When you decide to enter the world of search engine marketing, the sheer array of choices can be daunting. Figuring out what will work best for your business can be tough at first glance and what works for one company may not work for another. Consulting a professional PPC management or SEO firm is probably your best idea, but if you want to get your feet wet before you make that call, here is a brief overview the two most popular forms of search engine marketing to help you get up to speed.
A basic overview of PPC (pay-per-click) management
PPC is a way to drive highly-targeted traffic to your website by placing text advertisements in the paid section of the search engine results, normally found to the right of the page. Your text ads are triggered when a user searches one of your chosen keywords and you pay a pre-determined fee each time a user clicks your ad.
The main benefit of PPC is the ability to enter the market immediately by paying to advertise next to your competitors and the convenience of near instantaneous results. PPC also allows you track progress and identify changes to your keyword list or ad copy that are likely to boost results. Finally, if you are willing to spend enough, you can usually advertise on very competitive aka ‘high-traffic’ keywords which allows you to advertise next to competitors who have been around a lot longer. Consulting a PPC management firm will help you determine whether this is possible.
A basic overview of SEO (search engine optimization)
SEO is the process of optimizing your website for optimal ranking within the search engine results pages. SEO determines your placement in the organic listings which appear to the left of the page and involves making ongoing editorial and structural changes to your website. With so many variables to optimize, SEO can be complicated, but when done well, the results are hard to beat.
The main draw of SEO is the ability to drive ‘free’ traffic to your site. The secondary draw is the fact that results from SEO are longer lasting than those of PPC. With PPC, you pay to appear immediately in the SERPs, but as soon as you stop spending, you disappear, but with SEO, the fruits of your labor are likely to generate a larger return over time.
Which strategy is best for your business? It depends. If you must see immediate results that you can track, PPC is the way to go, but if you don’t want or need an instant boost in traffic or sales, and prefer to rank organically over time, SEO might be better.
For many companies, a combination of PPC and SEO works best. But deciding how much to spend on each and how to make them work together can be tricky. Always consult a professional SEM firm for advice to prevent problems down the line!
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