SEO or PPC: Which is better for lapping the competition?

Ladies and gentlemen, start your search engines.

May is race month here in Indianapolis, and I can’t think of a better way than racing to describe the importance of search marketing strategy. Having a great search strategy in today’s high-speed business world can go a long way in determining whether you’re on the lead lap of your industry – or crashing into the wall.

But what’s the best strategy for maximizing online sales? There’s ongoing debate about whether Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) delivers better return on investment.

PPC VS. SEO

Both PPC and SEO have their merits – and their share of success stories – but there are plenty of differences between the two.

PPC allows you to easily create advertisements and keywords for your business. In the case of Google, your ads display on the right side of search engine results pages as “sponsored links”. You pay a specified amount each time someone clicks on your ad.

SEO involves the natural or “organic” search results that appear in the middle part of the page when someone types in a query. There’s a credibility factor involved here. Searchers recognize that top natural search results represent the best, most relevant results that search engines can deliver.

SEO companies develop and execute customized campaigns to help deserving clients get their websites where customers can find them – on the first page of Google and Bing.

When it comes to search, if you’re not on the first results page, you’re like a tree lost in the forest; the vast majority of searchers aren’t going to find you.

Or, to return to my racing analogy, companies on the first page are like the Indy 500 leader lapping the much slower cars. Lapped cars are missing out on the substantial revenue that comes with greater online exposure.

Things to Consider:

To understand the value of SEO, it helps to think about search behavior.

Some 62 percent of searchers click on a first page result, while only 23 percent click on a second page or further back result and 15 percent try a different search or search engine, according to the DIYSEO Blog.

Think about it: When you’re searching you might know exactly what you want. You type in a specific query that gives you a very relevant and exact page of results. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might skim down the first page of results and either refine your search or – sigh – move onto the second of thousands of results pages.

PPC gives you complete control of your campaign. However, there are situations where PPC might not be effective as SEO.

Do you feel like you’re getting lapped by your competition when it comes to balancing and coordinating your PPC and SEO strategies? Or are you firing on all cylinders?

Let us know how you’re using PPC and SEO in your marketing efforts. What’s working for you? What are your sticking points?

Photo courtesy of PerformImpact.

 

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