So which is better for small business owners?
If you are a small business owner who is thinking of marketing their business online, it is very likely that this is a question you will have asked yourself.
Here at CPS Media this is also one of the most common questions we are asked by small business owners and the truth is it’s a very hard question to answer. Both PPC and SEO have their advantages and in an ideal world we would usually recommend that business owners make good use of both, however this is not always an option and in many cases people are looking to start with one or the other to get the ball rolling.
So which should you choose and how can you decide which is right for your business? Below are some of the main advantages and disadvantages for both PPC and SEO:
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay per click or PPC for short is a fantastic way for any business to promote their products or services online, this is the paid results in the major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, these results can be seen on the top and right of the search results.
- Results are fast – unlike SEO you can see results very quickly, you can literally see your site on the first page within as little as an hour.
- Potential to show up for everything – pay per click gives you the opportunity to be shown for as many keywords as you want instantly, in comparison to SEO where you may be working on ranking for a handful of terms, for six month with no real guarantee.
- Guaranteed results – Basically you are guaranteed to show up. If you bid on a specific keyword you will show up for that term on the first page of Google.
- Test keywords fast – This is a major benefit because it can actually help your SEO by identifying which keywords get you results, if a certain keyword gives you poor results in PPC you know it is not worth perusing as an SEO keyword which could potentially waste lots of time and money.
- Not affected by Google updates – This is one of my favourite things with paid traffic, there is nothing worse than having a profitable SEO keyword ranking on page one, only to see it drop one day because Google change something, for this reason PPC is a much more predictable source of traffic than SEO.
- Competition – Competition can be tougher if you are in larger cities, but at the same time competition means people are making money, so I tend to see some competition as a good thing and a sign that there is money to be made, also in smaller areas this is often not even an issue, if you have your PPC professionally set up in most cases you will still be miles in front of other companies who did it there selves or had their web designer do it.
- Traffic stops if you stop paying for it – Basically if you are buying traffic from the search engines or anywhere else for that matter, if you stop paying, traffic stops, with that said if its making you money don’t stop and this is no longer an issue.
- Steep learning curve – Adwords in particular is very complex, this means that setting things up and managing it effectively often requires quite a bit of knowledge, this is not to say you can’t do it yourself, but you need to do plenty of research prior to setting things up, or you risk losing money and not being profitable.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Once you rank traffic is free – This is the thing that usually sways people towards SEO, because after you rank in the search engines you are essentially receiving free visitors.
- Local Maps – For local businesses the maps are where you really want to be, ranking in these maps is an instant credibility booster and by doing this correctly there is the potential to get a lot of local business.
- Building Authority in your niche – If you are doing SEO properly this will involve a good content strategy, by building your site out with high quality useful content you will eventually receive lots more long tail search traffic and will be seen as an authority in your area and industry.
- Takes a long time – The biggest problem with SEO is it take time to rank, there are no instant results and in particularly high competition areas like large cities it is not uncommon to see no results for 6 months or more.
- Google updates – This is one of the biggest problems with free search engine traffic, you are totally at Google’s mercy, if for example they decide to make a large change in how they rank local results you could see all your hard work wiped away and your site could lose traffic overnight, and this does happen, Google are constantly making updates, most are small and most people aren’t affected, however every now and then large updates make big changes in the search engines.
- Hard to scale profitable campaigns – Unlike PPC, SEO is a long process, for this reason it is very hard to scale fast when you find areas that are working. For example if you are spending £300/month on PPC and making a 100% ROI, its simple you just increase your spend and buy more traffic, this could see massively increase traffic at the flick of a switch, SEO on the other hand is limited to how fast you can rank for certain terms and therefore you are looking at further months of SEO work to increase traffic.
- It’s not really free – SEO is described as free traffic, but the truth is it’s really not and its unlikely that it ever will be, you will be paying over long periods of time for work to make you rank, then once you are in good positions, you will need continued work to maintain those positions from being lost to updates and competition, also if you are getting positive results and want to grow the traffic this will require more SEO work at further cost.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages and which you choose will really depends on your goals, the thing to remember is SEO is a long term strategy, it is definitely something all businesses should be doing as part of their long term marketing strategy and for those who are consistent and add real value the results will come and grow over time.
If you are looking for fast results that can grow quickly PPC is absolutely the best way to achieve it, here at CPS Media we work with many small and large businesses and in most cases this is the service we recommend, the reason for this is in most cases it is quite inexpensive and if done properly it can start delivering leads and sales fast.
If you would like to learn more about local marketing for your business and would like some advice on what might be the best fit for your business call us now on 08000433034
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