According to a recent Netcraft Web Server Survey, there are approximately 1.8 billion active websites online. Of course, that number changes all the time because the internet is consistently growing and evolving. What is important to note is that Google processes about 3.5 billion searches every day. Research shows that almost 95% of this traffic only goes to websites that appear on the first page of Google’s results page. The first page of Google’s SERP (search engine results page) only holds about ten websites.
Now ask yourself, is your website popular enough to beat almost 1.8 billion other websites to appear on the first page of Google’s search engine results? If not, how can you change that?
One way to do so is to carry out extensive Search Engine Marketing which involves the use of SEO and PPC.
What’s the Difference Between SEO and PPC?
Simply put, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves all the steps you take to increase the amount of relevant traffic flowing through to your website from Google. It is all the things you do to ensure that your ranking improves and that your website appears on the first page of SERPs for your chosen keywords.
While there are very many different tactics you can employ such as social media marketing, traditionally, search engine marketing consists of two main processes:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising)
So what is the main difference between the two?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
To understand SEO and how important it is, you only have to look back at the last time you searched a major search engine such as Google. As soon as you typed in your search terms (often referred to as keywords), Google spits out a host of results that its algorithm deemed relevant to your query. What Google was trying to do was to direct you toward websites that best answer your query. It was, therefore, directing your traffic toward those websites. That traffic is referred to as organic or natural traffic, and websites that best answer user questions on Google get over 95% of it on a daily basis.
For Google to determine whether or not your website is good enough to be ranked on the first page of its SERP and direct all that organic traffic to you, your website needs to meet certain criteria set forth by Google algorithms. Mostly it has things to do with:
- Keyword relevancy
- Useful content
- Clean web designs
- Extensive link building and so on
There are about 200 other factors on that list, and all of them fall under SEO. As the name suggests, search engine optimization are all the things you do to make your website appealing to Google SERP bots.
NOTE: Organic search results are generally regarded as more credible than paid clicks.
To understand PPC, you will also need to think of the last time you searched Google. Apart from the long list of relevant websites, there were other results alongside or on top of that list that was probably labeled as “adverts” or “sponsored results.” Either that or as you went to different websites, you kept running into pop-up ads promising to tell you more about whatever you searched for in the beginning.
These are PPC adverts. As a website owner looking to gain more traffic through paid advertising, you would have to bid on specific relevant keywords, but you only pay whenever someone clicks on your advert. The more competitive your keyword, the more you will have to pay per click. This is a more expensive way to gain traffic, and that is why you need to be very careful when crafting your ad-copy to ensure that you get more quality clicks (people who will buy or subscribe to your newsletter) as opposed to quantity clicks of people who are just browsing. You will pay for both.
Which Does Your Website Need: SEO or PPC?
There is a school of thought that says you need both but more of SEO than PPC. It is all about your desired results and the time you want to give it:
- It takes time. You could be waiting months, even years for your keywords to rank high on Google.
- It costs money. Excellent SEO services are offered by professional outfits, and it costs quite a bit.
The thing about it is that as long as it is done right the first time, SEO is an investment that is virtually evergreen and will keep on sending you natural traffic for the life of the website.
- It doesn’t take as much time. A well-structured PPC campaign could be up and running within hours and show you almost immediate results. If you craft the copy well and choose competitive keywords (these will be a bit more expensive per click), you will almost certainly get more traffic as soon as your ads go up.
- It costs money. Just like SEO, excellent PPC campaigns cost money. The best part is that you can determine how much you want to pay for each campaign so you do not blow your budget and you can decide to stop and continue the campaign as you see fit. All these decisions affect your traffic flow.
PPC only works for as long as you are paying for it. Once you stop, the traffic increase to your website will also dry up almost instantly. However, if you craft excellent copies and landing pages that make the most of your paid clicks, then you can experience a wonderful return on your investment.
How to Make SEO and PPC Work for You
To make both SEO and PPC work for you, there has to be a balance. If you have a new website or a new offer, then you might want to consider using PPC to give it quick visibility as you work behind the scene to create effective SEO for it.
The idea is to use SEO as your long-term strategy and PPC as a quick fix for results and visibility.