It’s an old conundrum. Which one works better? Organic results (SEO) or paid search results (PPC)?
- Organic results are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on than paid search results. -Moz
- Paid search results are 1.5x more likely to convert click-throughs from search engines. -Moz
If you’re reading this blog, I’ll assume you know a little bit about SEO and PPC alike. Even so, we’re going to run through some of the basics before we decide not only which one is better, but which one is better for your business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a sneaky little devil that usually does most of its work behind the curtain instead of directly on-stage. Happy to stay hidden until curtain call, good SEO is an integral part of any website because it improves your organic rankings and performance in search.
Always keep in mind that SEO isn’t an overnight quick fix. It takes lots of patience and hard work – sometimes requiring 4 to 6 months of dedication before you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your standings online.
In order to have great SEO, your practices must include:
- Content Management
- Website Speed
- Proper Image Sizes
- Alt Image Text
- Healthy Linking
And last, but not least, your SEO practice must include patience!
Ensuring that your website’s content is up to par includes evaluating if you have duplicate content on your website or overlapping from a different website, if you have well-written content (no grammatical errors, typos, etc), and ensuring that your content is relevant.
What do I mean by relevant content? If your website represents a web development and design agency, like ours, you wouldn’t write content about wildlife in Africa and push it live on any of your internal pages. It’s just not relevant.
Metadata is essentially data about data. SEO metadata is what appears in search engine results when your website comes up as a response for a certain query. This metadata shows the page title and meta description.
A meta description is descriptive text that appears below the page title, which should not be longer than 160 characters in length. If you do not customize your meta description, Google will automatically pull in what they consider to be the most relevant content from the webpage.
Your website’s speed (site speed or page speed) is very important for a number of reasons. Google has indicated that site speed is one of the signals their algorithms use to rank pages, which makes it a very important aspect of SEO. Slow site speed, and therefore slow page speed, also means that search engines can’t crawl your website quickly in order to index pages. This uses up their crawl budget and may negatively impact your website’s indexation.
Page speed is also extremely important, due to the way browsers behave online. Your website visitors expect to be served information faster than the click of a button. Pages with long load times have higher bounce rates, as well as a lower average time on page because of this expectation.
Proper Image Sizes
Massive image sizes can have a negative effect on how quickly your website loads, page speed, and overall website weight. As detailed above, it’s extremely important to have a clean website that loads quickly and is easy to crawl.
Alt Image Text
Because Google can’t see images like we do, it’s important to write a short and precise description of what’s being shown in your image.
When users click on external or internal links coming to or going from your website, they expect to be taken to the intended page. Broken external and internal linking disrupts this easy user flow, returning 404 error messages and stifling their great internet experience.
There are several ways to check if your website is housing broken links:
- Manually go page by page, checking for broken links
- Use an SEO Tool that’ll help you get the job done in no time
Once you’ve identified those pesky broken links, you’ll need to fix them! Unless you’re a seasoned SEO expert, enlist a professional at this point. Give us a call or shoot us a note and we’ll be happy to share a few pointers with you.
This portion of great SEO could basically speak for itself. Website usability means that users are able to easily use your website, follow its navigation, respond to CTA’s (call-to-actions), and find the information they’re looking for.
Suggested Read: How SEO & UX Work Together for More Conversions
Schema markup is semantic vocabulary (code) that’s placed on your website in order to help search engines return the most relevant and informative results for users. There are various types of schema markup and adding it can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with what’s required. Thankfully, we’ve written about this before and have linked to an in-depth post called The Essential Ecommerce Schema Markup below.
Suggested Read: The Essential Ecommerce Schema Markup
Now that you’ve made it to the bottom of our SEO essentials list, I’m sure you’re familiar with just how important it is for Google to be able to easily and quickly crawl your website. Without such access, your website is bound to get left in the dust when it comes to SERPs (search engine results pages).
Pay Per Click Advertising (Google AdWords PPC)
Are you a little exhausted just reading about some of those SEO basics? Maybe you’re looking for a more immediate return on investment and can’t see spending another 4-6 months waiting for results when you need them now. Well, you’re in luck. This is where Google AdWords PPC comes in.
A quick disclaimer: you’re going to have to be a little patient with PPC, too! Good results do not happen overnight, no matter what strategy we’re taking, but PPC will return a quicker investment.
Google AdWords PPC campaigns are our most popular Search Engine Marketing (SEM) service. PPC allows you to target specific demographics and bring qualified traffic to your website immediately. However, it requires long-term goals and short-term adjustments in order to get the most from your campaign strategies.
Great PPC campaigns are built using a four main steps:
- Understanding the marketing goals of your organization
- Studying your competition
- Looking for opportunities
- Setting your campaigns up for success
While PPC generates quick traffic, it requires campaign managers to keep constant analysis and adjustment of your campaigns in order to properly respond to your competition, budget, and opportunities.
In order to get the best ROI from your PPC campaign efforts, we recommend enlisting an experienced search professional who will understand the ins-and-outs of each search platform and be able to provide valuable recommendations on targeting, budget, and strategy.
If you think this is the strategy for you, head on over to our Pay Per Click Management page to learn more.
Which Strategy Is Better?
The hard truth is that they’re both important and they both have their place.
You should be investing in both!
SEO is so very important because without it, nobody will know that your website, business, or services are even available to them. It’s essential that you cut through all the information that’s readily available on the internet, and be one of the first results served to users once they’ve input their search query.
Adding PPC into your marketing mix is the perfect “best of both worlds” approach while you’re also tackling your SEO issues. Assign an individual on your team the responsibility to start improving your SEO, and while you (patiently) wait for results, bring in some great leads via PPC!