SEO vs PPC: Getting it right

Published
11/04/2013 by AKEEM BAIYEWU

If you are a decision maker or a marketing team leader, sooner or later, one of the decisions you will need to make is how to get more customers on a low budget. Also if you have ever considered increasing your sales online, one of the options you will choose will be to either run a Pay Per Click or an Organic Search Engine Optimisation campaign.

First, let us get a background check on it.
How often have you tried to find the website of a company and instead of stretching your imagination to the limit, simply hit your most popular search engine and type a few words? Do the same thing when you want information about a topic.

When that is done, you will get two types of results. The top and right area represents paid search results, while the left area represents organic search results.
The outcomes from the search engine are either as a result of  “Organic Search Engine Optimisation technique”  or “Paid adverts or Pay Per Click”
Pay per Click is the process of displaying ads based on the chosen keyword. By using PPC, you have the power to make your business’ ads show up on Search Engine Result Pages for any search terms you choose. Also you will directly control the ad copy that is displayed along with the resulting ads.

You pay for these ads on a cost-per-click basis. But the exact method of payment merits some explanation. Think of each search query as an auction where the prize is a click on an ad from a user. So, it is a case of paying when a user clicks on your ad, rather than just having to pay for the ad up-front.

The difference between a click auction and a regular auction is that some calculation is done every time an auction takes place in order to determine the actual price any given advertiser pays per click. What this means is that the amount you bid will be less than the amount you will end up paying if you win the auction. In effect, your bid is the maximum you’re willing to spend per click.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what each term represens, it is also pertinent to know when either of the two should be used or how to combine both of them. More so, you need to understand the strength and weakness of each method before applying them to your specific need.
 
Comparing SEO and PPC
High ROI
Organic SEO has been known to yield better Returns on Investment than PPC over a long period of time. Once an organic position on SERP is reached, SEO will continue to give you more sales and leads than PPC. According to the graph, 40% of SEO achieve ROI in excess of 500 per cent, while only 22 per cent of PPC achieved the same value over the same period of time.
 
Increase in targeted traffic
Studies have shown that over 56 per cent of people will click on the first position in any Search Engine Result Page.  This means that people who are actually looking for your services or product will continue to find your services and product through your website. If you attain the first position for your targeted keyword while in PPC your traffic is already estimated and fixed.
 
Timing
SEO is known to take a long time before yielding results. In a particular case, results on organic SEO were seen only after a year of pure white hat technique. In PPC results are instant. Once your ad is approved, you immediately start to see results.
 
Cost implication
In terms of the initial cost applied, SEO has been known to be a cheaper advertising medium when compared to PPC. While you might need to pay a monthly maintenance fee to maintain your ranking, your PPC campaign can sometimes be affected if you change your Cost per Click bids
 
Human factor
One major disadvantage of PPC is the human elements that can be introduced into it. Your competitors might start clicking on your ads and they are not interested in buying. This is not possible in SEO.
 
Guarantee
Search engines like Google change their algorithm almost on a daily basis. Panda and most recently Penguin updates where the last two updates that changed the world of SEO and made SEO experts have sleepless night. The changes are so rampant that what works today might be considered black hat tomorrow. Therefore with organic SEO, there is no guarantee of you getting to the first position on any keyword but with PPC, no matter what keyword you rank, you are assured of appearing on the first page of SERP .Only the position might change.
 
Authority building
Organic SEO builds authority. People searching for any information tend to trust the first websites displayed on the SERP. This can be applied to mean more brand visibility but in PPC, people don’t really care because they know that for the right price, you can get listed there.

When it comes to SEO or PPC, it should not be a matter of “which”; but a matter of “When”