SEO vs PPC: which is better for attracting new customers?
When you are growing an online business, one of the big questions you may have is how to attract new customers.
Many businesses who have done conventional advertising in print or other types of media have seen bigger results transferring some or all of their budget over to SEO and PPC.
It’s pretty obvious that Google is the major source of most web traffic today, with over 90% market share. For this reason, it makes sense to consider Google as your first source of potential traffic for new customers.
Should a business start with SEO or PPC?
This a big question, but the simple answer is to build your site around SEO (intent, keywords, usefulness) and then attract initial attention to your site through PPC ads. Over the long term, a quality website with good SEO will begin to attract more organic traffic, which means you can lower the amount of advertising needed.
To go a little deeper, let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages of PPC vs. SEO:
Why do businesses use Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
Google first introduced pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) in 2002, which enabled advertisers to pay for the single clicks on ads placed on the right side of Google. PPC was an ideal type of advertising, as it meant that businesses were only paying for those that were potentially interested in the service. This was indeed an innovation, as before PPC it was difficult to track how many people were acting on advertisements.
Advantage of PPC: It creates a quick method for attracting interest. PPC gives new businesses the chance to feature directly alongside more established companies in the same market.
Disdvantage of PPC: you have to keep paying to keep showing up. You need to continually budget for advertising to make sales. On top of this, other competitors may outbid you on popular keywords and raise the cost of the advertising (very common in competitive industries).
How does SEO help grow online sales?
When your business has a high ranking site on Google, it shows to your potential visitors that you are trusted. You have earned that ranking through many people clicking and finding your website valuable. This trust often shortcuts the buying cycle. The ultimate goal of any website should be to have several pages ranking highly for the keywords that are relevant to your customers.
Advantage of SEO: organic rankings are more trusted than Ads and many consumers today can become ‘blind’ to the advertisements at the top of Google. The first spot of any SERP (search engine results page) will gain about 33% of all attention, the second spot will get 15% and the third will get 9%. This statistic shows the value of investing in SEO as a long-term strategy.
Disadvantage of SEO: it takes time and effort. You can’t just put together a site in a few hours and hope that it will rank. It takes time, consideration and continual effort to keep growing. With the rise of content marketing and search intents, this is even more important. Investing in a clear SEO and content strategy is a different type of cost, which can take time to show results.
Renting vs. Buying: it’s all about what matters to you
Perhaps the best way to think about SEO vs. PPC is to compare it to real estate. There are short-term benefits to renting a nice home, but there are also long-term benefits to owning a piece of real estate.
SEO is like owning a property that was bought several years ago that is gaining value. It takes time and upfront investment. You might feel like you are at a disadvantage for quite a while. However, eventually, the value grows.
PPC is like renting and snagging a great place to live immediately. However, the cost is continual, and if you don’t pay, you can’t stay.
Knowing this at the start can help you to build a better SEO and PPC strategy.
As an SEO and PPC agency, we have helped many businesses to launch new products and to grow sales. We are here to help you decide which strategy works best for your company.