
SEO – though a remarkably efficient and cost-effective strategy for businesses to reach out to countless potential customers – takes a while to start producing visible results. In addition, factors such as the age of the domain and existing penalties by search engines also hamper the results driven by search optimization. If your website is already penalized by Google, it may take you months or even years to regain your lost search rankings. Given the odds, it would be safe to say that SEO is a great option if you are looking for sustained visibility and are willing to wait for at least a couple of months.
Paid Media or Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Pay-Per-Click advertising, or PPC for short, is a business marketing strategy where you pay search engines a fixed amount to host your adverts above the organic results. In addition, every click on your ad attracts a certain cost, whether or not it leads to a conversion. In simple terms, it gives instant exposure to your website, albeit short-lived. Some key factors that make PPC a favored strategy are:
Unlike SEO, wherein you are required to wait for a while before starting to expect returns, PPC ads, if rightly managed, start generating revenue from the maiden day of the campaign.
If you are planning to introduce a product or brand and take the industry by storm, leveraging PPC is almost a must if the aim is to gain recognition among targeted circles.
SEO limits the focus of your marketing to a certain set of keywords, whereas with PPC you can buy ad hoc keywords and drop them soon after for individual campaign.
SEO vs. PPC: Which Way to Go?
Both SEO and PPC have unique advantages; therefore, it would be rather unfair to rank one over the other. SEO is an ideal solution if the aim is to build an authoritative site with sustained prominence in relevant web searches. Once optimized, your website will naturally draw more traffic. SEO, therefore, is a long-term marketing strategy. On the flipside, if you need immediate exposure in search engines, even above the organic results, PPC is the potion. An ideal strategy, therefore, is a sensitive blend of both the methodologies with strategic distribution of your marketing budget.
What’s your take on SEO and PPC? Comments and questions, welcome! Should you wish to learn more about the methodologies, feel free to contact us for a no-commitment expert consultation.