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PPC vs. SEO: Why You Need Both

Category: SEO / 6 minutes to read
Author: Stephanie Heitman
Published: October 9th

PPC vs. SEO: Why You Need Both

Category: SEO / 6 minutes to read
Author: Stephanie Heitman
Published: October 9th

When you go to the effort of creating an incredible website for your business, you want to show it off. Driving traffic from search engines to your website is a great way to get your business in front of a whole new audience. But, how can you do that?

When it comes to getting seen on search engine results pages (SERPs), there are both paid and “free” options to explore. The best way to get noticed by the greatest number of consumers is to apply a joint PPC and SEO strategy. Let’s walk through the differences between PPC and SEO to understand why a solid search engine marketing strategy incorporates both.

PPC vs. SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what you want to focus on to get your site to appear in organic results. There are hundreds of elements that Google and other search engines use to determine which websites to display for each search query. That means that there are many steps you should take, both on and off your website, to strengthen your website’s visibility and give it the best shot at performing well in organic results. For more on how to get started with SEO, check out this post.

PPC (or, pay per click), on the other hand, covers paid search engine marketing. The basis of all paid advertising on search engines is creating an ad campaign, identifying the specific keywords you’d like to appear for, and then bidding on those keywords to get your ad displayed in those results.

So, the basic difference is that one is “free” (SEO – in that you’re not paying for your result to show on search results) and one is paid and targeted (PPC – in that you’re specifying an audience for your result to show to and paying for them to click on your ad).

Starting with PPC

As any marketer will tell you, a solid SEO strategy takes a long time to get up and running. It requires patience. That’s why for businesses who are just starting out or trying to gain more visibility quickly, PPC is a great place to start. In other words your SEO strategy is your long term strategy while your PPC strategy is your short term strategy.

Unlike with organic results, you get to select the keywords and phrases for which you’d like your listing to show for. This gives you more control over where you show up and which audiences are discovering your site.

PPC requires some upfront work before you can start appearing on search results. You’ll want to determine your advertising message, a landing page to direct your ad traffic to (it’s always best to have a specific landing page that relates to your text ad content rather than driving to your homepage or a random page on your website), understand exactly which keywords and phrases to focus on, and know the area you want to target. Working with a search marketing partner can help streamline this process.

Building Out Your SEO

While your PPC ads are up and running, you can focus on your SEO approach. Build a website that’s mobile-friendly and loads quickly. Create meaningful content on a regular basis to share across your social media platforms, and consider contributing as a guest blogger or podcast guest on other people’s websites to gather backlinks to your own site.

It’s impossible to undertake all of the elements of a successful SEO strategy overnight, and it takes time to build a solid SEO foundation. But, it’s worth it in the long run to have a website that search engines, and searchers, love.

Together Is Better

Once you’ve created a strong SEO strategy, that doesn’t mean there’s no longer a place for PPC in your life. Research has found that even for businesses at the top of organic results, paid ads mean more clicks.

According to that report from Bing, businesses that were running a search engine ad campaign saw a 31% increase in the number of clicks over those companies solely relying on organic techniques.

As mobile search becomes more popular, organic results are getting forced further and further down the small screen’s page. PPC gives you more real estate on the page so you have a better chance of attracting searchers to your site.

But that doesn’t mean you can discount organic results, either. In desktop or tablet search results, Google My Business listings appear on the right-hand side of search results and also impact how you appear in Google Maps results. Plus, Google often uses information pulled from websites to flesh out its rich snippets.

Additionally, you can use the data and insights you gather from one tactic to help with the other. For example, we worked with a client who started to see excellent organic traffic coming to his website from a neighboring town. He wasn’t running any advertising to target them because he didn’t think they would drive to his location. But, because he was able to see this organic traffic from a solid SEO strategy, he created an additional search marketing campaign to target searches in this area and grew his business. You might not always be able to see results like that, but if you’re working on a combined approach, there are opportunities to execute on trends that you’re seeing from your campaigns.

PPC and SEO are two separate elements of marketing, but they shouldn’t be thought of as siloed efforts. Instead, bringing SEO and PPC together is a great way to garner attention for your business. Whether you’re just getting your website off the ground or you’ve been online for decades, there’s a place for both SEO and PPC in your marketing efforts.

Give us a call to learn how LOCALiQ can help you with a paid plus organic search engine marketing campaign.

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