Should You Focus on SEO or Adwords?
What’s more effective… SEO or PPC? More specifically, should I focus on garnering organic traffic from SEO or pay to play with Google’s Adwords? In our business, we hear this polarizing question all the time. However, the answer isn’t black and white.
We’re going to go over the pros and cons of both SEO and Adwords to help you decide which method is best for your business goals.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization describes a variety of methods used to increase website traffic by ensuring that a site populates near the top of a search engine results page for relevant search criteria. This technique generates organic traffic, meaning visitors find your site without the influence of paid advertisements. Yes, that means SEO is free!
SEO is made up of several parts. The most recognizable component is content, which refers to any text, images, video, or audio featured on your site. Content is used to generate SEO traffic through the use of keywords and valuable substance. Let’s drive a little deeper into how content functions in terms of SEO.
What You Need to Know
Google uses an algorithm, or a digital formula, to determine search engine rankings. This algorithm uses over 200 ranking factors to determine the value of a web page and its relevance to the user. We know that number can be intimidating, but have no fear! Below we outline key components to a successful SEO strategy.
Keywords are words or phrases that clearly define the topic of your content. Keywords are linked to search queries, or the terms that a web user plugs in to find information. When you feature keywords inside of your written content, page descriptions, image titles, etc., it enables people to find your site more easily.
One of the ways Google assesses your site’s value is by the quality of your content, which is determined by web user behavior. A high volume of reputable backlinks and shares will cause Google’s algorithm to see you as an authority on a particular topic. The length of your blog posts as well as the number of content pieces on a particular subject can also help improve ranking. Google wants to know that you are the authority on the keywords you rank for, so try to make sure that the quality of your content reflects this.
An easily navigable, functional website will increase your value to the user and Google alike. Poorly constructed sites have a higher bounce rate, meaning users will quickly close out of the page. Site speed and mobile capability are also essential to a user-friendly interface.
Benefits of SEO
Search engine optimization encourages marketers to create thoughtful, useful content that is valuable to their consumers. SEO isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon with the end goal being in an authoritative position on Google’s search engine results page. While the benefits of SEO may not be seen instantaneously, good SEO practices increase brand awareness and create a lasting reputation for your business in a cost-effective manner.
What is AdWords?
AdWords is simply Google’s trademarked version of PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising, which requires marketers to bid on keywords they think will generate the most leads for their website. Since Google is the most popular search engine worldwide, mastering AdWords increases your chances of receiving more interested clicks.
AdWords holds online auctions where marketers bid on keywords related to search criteria. For example, if you are an optometrist who offers laser eye surgery at your office, you may bid on the keywords “laser eye surgery”. Whether or not your ad populates for this keyword is based on two factors: your maximum bid and your web page’s perceived value. Note: this directly relates to the factors discussed above under SEO.
Benefits of PPC
Paid advertising isn’t as budget conscious as SEO, but it does tend to work more quickly. This is because you are guaranteed a top spot on Google’s search engine result page for relevant searches. Since 60% of clicks go to the first three sites on the page, this maximizes your chance of capturing new leads.
AdWords is also measurable through Google Analytics, allowing you to easily track your advertisements’ success and adjust your approach accordingly. While Google provides plenty of information to help you learn how to use these tools, becoming proficient in both could take some time.
SEO or AdWords?
The bottomline? The best approach to successful marketing is to combine both SEO and PPC! The two approaches have a symbiotic relationship that create greater benefits for your business when used together. PPC is strengthened by incorporating search optimization strategy and you will see results from SEO more quickly when used in combination with PPC. Don’t slack on your search engine rankings, use SEO and Adwords.