Before I explain the details, let’s take a look why it is important for your online business marketing. As you may know, Google, Bing and other search engines are basically how people find stuff on the web. It pulls out relevant information it thinks people might find useful. That’s millions of people looking for answers to their real-life questions every hour of every day.
So how do you find your way to the first page on search engines? There are basically two ways to do that: SEO and PPC. Both of them work, but do you need both? To really understand what the difference between SEO and PPC is, let’s take a look at them individually and see what their strengths and weaknesses would be.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
Pay per click is exactly what the name suggests. Instead of organically and gradually ranking your way toward the top of search results, you pay the search engine of your choice to place your website on the top spot instantly. Every time a user clicks on your ad or website, the search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) charges a small fee for the click. One thing to take note about, PPC search words are sold on the open market, meaning anyone can come along and take your spot if they want to pay more. Here are the top 5 keywords and their costs:
Insurance – $54.91
Loans – $44.28
Mortgage – $47.12
Attorney – $47.09
Credit – $36.06
That means every time you click search for one of these terms, that price will be charged to the company you click on, even if you leave in 5 seconds. Don’t worry if you are not one of the big key word users, you can get pinpointed keywords for as little as $0.05 each.
Far and away the best benefit of PPC is that without much effort, you can instantly put your products or services front and center in front of a large audience All you need is the right words (AdWords) and a credit card. And for fast impactful results, you’ll need a generous budget to make sure you get enough traffic. And since search engines like Google only charge you once a person clicks on your ad, you can be sure there is a high chance that the person who comes to your website will interact and hopefully purchase your product or service.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization is the art of optimizing your website with the goal that it ranks on top of the search engine result page naturally and organically. The strength in ranking your website higher through SEO lies in the fact that when your website shows up in response to a user’s query, it won’t be marked as an ad. Many web visitors know that the listing at the top of each page are paid for and choose the results below the paid ad because it is “natural & organic”. Three quarters of millennials never click on the paid ads. They feel organically ranked websites are more trusted than the paid ads
Another huge benefit of SEO is that it is a free, or extremely cheap way of making your website authoritative and ranked toward the top of the search. You know free isn’t free, you have to invest in your own time to develop quality content and efficiency on your site. Oh yeah, it never ends, Google is always tweaking the search rules and you need to keep up. A few years ago “Meta Tags” were everywhere on your site and that was the way search engines wanted it. Now if you have Meta Tags on your site without visual content corresponding to the Meta Tags they will drive down your score and your ranking on the search engines. Yes, it’s free if your time is worth nothing.
Hand in Hand
The main difference between SEO and PPC is time and money. For the short term PPC will get you results faster, but you need to develop a long term strategy for improving your website for SEO. Even better would be to use a mix of these two to get consistent traffic right from the start, using PPC to jump start the traffic coming to your website and also gradually working on your SEO efforts to maintain the flow of traffic and gradually reduce relying on expensive PPC advertising.