Small businesses from a multitude of industries will most likely be familiar with the terms SEO and PPC. But for those less-initiated, let’s just cover the basics first. Then we’ll get in to the differences between the two, and make some suggestions based on your circumstances.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In a nutshell, it is the combined activities that help to improve the organic search engine rankings for a website. There are a multitude of activities that can help to improve where a website sits in a Google search result for a given keyword or phrase, and we’ve got more details about those activities in a previous blog post, The Basics of SEO.
The reason spending time on SEO activities is important is because there is a correlation between higher search results and enquiries for your services, or direct sales, depending on your business model. Large businesses spend millions of pounds on SEO activities to help push them further up a Google search ranking because it can directly impact on their bottom line.
Do I need to spend time and money on SEO?
If you’re a small business, you probably don’t have millions of pounds to spend on SEO campaigns. Therefore, spending time on the most valuable activities, and becoming familiar with good SEO practices can give you an advantage over your competition. If you’re able to manage your website yourself, you can create your own SEO campaign.
SEO should be thought of as a long-term project to help improve your search engine rankings and your website user experience. Good search engine rankings alone won’t help increase revenue in your business. Your website should have a good user experience and make it easy for your website users to do business with you.
What is PPC?
PPC means Pay Per Click. If you’ve ever searched for something on Google, you may have seen a small green box to the left of the first few search results with the word “Ad”. PPC is a paid advert placement on a Google search result. It is one of Google’s primary sources of income. It can also be a very cost-effective way of generating leads and sales, if used correctly.
One of the primary challenges with PPC is the complexity of setting it up. Whilst it’s not rocket science, it does need a good understanding of the terminology involved, and it takes time and patience to optimise. That is why companies like ours offer PPC services, because we have the skill and knowledge to help small businesses optimise their PPC campaigns.
Why use PPC?
The primary advantage of running a PPC campaign is that it offers fairly immediate results. As long as you are able to identify the keywords that are relevant to your business, it is possible to set up a PPC campaign and generate traffic to your website, and subsequently sales leads, almost immediately. The drawback of a PPC campaign is that it can be costly – especially in competitive industries. It is not uncommon for companies to spend upwards of £100 per click through to their website. That £100 for a click might not even generate a lead. That is an extreme example. In some cases, you might only be spending £0.50 per click.
A PPC campaign is most effective when it has a very specific end-goal. Don’t use a PPC campaign to drive generic traffic to your website. The chances are that people are searching for a very specific thing – so gear your PPC campaign around very specific things. For example, use a PPC campaign to generate clicks through to your website for “petrol sit-on lawnmowers”, rather than just “lawnmowers”. If someone clicks through to your website for “petrol sit-on lawnmowers” they are probably interested in that very specific product. Which brings us on the the final point.
PPC Campaigns should have optimised landing pages. That means if someone searches for “petrol sit-on lawnmowers” you should use a web page in your PPC campaign that is all about petrol sit-on lawnmowers. Don’t provide them with a link to your homepage. That is an easy way to waste your PPC budget.
Summary: SEO vs PPC
We hopefully now understand what SEO is and what PPC is. So, which is right for your business? Well, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. They are equally valuable marketing strategies that can help generate more business leads. SEO is a longer-term project, with a typical aspiration of getting your business further up organic search rankings for a number of keyword phrases on a Google search. It’s important for businesses to ensure they have great web design, a website that is mobile-friendly and ready for search and that there is plenty of good content such as blogs.
I would advise businesses use PPC for very specific marketing campaigns. Your knowledge and expertise in your industry will give you some insight on which products or services it might be worth running PPC campaigns for. If you are going to run a PPC campaign, make sure you have a very specific landing page created so that you make it easy for your visitors to take the next step – whether that is to fill in a contact form or purchase a product from you.
We can help you!
If you’re getting stuck with all this digital marketing stuff, feel free to give me a call on 01604 419776 and we can talk about your business, how you generate leads at the moment and how digital marketing strategies can help you win more business.
Author: Tom Jullings
I work with clients to improve the digital marketing experience they present to their customers – from web design and SEO to outreach marketing and social media.
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