As Henry Ford once said:
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like man who stops a clock to save time.”
Choosing between SEO or PPC depends on your needs and budget. If you need to see some quick results and willing to pay for it, then PPC is the right option for you. But if you’re operating on a shoestring budget, it may make more sense to invest time in chasing high search rankings through SEO.
Here are three questions to consider:
- How large is your website advertising budget?
With PPC you can set a daily spending limit to manage your daily budget but before that you also need to know how much you’re willing to pay per lead/sales.
- How much a product is costing me?
- How much I am selling it for?
- How much I can pay to acquire that one sale or lead?
In question three lies you answer. “How much you can pay to acquire a sale”.
Let say you can afford to pay £20 to acquire one sale. This is the CPA (Cost per acquisition) you can invest to get that one sale. This answer will allow you to decide whether paid advertising is the right option for you or not.
If you’re not very established business and have no money to commit to advertising, then stick with free SEO methods. But if you’ve little capital to invest in PPC, consider giving it a try because it offers number of benefits, including:
Faster testing. No matter how good is your website it requires traffic, to test its effectiveness. Unlike SEO, PPC will allow you to drive targeted traffic to your website and give you full control on where to send that traffic. This means you can test your website pages pretty fast to see if they are working for you or not.
Protection from SEO algorithms. Search engines like Google are very strict when it comes down free listings. New algorithms updates comes time to time. When that happens, sites that been optimized in one way can lose rankings which will result in loss of sales/leads.
But when you pay for traffic, you’re assured a steady stream of visitors, no matter what changes Google and other search engines make.
- How high are the average CPCs in your industry?
In addition to your total advertising budget, take a look at what your competitors are paying for ads.
PPC allow you to bid what you’re willing to pay for a single keyword click. Whatever you’re willing to pay will decide your position on the search engine paid listing. If you’re bidding too low your advert can appear on page 2 or 3 depends on the competition. Which means you probably get no clicks at all.
If the average CPCs in your industry is very high – £42.30, for example, for the phrase “auto insurance”. Those prices make it more difficult for new advertisers to turn a profit from PPC traffic. In such cases, SEO might be the better choice.
- How competitive are the SERPs in your industry?
It’s very important that you know how competitive the search engine results pages (SERPs) are for your target keywords. The early you know about this the better and not six month down the line.
Enter you keywords into the Google Adwords keyword planner, which will show you the estimated competition level, as well as the average CPCs.
In the high competitive industries, you may find that result pages for your keywords are mostly dominated by authority websites. Which is nearly impossible to beat without some big investment of time and money. In those cases it make more sense to pay for traffic using PPC promotions.
This isn’t always necessary to make an “either-or” choice. PPC and SEO combined can be quite powerful. Ask above three questions to yourself and determine the optimal mix of PPC and SEO for your website.