Clients who are new to digital marketing are always asking us whether they should buy Google Ads or invest in search engine optimization (SEO). It’s a fair question, and if you are a small business with a very tight marketing budget, then it’s probably a question that you ask yourself all the time. That’s why you’re here.
So let’s take a look at the benefits and limitations of SEO and compare them with the pros and cons of PPC ads and try to lay to rest once and for all the question of which of these is the better choice for your business.
How SEO Helps Your Blog Get More Traffic
Small businesses have been getting free traffic from search engines for close to two decades now, and it’s hard to put a number on the value that this free organic search traffic has given them.
Effective optimization helps your business in many ways, but here are three major benefits of SEO for your business.
1. Potentially Huge ROI Over Time
To begin with, SEO costs you nothing more than the time and effort that you put into it by researching keywords, creating content, optimizing your website design and getting backlinks. Granted, you are running a business, so time is money. So even SEO has its costs.
But the cost of SEO is generally much lower than other types of marketing such as social media marketing (SMM), pay per click advertising (PPC), billboards, television and radio ads – even when you outsource your SEO campaigns to an agency.
Once you start to get traction and rank higher in the search results, your traffic levels can begin to snowball and bring in leads and sales faster than you ever imagined. But with PPC ads, once you stop pouring money into the ad campaigns, the traffic stops immediately.
So this can be a huge advantage for those businesses who invest steadily in SEO and content creation.
2. Can Deliver Results for Years to Come
Not only can SEO give you a phenomenal ROI, but it can deliver free traffic to your website for years and years to come. In fact, once Google trusts your website as an authoritative resource for its readers, you will start ranking for tons of keywords that you never intended to target with your content marketing campaigns.
The key to getting long-lasting results with SEO is to provide high-quality evergreen content that thoroughly covers topics your audience will be searching for several years from now.
3. Builds Your Brand Reputation and Reach
Effective white hat SEO, which is based on time-tested principles that are in alignment with Google’s guidelines for webmasters, isn’t just intended for search engines. The best SEO strategies are actually made for humans who read your content rather than Google bots that crawl your web pages.
Your SEO efforts should provide real value to your readers.
Your backlinking strategies should land you guest posts on top blogs and help you build real trust with influencers in your industry. When you create content for people – and this includes people who read other websites and not just your own – your brand reputation grows right along with your blog traffic. This is the best way to build a truly successful business online.
How Google Ads Helps You Get More Customers
So now that we’ve sung the praises of SEO and have hopefully convinced you of its enormous value for your business, let’s take a look at PPC advertising. Here are three awesome ways that Google Ads can help your business.
1. Can Deliver Fast Results
If you just started using SEO to get traffic to your site, then you already know that the results can be a little bit frustrating in the beginning. It can literally take half a year or more of steady work before you start to see any significant results from your SEO campaigns. In some very competitive industries, it can even take years before the traffic really starts coming in massive quantities.
When you launch a PPC ad campaign, you can actually start getting traffic, leads and even sales within your first 24 hours. Your results will depend on many factors, and you might need to tweak your ads and test many different elements of those ads before you find the right combination. But the results generally start to come in a lot faster than those generated by SEO.
Not only this, but you get feedback much faster. When you change a headline or an image in one of your ads, you can see very quickly whether or not that change will have a positive impact on your conversion rate.
Making a similar change on a blog post and waiting for SEO to give you feedback can take much, much longer. So speed is one of the greatest advantages that PPC ads give you compared to SEO.
2. Drives Traffic Even If Google Hates You
But what if your website has been around for several years already? What if you’ve already tried a bunch of SEO stuff to build your traffic, only to have it all disappear overnight? What if you hired some cheap black hat SEO guys a few years ago and they got your site penalized by the search engines?
If that is the case, then you’ll be happy to know that Google Ads can start bringing you traffic right away. The traffic that you receive from ad clicks has nothing to do with your ranking in search engines.
Google Ads won’t help your SEO, but they won’t hurt it either. What will happen is that those ads will start driving targeted traffic to your landing pages right from the start. So the end result can still mean more leads, more sales and more profits when you push traffic to your site with ads, even if your site has Google penalties applied to it.
3. Customizable Options to Efficiently Target Your Ads
We have a lot of flexibility with the Google Ads platform that allows you to focus your efforts, producing measurable results very efficiently.
For example, you can limit the scope of your ads so that they are only shown to people uncertain devices.
Let’s say you fix, upgrade and create custom desktop and laptop computers. So you might want to target readers who are using these types of devices.
Or if you fix mobile phones and tablets, then you might want to limit your ads to only be seen on people with those devices.
If you manage a restaurant, then you might want to have your ads only be seen during operating hours and by people on mobile devices within a certain distance from your restaurant.
People who search on a mobile phone for your type of cuisine are hungry right now. So if they click on your ad and see that your business is closed, they’re probably going to go to one of your competitors down the street, and you just wasted your ad spend.
So the flexibility of Google Ads can really save you a lot of money.
Google Ads vs. SEO?
So now we return to our original question: should you invest in SEO or should you invest in Google Ads?
The answer seems kind of obvious now, doesn’t it?
It’s like asking, “Should I make my business successful in the short term or successful in the long term?” You obviously want your business to be successful both now and in the future. You want to increase traffic to your website both now and in the future. So you’re going to want to do both SEO and PPC ads.
If your business is brand new or struggling right now, then sure, you might focus more on ads to generate traffic and sales faster and help you get through these lean times. But you will also want to engage in SEO and content marketing as soon as possible for long-term results.
Contact Defined Digital today to see what kind of options are available to help you grow your business and attract more customers, leads and sales through your website.