Search Engine Optimization vs. Pay-Per-Click Advertising

When it comes to online marketing, there are two strategies that are most effective and are most popular to use: organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Let me give you a brief definition of each method to help you in your assessment:

What is search engine optimization?

According to Wikipedia:

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website or a web page from search engines via “natural” or unpaid (organic or algorithmic) search results.”

So in SEO, you want your website to display certain keywords or phrases that are relevant to your niche or business so that when somebody is searching for those keywords on search engines such as Google, MSN, and Yahoo, your website will be on top of the search engine results page (SERP).

What is pay-per-click advertising?

In pay-per-click advertising, web advertisers are basically buying their way to the top of the search engine results pages.

Here’s a quick definition from Wikipedia:

“Pay-per-click (PPC) is an Internet advertising model used on websites, in which advertisers only pay their host when their ad is clicked. PPC advertising services include Overture and Google AdWords. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. Content sites commonly charge a fixed price per click rather than use a bidding system.”

Both SEO and PPC have been proven to help websites earn web visibility, but how do we know which one is best to use? Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of each method to help us choose which one is the best for our company.

Cost

The SEO method is basically free of charge. Search engines do not care about the size of your company. A low-budget website can still find its way to the top of the search engine results page as long as it’s targeting the right keywords that are relevant to the search engine query. You don’t have to pay anything for your keywords to score high in the SERPs. Of course, you have to eventually pay employees if you are outsourcing, but the long-term benefits of SEO definitely pays off.

PPC advertising, on the other hand, often requires a sizeable amount of investment, especially if you are looking at long-term results. Every click that you get for your text ad will cost you around $0.05 for a regular keyword and as high as $60 if you’re targeting a top keyword. One month of investing in PPC advertising will cost you hundreds or a few thousands of dollars. The sad thing about this is that not all clicks will help you generate sales – some people just click by accident and some will just click your ads out of curiosity.

According to Dynamic Digital Advertising (DDA), keyword costs for PPC ads increase by at least 20% a year. One survey stated that 57% of their respondents aren’t too happy about what they are paying for their keywords and keyword phrases.

According to NewsWriter.us, “if a webmaster doesn’t combine PPC advertising with highly persuasive copy, then he may be paying more for his advertising than he may be earning from the traffic.”

Click-Through and Conversion Rates

Several studies show that there is more chance of people clicking on organic search engine optimization rather than on PPC ads. Research say that only 30% of search engine users click on paid listings, as opposed to 70% who prefer clicking on organic listings. More studies say that people find information they were searching through paid links only 40% of the time. This just demonstrates how SEO is a more effective marketing strategy compared to PPC ads.

Furthermore, according to DDA, organic search engine optimization presents a greater opportunity for converting traffic into customers since this method offers more potential targeted traffic. Organic click-through rates are three times higher compared to paid listings or PPC ads. The conversion rate is also 17% higher than paid listings.

Reliability and Relevance

When it comes to reliability, organic SEO results weigh much heavier than paid results. In fact, paid results irritate some searchers every so often.

According to Scott Buresh of Search Engine Guide, “only 14 percent of searchers trust paid listings and 29 percent report being ‘annoyed’ by them.” In another study, it was determined that 66 percent of customers don’t trust paid ads.

“Users also have rated organic search engine results as more relevant than paid results. On Google, 72.3 percent felt that organic results were more relevant, while only 27.7 percent rated paid results as more relevant. Yahoo offered similar results, with 60.8 calling organic results relevant compared to only 39.2 percent for paid.”

Immediate Results

The good thing about PPC advertising is that it draws immediate traffic to your website. This is opposed to using SEO wherein you won’t get much traffic from the search engines like Google during the first few months. So if you’re looking forward to get your website link at the top of the search engines right away, better start working with Yahoo’s Overture and Google Adwords.

Long Term Results

Okay, so you’ll be happy with PPC advertising, at least for the first few months – while your money still lasts. But once you run out of budget, the high search engine rankings also end as well. And this is the sad fact about PPC advertising…everything just depends on the money.

The good news is that there is SEO, and this will give you more lasting results. According to Buresh, “in search engine optimization, the optimized site content and other changes made to your site can have an impact on your search results until the next change in a search engine’s algorithm, or possibly even beyond.”

My Conclusion

Based on the factors mentioned above, we can see that SEO definitely has an advantage over pay-per-click advertising. However, we still cannot dismiss the fact that there are some cases where the PPC method is more effective than SEO. In my opinion, combining the two still works best, but if you’re limited by budgetary constraints, of course you have to focus on only one strategy to be more effective. It’s just a matter of choosing the right method at the right time.

Content Marketing Price Quote

Which of the following services are you interested in?

Content Marketing Price Quote

How will the product or service be marketed?

Content Marketing Price Quote

How soon will the project begin?

Content Marketing Price Quote

How long will the project be running for?

Content Marketing Price Quote

What is your business website URL?

Enter Website URL Below:

*Optional*

Content Marketing Price Quote

Do you have any additional details?

Optional - but the more details you provide, the better.

Content Marketing Price Quote

Great! We've got your price quote ready and available.

Click 'continue' to get your quote.

Content Marketing Price Quote

What email address would you like the quotes sent to?

Content Marketing Price Quote

What is your phone number?

In case we need clarification.

Content Marketing Price Quote

One last thing...

Please tell us your first name:

Content Marketing Price Quote

Excellent! We received your quote request. We will review your information and send your quote promptly.

Video Marketing Price Quote

Which industry does your business operate in?

Video Marketing Price Quote

What level of video marketing interests you?

Video Marketing Price Quote

What type of video marketing are you interested in?

Video Marketing Price Quote

When do you want video marketing to begin?

Video Marketing Price Quote

When do you need this service completed?

Video Marketing Price Quote

What is your business website URL?

Enter Website URL Below:

*optional*

Video Marketing Price Quote

Do you have any additional details?

Optional - but the more details you provide, the better.

Video Marketing Price Quote

Great! We've got your price quote ready and available.

Click 'continue' to get your quote.

Video Marketing Price Quote

What email address would you like the quotes sent to?

Video Marketing Price Quote

What is your phone number?

In case we need clarification.

Video Marketing Price Quote

One last thing...

Please tell us your first name:

Video Marketing Price Quote

Excellent! We received your quote request. We will review your information and send your quote promptly.

Graphic Design Price Quote

Is this a business or personal requirement?

Graphic Design Price Quote

How often do you need design services?

Graphic Design Price Quote

When do you need the design by?

Graphic Design Price Quote

Which of the following do you need graphic design for?

Graphic Design Price Quote

What is your business website URL?

Enter Website URL Below:

*optional

Graphic Design Price Quote

Do you have any additional details?

Optional - but the more details you provide, the better.

Graphic Design Price Quote

Great! We've got your price quote ready and available.

Click 'continue' to get your quote.

Graphic Design Price Quote

What email address would you like the quotes sent to?

Graphic Design Price Quote

What is your phone number?

In case we need clarification.

Graphic Design Price Quote

One last thing...

Please tell us your first name:

Graphic Design Price Quote

Excellent! We received your quote request. We will review your information and send your quote promptly.

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

What type of business needs the service?

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

Which SEO Service is Your TOP Priority?

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

What is your approximate monthly budget?

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

When do you want the work to begin?

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

What is your business name or website URL?

Enter Below:

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

Do you have any additional details?

Optional - but the more details you provide, the better.

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

Great! We've got your price quote ready and available.

Click 'continue' to get your quote.

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

What email address would you like the quotes sent to?

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

What is your phone number?

In case we need clarification.

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

One last thing...

Please tell us your first name:

Core SEO Marketing Price Quote

Excellent! We received your quote request. We will review your information and send your quote promptly.

Social Marketing Price Quote

What social media channels do you wish to use?

Social Marketing Price Quote

What are your goals?

Social Marketing Price Quote

How soon would you like the project to begin?

Social Marketing Price Quote

What is your approximate monthly budget?

Social Marketing Price Quote

Which of these are you looking to do?

Social Marketing Price Quote

What is your business website URL?

Enter Website URL Below:

*optional

Social Marketing Price Quote

Do you have any additional details?

Optional - but the more details you provide, the better.

Social Marketing Price Quote

Great! We've got your price quote ready and available.

Click 'continue' to get your quote.

Social Marketing Price Quote

What email address would you like the quotes sent to?

Social Marketing Price Quote

What is your phone number?

In case we need clarification.

Social Marketing Price Quote

One last thing...

Please tell us your first name:

Social Marketing Price Quote

Excellent! We received your quote request. We will review your information and send your quote promptly.

Website Design Price Quote

What type of website is it?

Website Design Price Quote

Which of these best describes your Web Design requirement?

Website Design Price Quote

What are the objectives of your website?

Website Design Price Quote

How soon would you like the project to begin?

Website Design Price Quote

What is the deadline for this project?

Website Design Price Quote

What platform is your current website built on?

Website Design Price Quote

What is your business name or website URL?

Enter Below:

Website Design Price Quote

Do you have any additional details?

Optional - but the more details you provide, the better.

Website Design Price Quote

Great! We've got your price quote ready and available.

Click 'continue' to get your quote.

Website Design Price Quote

What email address would you like the quotes sent to?

Website Design Price Quote

What is your phone number?

In case we need clarification.

Website Design Price Quote

One last thing...

Please tell us your first name:

Website Design Price Quote

Excellent! We received your quote request. We will review your information and send your quote promptly.

FREE Website "Report Card"

What is your business website URL?

Enter Below:

FREE Website "Report Card"

Great! We've got your report card ready and available.

Click 'continue' to get your report.

FREE Website "Report Card"

What email address would you like the report sent to?

FREE Website "Report Card"

What is your phone number?

In case we have questions.

FREE Website "Report Card"

One last thing...

Please tell us your first name:

FREE Website "Report Card"

Excellent! We received your report card request. We will personally review your website and send your results promptly.