SEO vs. PPC. Which is best for my Small Business?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process by which a business will optimize their site in order to naturally improve their ranking high in the organic results. This requires a long term perspective with consistent short term executions. PPC (Pay-Per-Click, the Sponsored Links and purchased ads on a Google search) on the other hand is an online advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when an ad is clicked.

So, which one to choose?

When you truly understand your target market then you can begin to engage with them. Sometimes your customers are motivated by external factors ( lack of money, pressure from superiors, etc.) and others times they may be motivated by internal factors ( self-ambition, notoriety, philanthropy, etc.). You must also segment and differentiate your target audience. This will help you create and craft content that is relevant and helpful to them.

Done correctly, both can get you on the front page of the search engines for targeted terms and in front of your desired audience. However, each has its respective benefits and costs. Let’s put this into a context you may be familiar with. Traditionally, news articles or “non-paid” advertising (i.e word of mouth) has a higher credibility factor associated with it. While news articles such as advertorials and paid advertising have a lower credibility factor.

For example, a recent article by SEOMoz details that organic results are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on than paid search results! That's a large disparity and is likely attributed to searchers gradually learning the difference between organic and sponsored results, and recognizing that organic results are typically the more respected resource. Now, it’s not all bad for PPC because the same article noted that PPC holds a slight edge in conversion rates, as paid search results are 1.5x more likely to convert click thru's from the search engines. Why? because a paid search results in "text and landing pages that are custom optimized by the advertiser."

So, what can we conclude from this? Simple, each one has it’s role in a comprehensive Digital Marketing plan. For example when you're first launching your company, PPC is a great way to get your name out there and build brand awareness quickly. It’s also very effective for limited time offers or special events. In addition, PPC campaigns are more effective for products than for service companies.

SEO on the other hand is most effective when it comes to the long term strategy of a Digital Marketing Strategy. You won't rank #1 overnight, but with time and consistent effort SEO is more affordable and profitable. Also keep in mind that your site SEO benefits greatly from implementing Content Marketing Strategy.

Knowing how to balance an effective SEO and PPC approach requires time and experience. Many company owners don’t have the time and resource to take on the kind of commitment and research necessary to create an effective strategy. If you consider yourself among that group, we’re here to help, please don't hesitate to contact us at or call us at 305-371-3955.

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