The hot debate in the digital marketing world still stands. Which is better: Search Engine Optimisation or Pay Per Click? Although these two types of marketing methods can (and often are) used in synergy with one another, experts tend to opt in favour of one marketing approach over the other. SEO enthusiasts will argue that a natural, organic approach boosts the Domain Authority of a website in the long run, whilst PPC wizards might maintain that paid advertising is the more efficient way to boost conversions.
So, which really is better? Search Engine Optimisation or Pay Per Click? KW Digital has pitched our internal experts against one another to nail this debate once and for all.
Why Search Engine Optimisation is important
Working in SEO is extremely fulfilling. However, it is a long game. A lot of time and effort goes into carrying out worthy SEO techniques that increase your visibility in the search engine results page (SERPs)
Something I have learned throughout my career in digital marketing is that your long-term online marketing strategy should always include Search Engine Optimisation. This is due to the fact that having your site return in the organic search results can influence your perceived credibility with an audience looking for your services.
Consumers view organic results as being very trustworthy, therefore a lack of organic presence could massively impact your authority within the search results.
How does Search Engine Optimisation work?
In the beginning, the creators of search engines manufactured a way to index the pages on the internet, in doing this they sought to provide quality sites in response to a query. The idea was that the more times a site was linked back to, the more trustworthy the site was, and therefore the higher in the rankings it should appear. Algorithms were established to automate this process and, consequently, websites such as Google were born. However, over time people took advantage of this process and manipulated the system. Therefore, in this day and age, lots of emphasis is also put on quality of content, website upkeep and reputation.
So, Search Engine Optimisation works by you pleasing the bots that crawl your website in order to rank highly in the SERPs. The bots will crawl and index pages on your website. If you fulfil the needs of the bot by adhering to what it determines as quality content and website upkeep, you will rank higher in the SERP’s.
Search Engine Optimisation tips and tricks
There are an endless amount of SEO tips and tricks that can help you to create quality content while sustaining a user friendly website and pleasing crawl bots all at the same time. However, here we have listed 10 top tips and tricks to get you underway:
- Thoroughly research and incorporate keywords into your content.
- Utilise meta data correctly and include relevant keywords.
- Optimise images correctly. Always create alt-tags and give your image a relevant file name.
- Use search engine friendly URLs. Try not to make them too long or use lots of unnecessary symbols/characters.
- Use internal linking when possible and appropriate.
- Research the target audience and create the site content appropriately.
- Keep the content up-to-date. Visitors don’t like outdated content. Updating the content frequently also attracts the search engine’s crawl bots to index the web pages frequently.
- Ensure that your website is optimised for mobile.
- Create a local identity. “50% mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results.” – Business2community.com
- Make sure you are speaking Google’s language. Utilise everything Google offers and adhere to their standards.
Why Pay Per Click advertising works
Throughout my career in digital marketing, Pay Per Click advertising has become more and more advanced. Each development means the way we target our traffic and convert users into buyers, is constantly evolving. Pay Per Click works for two main reasons: targeted traffic and instant results.
Through PPC advertising, we can ensure our content is seen by the right people at the right time. Not only that, but we’re able to track our progress at every stage of the process and can finetune our strategy according to what is working well; from the relevance of the written copy that is shown to each user, to which user demographic is engaging with our advertisements and clicking through to our landing pages.
This is why Pay Per Click advertising is considered a much more scientific and targeted marketing approach that can accurately be measured. It is a revolution that has taken the marketing world by storm, as traditionally, the advertiser would need to pay a substantial fee no matter what the results, as the impact would typically be quite difficult to measure. In the digital age, this is no longer a problem.
Pay Per Click advertising works because its so agile. Advertisements that don’t convert can quickly be edited or removed and likewise, high converting ads can be just as easily replicated in order to improve results. We take learnings from each campaign to make the next one even stronger. So, there’s a better chance of improved click-through rates and, consequently, conversions.
What is Pay Per Click marketing?
Pay Per Click marketing is a way of showing targeted advertisements to users as they search or whilst they are browsing through the internet across partner sites or on social channels. The most popular search engine for users today is Google, and that means most of our PPC campaigns are optimised for Google’s algorithms.
PPC advertising also includes paid social media advertising; these are sponsored advertisements in your Facebook newsfeed, for example, or Snapchat and Instagram adverts. Display adverts are the banner images that appear in the margins of websites as you browse the internet. Often these advertisements show products that you have previously lingered over on another website. Almost as though the internet giants are stalking your every move – which in some ways, they are.
Pay Per Click marketing utilises data collated from Google that identifies what in-market segment your audience falls under and what affinities they have. Google measures this by examining the types of websites people browse, what articles they read, what apps they use and the brands they are interested in. Google collates this data in various ways, one of which is using cookies.
Websites today have a legal requirement to warn you about cookies, so you may have seen messages like the one shown below, that informs you that your browser data will be recorded during your time on the website. This is how PPC marketing works to put the desired content in front of the desired audience.
What are Pay Per Click ads?
Pay Per Click ads on a Google search results page are becoming more and more difficult to distinguish from any other organic website listing. They always top and tail the organic listings and generally take up the first two to four positions above the fold. Pay Per Click adverts on Google are marked with a small ‘AD’ marker and will usually have a clear call to action below the written copy.
The example below shows four PPC adverts listed on Google, optimised for the search term ‘ladies jacket’. Ads now use pipes which make adverts look even more similar to organic listings.
What does Pay Per Click cost?
PPC marketing can cost as much or as little as you like, so if you’re wondering what Pay Per Click costs, there really is no right or wrong answer. We find that campaigns with a balance of high spend and a wide audience have the most profitable result, because there are more eggs in a higher-quality basket. A narrow spend with very narrow targeting wil, can in some cases not return the results you are looking for, but for certain industries, this can be the most profitable way to advertise. What Pay Per Click costs really boils down to is how much you are prepared to invest, not only financially, but through time dedicated to fine-tuning your marketing campaign.
Also, when considering the cost of your PPC campaign, always take the Return On Investment into consideration. If your campaigns have a good ROI, and they’re more than paying for their own use, then the cost of your overall campaign matters much less.
So who fared better? SEO or PPC?
In truth, Search Engine Optimisation and Pay Per Click marketing strategies are both valuable elements of any online business. SEO is a vital requirement for the longevity of your business. By maintaining SEO best practice both on-page and off-page, as well as generating new content for your users and building your backlinking profile, your website visibility and authority will only continue to strengthen. Search Engine Optimisation should be your omnipresent marketing tool. Use this technique correctly and you will futureproof your business.
Pay Per Click advertising is a more instant results-driver. This is a great marketing tool when you really need to see results quickly for an advertising campaign. For Ecommerce, PPC is a strong way to advertise. If you need to drive traffic to a particular product, perhaps to shift stock before a seasonal change-over, or to improve the conversion of an underselling item, PPC is the best way to drive traffic and increase conversions. From our experience, businesses with a strongly synergetic marketing strategy, using both SEO and PPC, are the strongest performers against the competition.
If you’d like to find out more Search Engine Optimisation tips and tricks or for your free website audit, contact KW Digital today on 01704 898951.