Author: Mark Birkett
There are generally two methods you can take when you're trying to advertise your business website on search engines:
Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages and it's perfectly possible to use both methods simultaneously. So we'll outline the advantages and disadvantages of each method here.
In general, SEO is the more cost-effective approach for most businesses in the long term. That's because you don't have to pay the search engine any money for appearing in its generic results ('generic' = the non-paid website link results that appear in the centre column of Google).
Also, any SEO efforts you make in one year can often 'pay dividends' many years later. For example, if you wrote an authoritative and / or entertaining article on a given subject this year, people may well still be linking to it (or citing it) on their websites many years later. And since each inbound link to your article is considered as 'vote' for your content, Google and many other search engines will still be crediting your website with that 'electronic vote' long after the article was published.
However, SEO is often a slow process. After all, writing a great article for your website often requires considerable research, background knowledge and effective writing skills. And it can also take some time before search engines have indexed every article on your site. What's more, if your competitors are appearing higher up in the results pages than you are then your article will be harder for potential customers / readers to find.
So if your intention is to sell tickets on your website for a concert that's happening next week, SEO is not the answer. The concert will be long over before you've had a chance to sell any. In that scenarios, you'd be better off with Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) because the results can usually be seen within minutes.
If your desire is to improve your website's performance in search engines over the longer term, and avoid having to pay for your results, then SEO is the answer for you.
Pay-Per-Click can be considered as the 'fast track' to search engine visibility. If you have a marketing budget you can pay to place adverts on search engines like Google and have it appear instantly - rather than the more gradual increase in search ranking you get with SEO. If someone clicks on the advert to get to your website you will pay a (previously-agreed) fee. If no-one clicks on it, you don't pay anything at all.
With PPC, you can choose exactly which phrases your advert will show up as a result for. For example, if you sell red widgets, you might want your advert to appear when someone types 'red widgets' into Google. Your paid 'sponsored link' will then appear either at the top or the right side of the results page, allowing the visitor to 'click through' and get to your website. .
However, you probably won't want to pay for your advert to appear when someone types in 'blue widgets'. Why? Because you only sell red ones. So you can choose to have your ad appear for 'red widgets' searches and avoid appearing for 'blue widgets' searches.
You can also decide for yourself how much you are willing to pay for the position of your advert when a given search phrase has been entered into the search engine. For example, you might be willing to pay £2.50 for each 'click through' that comes to your website. If your competitor was only willing to pay £1.80 per click then your advert will appear higher up the sponsored links list than theirs. On the other hand, you may think it better to come second or third in the list of links and therefore pay a lower fee-per-click.
Another advantage of the PPC model is that it allows you to set a maxmimum daily budget for any campaign. You might agree to spend no more than £20 per day for your £2.50 click throughs. Therefore, when eight click-throughs have happened, your advert will simple disappear (8 x £2.50 = £20). Therefore PPC allows you to retain complete control of when and where your advert appears. It also allows you to determine how much you are prepared to pay for any 'click throughs'.
The great advantage of PPC is that these results can happen within minutes, are quite easy to set up and allow you to retain complete control of advertising expenditure. However, unlike SEO which drives the 'generic' results on search engines, the key disadvantage is that the moment your agreed budget for a given 'sponsored advert' is used up your advert - and any visible link to your website - will disappear.
PPC and SEO are equally-valid approaches when it comes to advertising your business. You can choose to work with either or both of them depending on your budget and time constraints.
For further information on PPC and SEO call us on 01706 345648 today!