Inbound marketing can consist of a simple SEO project or a more complete picture using SEO, blog & social media development with the appropriate analytics.
When analyzing and evaluating the Internet marketing needs of any business, it's important to understand that one size does not fit all. Each business will have different objectives, different budgets and therefore demand different and flexible solutions.
It is also important for businesses to realize that as Internet marketing or inbound marketing become more of a primary marketing mechanism, its important to apply the appropriate attention, budget and changes required to generate the return on investment that is, in most cases, the main objective. Understand that inbound marketing is now more efficient, more effective and more measurable than the way marketing has been implemented over the past 40 years (outbound marketing).
With this in mind, one of the decisions you will need to consider is the choice between PPC (sponsored ads) or a natural or organic search engine strategy. Although both can be beneficial, they do serve different objectives and need careful consideration before launch. Below are some basics that need to be understood in order to make an educated decision.
Any business and Internet marketing plan can benefit from both PPC or SEO so...
- Where do you start?
- Is it a sponsored ad campaign or organic search engine optimization?
- Both are important so what where should I start or would be the right mix?
- How do I determine what my budget should be?
- How much should I spend on PPC and how much on SEO?
- Which one has the higher rate of success?
- Which one is easy to manage?
Many of these questions are asked by business owners while developing their online marketing strategies or working with an Internet marketing expert on consulting firm.
One of the first steps should be a basic understand of the differences between the two. Here is a simple explanation:
The standard industry term is PPC, which means "par per click". You pay search engines or any other publisher for the clicks you get on your advertisement links. Another way to explain this; the traffic you are getting is Paid Traffic through the creation and placement of your advertisement. The alternative is SEO or search engine optimization. SEO is where you work on your web pages to improve its natural rankings in the major Search engines for the selected (important) keywords. If done correctly the result is free traffic for your website. This doesn't mean the process of organic optimization is free. If you have the skills and time, it will be free but you may need to pay a specialists to perform these activities.
These are some Pros and Cons of both PPC and Organic SEO as part of an overall inbound marketing plan.
If you have a newer site and need some faster exposure, PPC Campaigns can give you these quick results. You can launch your projects within hours and start getting search engine (or Facebook & LinkedIn) placement and traffic on your website over night. Pay per click programs are easy to monitor and lets you do specific testing and experimenting. This method will provide you with a detailed analysis of important metrics like:
- How many times your ad had been displayed
- How many people clicked on them
- Which ad got maximum clicks
- What is the conversion rate
Sponsored ad campaigns are also easy to control. You can control the placement of your listings and location where you want your ad to show, and stop your project anytime you want. PPC campaigns are also very effective to test the impact of changes in site architecture on conversion rate. PPC campaigns are great if you are going to promote some seasonal items and when it is not feasible to wait for improvement in organic rankings.
Cons - PPC campaigns, in most cases don’t have long term value. Your listings will disappear from search engines and other networks if you stop spending money. Usually a larger budget is needed to run an effective PPC campaign. If your niche is highly competitive and you are competing against big brands, this is even more true. In my opinion, the biggest reason to be careful when utilizing a sponsored ad campaign is because PPC ads get only 10% of click throughs when compared to organic search rankings.
Search Engine Optimization Pros - Natural Search results get 90% of the activity on a search engine results page. This means you can get much more traffic if you can get top positions in organic results. You don’t have to pay for extra traffic you get due to improvement of your website rankings in organic search results. You can stop your SEO (search engine optimization) and link building campaigns for few months once your rankings become stable in Search results and can enjoy free traffic. Proper SEO and Link Building will help you to increase the overall authority of your website.
Cons - SEO and Link Building is a time consuming process. It usually takes 6-8 months or even more to achieve the top results in organic rankings depending on the quality of your website and competition in your niche. No control on the Rankings of website and no guarantee of results because organic results are very unpredictable.
As you have now seen the pros and cons of both marketing strategies, the selection of the SEO or PPC depends on the purpose of your inbound marketing campaign. If you are looking for quick exposure for your new business then PPC campaign is your best option but if you are looking for long term solution then focus on your SEO and link building campaigns. Business owners need to maintain a proper balance between their SEO and PPC activities. While, money spent on SEO should be considered as long term investment for your business, PPC campaigns should be used only to fill out the gaps which cannot be achieved with SEO like running ads on content networks, for doing research of proper keywords or to test the new design of website.