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James Perrin

SEO Vs PPC: Which is more Effective at Driving Traffic?

26th Oct 2011 Paid Search, SEO | 10 Comments


TrafficFor years businesses have used the Internet as a platform to market themselves. They have continuously looked to drive and convert traffic using a variety of different marketing methods.

The marketing tool that any business chooses to employ needs to be specific to their needs and overall goal. So for any business owner who may not be well versed in Internet marketing, the decision to choose the most effective strategy can be quite a difficult one, but it needn’t be.

That’s because traditionally there are two very effective ways of driving traffic to any site, SEO and PPC. Search Engine Optimisation is the process of optimising web pages to enhance their position for specific keywords within search engines. Pay per Click is when your business appears in the advertised search results, and thus they would literally pay for every time someone clicks on their advertised listing.

SEO is a fantastic long term strategy

Making your website appear more prominently in the search engines is becoming more and more of a goal for businesses, but this method takes time [See: How Long Before I Get Results From My SEO Campaign?] The surprising thing is that SEO actually provides approximately 75% of your search traffic, yet businesses actually spend relatively little on SEO in their online marketing budget.

There are many factors that are considered when ranking a website, and anyone in SEO will tell you that this list is ever changing, especially when search engines update their algorithms. For the most updated list, SEOMoz provide a thorough analysis of search engine ranking factors.

SEO provides a constant source of traffic, but this method is very competitive and rankings are never guaranteed. This way you’ll need to invest a lot of time and money into getting your website to rank on page one. Therefore, you need to consider your budget and how much you’re willing to spend.

To get visitors to visit your site stay for longer and actually return directly to your site, then SEO is the method of choice. So whilst you can certainly target specific pages to promote a specific product or service, you also want to target your Home page; allowing users to see all of the services and products on offer and letting them navigate accordingly.

Therefore, whatever type of site you have, you’ll benefit from an increase in traffic over time with an SEO strategy. Fewer and fewer people are searching beyond page one or two in search results, so SEO is definitely worth pursuing, especially if you have the time and money to do so effectively.

PPC produces instantaneous results

If your website has a specific product or service that you’re looking to promote, let’s say if it’s just been launched, then using PPC is the most effective method. This is especially true for e-commerce sites. You can track the user’s journey from when they’ve clicked on the listing yielded from the search results, with the aim that they convert and actually make a purchase.

Whilst PPC actually yields less than approximately 25% of your search traffic, it is in fact where most of any businesses online marketing budget is spent. Why? Well because it is so easy for a business to set up an account, the hard part is actually making it work for you, and this is often the common misconception with PPC.

If you don’t manage your campaigns correctly, this method can get quote costly. This is because you may be targeting the wrong type of keyword with the wrong match type. Here is a an excellent PPC advertising video guide for beginners thanks to @Koozai_Sam, whilst @Koozai_Alec has written a fantastic post of match types and the most effective way to use PPC [See: Keywords, Match Types and Triangulation for AdWords].

Therefore, for this marketing strategy to be most effective it is so crucial that you understand how to manage your campaigns properly. This is especially true if you’re a small to medium sized business trying to compete with those who have larger budgets.

Combine the two methods

In actual fact both strategies can actually aid each other. PPC is fantastic at driving traffic to visit a product page, but SEO will actually make visitors stay that little bit longer. If you have the right type of content and the right type of keywords in your content then you’ll attract far more loyal visitors that’ll keep returning over time.

Relying on a single method isn’t uncommon, and for many businesses they choose the one that best suits their needs, budget or capabilities, but for e-commerce sites in particular having presence in both the paid listings and organic listings will boost your Click through Rate immensely.

Finally it is worth mentioning that there are many other online marketing methods to consider including social media marketing, local search and even news. In terms of search engine marketing, the Holy Grail is to utilise both methods, but for instant traffic choose PPC and for a more sustained and loyal traffic then choose SEO.

Learn about our Pay Per Click Management Services.

Image Source

Traffic light via BigStock

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James Perrin About the author

James Perrin

Content Marketing Manager, James Perrin is a regular contributor to the Koozai blog. Well experienced in sales and marketing, James also has a passion for journalism and media, especially new media. From the latest industry related new stories to copywriting advice, James will provide you with plenty of digital marketing information.

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