I have a new client that has come to me with a website that is under performing. Where should she put her scarce resources – into search engine optimisation (SEO), or pay per click advertising (PPC)?
Her objective: she needs clients now. But she also wants to grow her business over the medium term.
SEO and PPC have their relative strengths, and as always this is a case of weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
I’d recommend she kicks off with PPC:
- it’s immediate: she’ll instantly start ranking well in the search engine results
- it’s a great learning tool: she’ll have evidence of specific phrases that are working well for her business, and she can use these phrases to guide her SEO strategy
- it’s measurable: she can track which clicks have converted to enquiries
- it’s flexible: she can tweak her ads, turn them on, turn them off, test and learn
- it’s dynamic: she can test phrases that she doesn’t have time to incorporate into her website
But of course, there are drawbacks to PPC:
- it’s expensive: she’ll need relatively deep pockets to compete in her market space
- it’s ephemeral: turn off the ads, then her rankings disappear in a puff of smoke
- it’s advertising: how many of you actually click on the little ads on the right in Google?
- it’s subject to click fraud: (ed: allegedly subject to click fraud)
And we are working on her SEO campaign in tandem with her PPC, and I’m confident it will all workout well.
The benefits of SEO:
- After initial investment, the dividends in improved rankings are virtually free
- Searchers trust the organic results more than the paid-for ones
- Creating SEO friendly content delivers the additional benefit of human-friendly content, indeed also should be more accessible content
And the drawbacks of SEO:
- It’s a lot of work. And I mean a whole lotta work
- If you have an existing site, it could mean a significant rebuild which costs time and money
- There are no such thing as a guarantee. All your work may lead to disappointing results if you operate in a highly competitive market.
It’s all a matter of balance to meet her business objectives.