When putting together your digital marketing budget, one key decision is whether to invest in PPC (pay-per-click) ads, SEO (search engine optimisation) or both. Comparing SEO vs PPC concerning your business needs can give a clear picture of what will and won’t create the desired results.
Ideally, the most effective strategy is to invest in a combined PPC and SEO campaign. The two work well together to help you dominate search results in the long term, gaining customers from your competition. However, the reality of marketing budgets may limit your strategy to just one of the two.
This guide will define SEO vs PPC and give you the pros and cons to help you decide which will best fit your marketing goals.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an ongoing process of amending your website and pages to communicate with search engines more clearly than your competitors. This process helps your website and pages appear in the top organic search results for relevant queries.
Organic rankings are search results that can’t be changed by paid advertising.
Search engines rank organic search results according to their relevance to the search term. Rather than paid advertising, SEO puts your brand at the top of the search results more organically: with mobile and load-time-friendly sites that showcase their products and services to both Google bots (which crawl your website) and users. Ensuring your website is user-friendly with useful information and few technical errors is a key requirement for a well-optimised website.
One piece of the SEO puzzle is on-page SEO, which focuses on the elements shown on the front end of the website. There are many factors to on-page SEO. With the recent helpful information update, rolling out on-page SEO is more important than ever.
These on-page factors are where keywords come into play, and we can place keywords strategically to give search engine crawlers the clearest picture of what the page is about. These include:
- Content: High-quality, original and helpful content, always gains organic keywords, so the keywords gained must be relevant to your ideal customers.
- Headings: Breaking up content with headers makes it easy to scan and understand, helping people stay on your page longer. This helps at the consideration stage of the consumer funnel.
- Meta tags and descriptions: These appear in SERPs to give more information about the page, but they also tell search engine crawlers how to index your page.
- Images and Alt Text: Ensure your images are high quality, in the right format and named with keywords.
- Site structure: Pages should fit together in a logical, easily navigated way, for both users and search algorithms.
- Internal Linking: Including links between key parts of your website helps user navigation and search.
Getting the balance between user-friendliness and search optimisation is the key to high-ranking pages. Google’s Helpful Content Update(August 18th 2022) has changed the way SEO works when it comes to content. You can’t simply rewrite other people’s articles, or use AI extensively because Google won’t rank it. For great on-page SEO, a specific target audience can help create content that works to bring in quality traffic, using the keywords your audience uses and focusing on the problems they want to solve.
This is the secret sauce of SEO – focussed on building your website’s authority and credibility beyond content and site structure. This is how a search engine determines whether your website is worth ranking highly for keywords where there is high competition.
Off-page elements include:
- Backlinks and referring domains: quality links from reputable websites show that your website is a valuable source of information.
- Content marketing and social media engagement: sharing your content on a range of platforms encourages others to link to your website and builds up your rankings indirectly.
While there are fewer parts in off-page SEO, this key phase is just as challenging and requires a professional understanding of industry publications, audience management and social media.
In this way, a good SEO strategy provides a firm foundation for marketing, building your brand reputation as well as your search rankings. This makes SEO a powerful marketing technique for long-term results.
Pros of SEO
Low Cost: SEO is generally a lot more cost-effective than other forms of digital marketing, in particular PPC and Google Ads. You don’t pay for people to click on links to your website when you rank organically. SEO provides big opportunities for a great ROI in the long term.
Scalable: Once you have gained first-page rankings for high-volume keywords, you can build on this success and look at other areas to target. Good performance in SEO provides a great foundation for further digital marketing strategies provided you have the right strategy.
Higher Click-Through Ratio: Generally, users will be more likely to click on organic results than paid results, which many people ignore.
Branding: Aside from more traffic, high search rankings give your business and brand more visibility online. Many users trust organic results more than ads, and you can quickly build a reputation as a leading provider of a product or service if you rank highly for several keywords. The quality of the website, content and backlinks that are required for high search rankings have knock-on effects on your overall brand reputation. Your site appearing first can influence your perceived credibility with an audience looking for your product service.
Sustainability: Once you have achieved high rankings and have an ongoing SEO strategy in place, your competitors can’t simply outbid you to appear higher up. They will need to invest a lot of time in developing their site to knock you off the top spot.
Cons of SEO
Long Term:Results from SEO can sometimes take 3-6 months to generate results. If you only have a short window to see returns from your marketing, SEO may not be the best option. However, once your website has gained a significant ranking for high-volume key terms, this is fairly easy to maintain, bringing traffic to your site for the foreseeable future.
Not always viable: For the majority of businesses, SEO is an invaluable tool in their marketing arsenal. However, a small number of companies may not see the same benefits; their industry is too competitive in search or their product/services just don’t get enough search volume.
What is PPC?
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model where your website pages are displayed at the top of search results, marked as ‘sponsored’ or ‘advertising’. Google displays your ads with a link to
your website, and you only pay when a user clicks through to your site. This is typically associated with search engine advertising like Google Ads or Google Shopping.
A Strategic Approach for Google Ads
When creating a Google Ads campaign, we start with keyword research and organise the terms you want to target into the ad groups that will sit in your campaign. Once the campaign is live, you can manage this with a daily budget and set a cost-per-click limit, which stops the cost from spiralling. Your account will start spending money once a user searches and clicks on your ad.
We recommend starting at a lower budget for the first month or so, as your campaign will be in “learning mode” for the first six weeks. This means that Google is learning about the users searching for your ads, feeding into an algorithm to help Google determine if the user is in the awareness or consideration stage.
Once you start to receive conversions, you can either choose to focus on increasing conversions or traffic to your site.
Choose Your Keywords
With Google Ads, you are in complete control of what keywords your website shows up for on Google. There are three types of match types: broad, phrase and exact.
Broad: Shows your ad to searches that are relevant to your keyword
Phrase: Shows your ad to searches that include your keyword
Exact: Shows your ad to only those searches that are an exact match to your keyword
You need to ensure that you are keeping on top of your search terms with your campaigns. Removing any irrelevant keywords into a negative keyword list helps keep your campaign working effectively. You can find out more information on Google Ads management online here.
Pros of PPC
Quick Results: PPC can generate traffic results much faster than SEO. PPC can take 6-8 weeks to show measurable results, which makes it a good choice for businesses that need short-term results and a quick ROI.
Position on Results Page: Google Ads now take up a large portion of search result pages, generally in the first four positions. Although users tend to click on organic results more often, being able to occupy the top of a results page for your chosen keyword can be a massive boost to both traffic and authority.
More Specific Targeting: With PPC ads you can filter the users you target based on age, location and demographics. You can make sure you are only paying for the traffic that you want on your website.
Range of Channels Available: Google Shopping Ads, Display Ads and Text Ads are all forms of PPC advertising. Investing in PPC marketing gives you the option of trying these channels and seeing what works for your business.
Find out how our team use PPC & Adwords for fast traffic boosts.
Cons of PPC
Can Be Costly: Depending on the competition in your industry, PPC can be expensive. Extremely competitive industries such as Law Services or Insurance can have very high costs per click. Keep this in mind if your marketing budget is tightly controlled.
Higher Initial Investment: Although PPC can get results immediately, to optimise your account you need a lot of data on clicks and conversions. This means that initially, your initial cost per conversion will be higher than it will be once the campaign has progressed and begun to generate data. You will need to be realistic about how long it takes to optimise a PPC campaign.
Is SEO or PPC right for my business?
This will largely depend on your industry and business and you will need to weigh up the above pros and cons and see how they fit in with your business.
SEO is low-cost, long-term brand building that helps your website perform at the best possible level.
PPC is a variable-cost, high-impact option that quickly builds awareness and traffic to your site, but may not be sustainable long term.
What we find at eSterling is that you can mitigate the cons of SEO with good PPC and the cons of PPC with good SEO. For example, a PPC campaign can plug the gap between starting SEO and seeing lasting results. Marketers will need to weigh up all of this against business needs and goals.
Questions to ask to decide between PPC vs SEO
These questions will show you the way: SEO, PPC or Both?
Do you need quick results?
If you want to increase traffic and sales immediately, PPC might be the right direction. PPC allows you to drive targeted traffic towards specific pages on your site. Before you start with your Google Ads journey, you should make sure the landing page is set up for conversion tracking and have relevant information to help users convert.
Is competition for organic search results high in your industry?
Using tools like SEMrush, we can measure the relative competitiveness of each keyword in your industry and establish the likelihood of ranking organically with your current domain authority and backlink profile.
If most of the keywords relating to your products or services are highly competitive, SEO may take a long time to have an impact. This is because we will need to focus on building overall domain authority. A PPC campaign can fill the gap before an SEO campaign creates results.
What are competitors paying for ads?
Using the keyword planner tool on Google Ads, you can see the average cost-per-click (CPC) to be at the top or bottom of search results. This gives you an idea of how much you will be paying per click. You can set a maximum cost-per-click budget on each campaign or bid manually, which will give you complete freedom to ensure each keyword has an individual budget. Manual cost-per-clicks is recommended for small campaigns only.
You can also get an idea of how much competitors are paying monthly on SEMrush by viewing their organic and paid search results. This is a rough estimate and not 100% accurate but it can be helpful to figure out how much you should be spending a month. If your competitors are paying huge amounts, PPC may not be the most cost-effective strategy and you may be better off with SEO.
How much is your digital marketing budget?
Choosing between SEO and PPC also depends on your own marketing budget and the competitiveness of the keywords you are looking to target. For PPC, we always suggest that you start small and increase your budget slowly over the first three months of running your campaigns. £500 a month is the best starting point for most industries, it gives you the flexibility to trial your keywords at a reasonable price while allowing Google’s algorithm to direct users to your ads. As for the first month or so Google is in learning mode, you may find a lot of budget is going to waste through irrelevant searches, so start small and making sure you are keep on top of your negative keyword lists. Having the correct conversion tracking set up is key so you can analyse which keywords are gaining sales. You should only consider spending more on PPC once you have results, and then reviewing what your monthly budget should be.
Comparatively, strong SEO may be more cost-effective than PPC, because you can reach the top of the search results for terms that are expensive when targeted for paid ads. Given that most users prefer organic search results over ads, you can gain traffic without paying for clicks.
We Can Help You Choose
If you are still unsure about what direction to take your digital marketing campaigns in, eSterling can help.
Our dedicated marketing are experts in both SEO and PPC campaigns and can offer free advice on what is best for your business and guide you to the channels that will get you the best return on your investment.
Contact the eSterling team now and we will be happy to help with any questions you might have.
During these unprecedented and difficult times, there are many business owners who are trying to minimise financial risk for their business by pausing advertising efforts or cutting advertising spend.
This could be seen as a short term and temporary fix but eventually, this will lead to needless lost time and effort later on when it comes to rebuilding your marketing strategy from scratch.
So could this be the time to re-evaluate your existing budget and invest more in Digital Marketing? This blog explains why continuing with your marketing efforts is now more crucial than ever.
Grow your online presence & connect with your clients.
Following the government announcement regarding halting the spread of the virus, people are spending more time online and are using social media to connect with others. So this is the best time to grow your online presence and get more people to engage with your brand.
This could include working on your website to improve rankings and increase your site’s visibility when someone is searching for a particular product or service and being more active on social media. Even if your business is currently closed, you can still use social media to stay in contact with your current clients by showing your empathy and support during the outbreak or posting about small steps you have taken as a business to help people in need.
Make sure that information on your website or social media is up to date and keep your clients posted about any changes in regards to your services.
If you are not familiar or confident using social media, eSterling offer a complete Social Media Management service. We can manage your social activity and provide you with reports to track your online performance and engagement.
Understanding the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a process which includes a number of steps and actions that aim to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website via organic Search Engine results. SEO is a long term process and the results are not immediately obvious. So now is the right time to invest in SEO so that your website is fully optimised for when the sanctions are lifted and business returns to normal levels.
eSterling are experts in all things ‘SEO’ and our SEO services provide regular reviews, up to date reporting and on-going support. We make sure the site is fully optimised and that you are targeting the right keywords as well as resolving all technical issues.
That gives you a big advantage over your competitors as many of them may have not looked at their SEO campaigns.
Time to invest in content.
Content is one of the main ranking factors for all Search Engines and Google has made it clear that a great content strategy can increase traffic and in-turn improve rankings. During these days people are spending many hours browsing the internet and reading articles. You should focus on updating your website’s content and optimising pages for desired keywords for your products or services.
Don’t forget to add or update your blog section with interesting and informative content to keep your customers engaged, even if your company is closed or you are not operating usual hours.
Take advantage of our copywriting services and we’ll create well-written, original and engaging content based on your brand and target audience.
Start online advertising by creating profitable Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns.
People are staying at home and searching for products and services online, so you could take advantage of the increased search volume and invest in PPC advertising. With Google Ads you’re in control of the money you spend and are only charged when someone clicks on your ads so most of the clicks will come from customers who are looking for your products or services.
If you have already set up PPC campaigns and your business is still operating then it is worth leaving these campaigns running as your customers may still be looking for your services or products.
Should you have any questions about online advertising and PPC, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here at eSterling we are still fully operational and can help you with online adverting and offer full support throughout this period and beyond.
Focus on your website and improve User Experience.
With daily traffic at an all time high, now could be the right time to think about a new website or a redesign of your old website to improve user experience. You need to make sure that your website is mobile friendly, the page speed is good and navigation is easy with clear structure and defined call to actions on all pages.
If you are not currently selling products, now is a great time to convert your site into an eCommerce site or improve your existing site since most of the transactions are taking place online. With so many people in quarantine and not being able to go to the stores, eCommerce sales are booming!
We have years of experience in designing and building websites and we always endeavour to build sites that exceed your expectations and generate you more business. Give us a call to discuss your project & requirements today!
At some point in the future this pandemic will pass, so you will need to make sure that you’ve got your business ready to go. Investing in your online strategy now, will reap the rewards further down the line.
We are here to help! We can help you promote your business online and develop an effective and measurable Digital Marketing strategy.
Call us on 0121 766 8087 and tell us what you want your website to do for your business.
Achieving Google Partner status means that eSterling Ltd has demonstrated Adwords expertise; met Adwords spend requirements, and demonstrated sustained revenue growth for our clients, as well as understands best practices.
What does it means when a marketing agency advertises that it is a certified Google Partner?
When you see that badge on agencies website, it tells you a lot about the business.
Google Partner status isn’t just handed out… that badge has to be earned, and we have worked for ours!
Not only must our employees take various courses and pass a few tests to gain individual qualification, eSterling Ltd itself has proven that it can meet Google’s strict requirements to become a partner.
As eSterling is a Google Partner Agency, what are the benefits for our clients?
- Google Partners provide features and tools designed to help us grow your campaigns.
- We are up to date and constantly on the ball, through the certification process, our team is provided with training directly from Google.
- Being certified demonstrates the excellent service we provide to our clients.
- We can demonstrate we work along side Google and that Google trusts us!
eSterling is pleased to announce that the company has been awarded Microsoft Advertising Accredited Professional status. Two members of our eMarketing team, Scott Hunt and Jon Jauncey, successfully completed the Microsoft adCenter examination to gain this accreditation.
This qualification demonstrates that the eMarketing team at eSterling is highly trained in all aspects of pay-per-click advertising through Yahoo and Bing. We are able to professionally manage and optimise adCenter campaigns and pass on expert advice to our customers about how to use pay-per-click adverts to drive traffic to their website.
Our new Microsoft Advertising Accredited Professional status is another step towards offering our customers a wider range of internet marketing services, and we can now provide Bing and Yahoo pay-per-click campaigns alongside our Google Adwords services. If you would like to find out more, please contact us on 0121 766 4080.
It’s a great time to give Google Adwords a go, as eSterling have a number of £50 Adwords vouchers available to our customers! You can use your FREE voucher to kick-start your Adwords campaign, which will help to bring extra traffic to your website just in time for Christmas.
Google Adwords is the easy way to get visitors to your site by making it instantly visible on the 1st page of Google. Your Adwords advert will appear right at the top of the Google results page in the sponsored listings area. You only pay when someone clicks on your advert, which means Adwords can be a cost effective way to get relevant visits. Pay-per-click advertising works brilliantly alongside your existing organic SEO and has the benefit of being totally flexible to suit your budget.
To take advantage of this Special Offer and claim your FREE £50 trial voucher call us today on 0121 766 4080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote the code AD50.
Terms and Conditions
- Adwords vouchers can be redeemed against one keyword for a period of two weeks.
- If you wish to continue your Adwords campaign after the two week trial period, a £75 + VAT per month management fee applies. The pay-per-click budget can be specified by the client (£100 per month minimum is recommended).
- The keyword chosen and Adwords management for the trial period shall be deemed correct by eSterling.
- One voucher is available per client, per website.
Here are some simple ways to increase you ROI via conversion rate optimisation.
1. Be Relevant
Your ad text or meta description should always be relevant so the user will know what to expect when they arrive on your website. There is no point making wild claims that are not reflected on the site as this will just lead to poor bounce rates. Make sure that you use the keyword in your H1 title as this will help with both users and search engines. Perhaps one of the most vital points to consider in term of relevancy for the user is to use an accurate image. All to often I see generic images used on eCommerce sites, this will do nothing to improve sales. Always use your keywords in crawlable areas of the page as well utilising keywords in the domain if you can.
You must quickly and simply portray your business proposition to your customer, frame the product or service in your opening text, ensure you prioritise your key features and benefits, consider the best way to get your point across – text, image, Video? Next try to see it from your customers point of view, see if you can handle any objections or concerns they may have about purchasing from you. One final point to consider is not to overwhelm the the user, do not be tempted to bombard them with too much information – an alternative may be to include downloadable demo, white papers or fact sheets. Always use a call to action.
The more trust your site can instill in the user the more sales it will make. This statement is so true for on-line shops. This can be done by the site itself as well as in the promotion of your company brand and the product/service brand. Your main enemies here are scepticism brought about by lack of information, not including reputable 3rd party ratings/awards and badges, and not have an SSL or payment system from a good provider. Try to use trust inspiring text, for example point it out if you have secure check out system, include testimonials in either text or video format. In terms of the web design you need to have a clean and tidy looking site, it should look professional and not rushed or cheap.
4. Understand User Intent
Try to find out what your typical customer responds to, try varied approaches and stick with the one that works best. You could try a softer call to actions or a harder approach, you may wish to experiment with different web designs and ways of presenting data, perhaps you will convert better if you can engage with the customer in a phone call? The key with all the things you try to is to ensure that you have a tested it in a fair way and to measure your success. Once you have a good amount of data you can choose the best way to proceed in terms of your customers intent.
5. Remove Distractions
Remember that the more obstacles you put between the moment a user enters your site and the point of sale the more likley it is that the sale will not complete. Your sales process should be simple, linear and as easy as possible. Common issues are including global navigation on your PPC landing pages, not using technology’s like JQuery to stop users from leaving the sales funnel by utilising tabbed pages of JS overlays to keep users on the page, off topic text and distracting images, asking for too much information from the user just to make the sale.
To find out more about conversion rate optimisation, get in touch with us here at eSterling.
November is upon us and that can only mean one thing – it’s practically Christmas! Consumers are sure to start their Christmas shopping in the next few weeks and many people will be turning to online stores to beat the queues.
A recent study by e-commerce data quality experts at Postcode Anywhere polled a thousand UK consumers. The results show that while 25% of consumers plan to buy more Christmas presents online this year than last, only 5% will reduce their online spend.
Postcode Anywhere’s sales and marketing director Phil Rothwell said, “With 5% set to reduce spend and 25% to spend more, all things being equal, retailers could well be looking at a rise of around 20% in online sales this Christmas, a similar increase to last year. This is a fairly significant finding, but possibly not a surprising one given the circumstances.”
If you own an e-commerce website you should be thinking about how you can maximise seasonal sales. An easy way to do this is to start an Adwords campaign, which allows you to advertise on Google quickly and simply. You can choose your own monthly budget and even control when your ad appears.
If you already have an Adwords campaign, you should think about increasing your budget from now until January to maximise Christmas sales. Don’t forget that many consumers will be looking for great deals in January as well!
Here at eSterling we can provide you with assistance with Adwords, so if you would like to find out more please get in touch.