The most straightforward answer to this question would be – both.
However, if you have a limited marketing budget, and you simply can’t afford both, here are a few facts about both search engine optimization, and pay per click advertising, that might help you make your decision.
Pay per Click Advertising: Some Facts
There is one very important thing to keep in mind about PPC – your ad will only run for as long as you keep investing, and once you stop, the traffic from that source will stop as well.
Don’t take that to mean that there is no point to PPC, and that it needs to be an extremely expensive investment.
PPC is great for raising brand awareness and letting people know what kind of services you offer, especially when you are just starting out. It is also great for marketing certain sales, discounts, or any other special offers you are currently running.
Unlike SEO, PPC can get you to the top of the search results page in just a couple of days – for certain keywords at least. If you choose your keywords right, you can see significant traffic coming in, and this can in turn boost sales, and increase your marketing budget as well.
However, there are keywords which can cost quite a pretty penny, which you shouldn’t even try to compete for, but that you can still take advantage of – broaden them, spin them, and see where you can bid that is related, has a high-ish search volume, and can get you results.
Bear in mind that the search engine is looking for quality over anything else – so if your ad is better written and better suited to a certain query, it will pop up above an ad that is willing to spend more money.
Another major pro of PPC is the fact that you can easily track your traffic sources, ROI, and easily tweak your campaign as you learn more about the way people are responding to it. Running it for even a single day can provide enough information to realign your keywords, perhaps even your target audience, and start a better campaign the next day.
One statistic to speak in favor of PPC is that it is 1.5 times more likely to convert clicks – which is not a small number at all.
However, PPC campaigns do need to be run by experts – or you need to learn as much about it as you can, to make sure you set up your campaign right. It takes a lot of experience and knowledge to interpret results, so make sure you don’t go for the cheapest services offered – hire a reliable PPC expert to run your ads, especially if it’s your first campaign.
Search Engine Optimization: More Facts
There is much more to SEO than building links – and while link building and guest posting is still the most popular (and arguably the most useful) tactic you can use, there is much more you can do SEO-wise to boost your rankings, conversions, and revenue than build a link or two.
On-page optimization is equally (if not more) important – if it’s not in place properly, your links won’t make that much of a difference.
The thing about SEO is that there are countless tactics to employ, and depending on the website in question, certain ones can benefit you more than others.
If you are a local business, a Google My Business account and a few local directory listings can put you on the map, and you can build on that. If you are very niche-specific, links from the key websites in that niche can also give you a significant boost. Your blog can be an endless source of resources and used to drive continuous traffic through content marketing. And so on.
What makes SEO different from PPC is the fact it is above all else – a long-term tactic. It will take some time for your efforts to start paying off, but once they do, they will never stop. And you can always build on what you already have.
In fact – organic results are 8.5 times more likely to be clicked on that paid search results – and this is even a higher and much more staggering number that the above-mentioned one. People still trust organic search, and they trust the search engine.
As search engine algorithms are getting smarter, SEO will also need to change – and for the better, we all hope. This means the value will become even more important – and you don’t even need to be an SEO wizard to provide it.
The Final Verdict
Finally – what answer are we arriving at? Who will come out as the winner of this never-ending debate? As so many of my predecessors tackling the subject, I will also have to say: depending on your goals and budget, either or both can work. You simply need to do some research, put your goals down on paper, and figure out what you want to achieve. Then you will know where to direct your marketing resources.