One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “What’s the difference between Search Engine Optimisation and Pay-Per-Click?” This is most often accompanied by a second question: “Which one is better?”
And this isn’t one of those how-long-is-a-piece-of-string scenarios, either.
The short answer is: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short) is the better of the two. But – and there’s always a ‘but’ – there’s no gain without pain. I’ll tell you about that in a minute.
First it’s important to have a clear understanding about what Search Engine Optimisation and Pay-Per-Click actually are.
Organic Search Engine Optimisation Basics First
When people want to find something online, they mostly use the Search Engines. They type in roughly what they want, and the Search Engine displays the best websites it thinks will provide the searcher with the information he or she is after.
For example, someone looking for new carpet in their home might open Google and type in “discount carpet” or “carpet fully laid.”
Google then checks the geo-location of the searcher, and then provides the best 10 websites it thinks will answer the searcher’s query.
Google also displays some helpful map listings.
If you are in the carpet business, but your website isn’t among these top 10 chosen websites, they’ll probably belong to your competition, so your website hasn’t done you any good.
Search Engine Optimisation is the art of getting Google to choose your website to appear among the Top 10 results, in a search for what you do.
That’s partly where we get the formula No Website = No Top 10 in Google = No Chance.
To sum up, this process is called Organic Search Engine Optimisation.
So What is Pay-Per-Click?
The other way to get people to your website is using something called Pay-Per-Click.
This is where you pay a Search Engine to place an advertisement for your business on the Search Results pages when someone searches for what you do.
Let’s use the carpet example again. This time, when someone searches for “discount carpets”, if your Pay-Per-Click campaign has been set up properly, AND you haven’t used up all your budget (we’ll cover that in a minute) an advertisement for your business will appear to the side of the Organic Search Results.
Hopefully the searcher will click on your advertisement, be taken to your website, and be happy to do business with you.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Each?
First we need to understand how you pay for either service. In Organic SEO you usually pay a one-off keyword research and set up fee and then a monthly fee for your actual SEO campaigns.
In Pay-Per-Click, you pay a monthly management fee and a small charge every time someone clicks on the link in your advertisement.
In both forms of Search Engine Marketing you pay your fees whether anyone buys or not. In PPC you pay if the searcher clicks on your link, whether he does business with you on your website or not.
In organic SEO you pay to get your web page link to the front page of the Search Engine Results, whether the searcher clicks through to your website or not.
So either way you need to commit to a budget.
And this is where a difference begins to emerge between both forms of search marketing.
What Do You REALLY Get For Your Money?
PPC fees include your cost every time someone clicks on your advertisement, and the management fees for running your campaign. Unless you run your own PPC campaigns, you will be paying management fees, no matter how slick the sales presentation was. It is hard business reality that NO-ONE does ANYTHING for NOTHING.
So let’s run a simple scenario.
- Your keywords cost you $1.00 each time someone clicks on one.
- Your daily budget for your campaign is $20
- Therefore, once you get 20 clicks, your budget is finished for the day.
We’ll return once again to the carpet example: if “discount carpets” is one of your keywords, once 20 people searching for “discount carpet” have clicked on your advertisement, you will get no more Search Engine business until the next day, when your budget returns to $20 again.
A budget of $20 per day is approximately $600 per month, for which you will, in the example, get a maximum of 600 clicks.
But what if your search term “discount carpet” gets more than 20 searches per day? The reality is you will never see any of that potential business, because the searchers will never see your advertisement.
None of This Happens with Organic Search Engine Optimisation
With Organic SEO, your monthly fee is all about bringing your web page to the front page of the Search Engines. There are distinct advantages in this.
Once again, the carpet example:
- Let’s say the term “discount carpet” gets 366 searches per day
- Because you are on the front page of Google, those 366 people searching for “discount carpet” can see your link, and can click on it to land on your website
- Even a basic search engine optimisation campaign (I’ll use our prices) gets you 4 keywords performing like this for $460 per month.
Instead of saying “Search Engine” sometimes and “Google” other times, let’s just say Google from now on, because Google gets 92% of Australian online searches anyway.
As soon as one of your keywords lands top 10 in Google, we begin work on a new keyword, and keep maintenance campaigns running for your Top 10 keyword.
It means that after a few months, your Search Engine Ranking looks like this (actual Best SEO client figures)
And yet, the cost of your monthly SEO campaigns is still fixed at $460.
This means that organic SEO is far more efficient than PPC over the long term.
But There’s a Downside
Strong SEO results take usually between 2 and 4 months to bed in, because that’s the nature of the process of getting Google to love your web page.
And this is the upside of PPC – you will get results pretty much in 24 hours or so.
The primary difference between SEO and PPC is:
- SEO is cheaper and more rewarding over a longer period, but it takes a few months to kick in, while
- PPC gets you immediate results, but is more expensive and much more limiting. It limits you tremendously in the number of clicks you can expect, unless you’re made of money – therefore it limits the number of potential customers you can get to your website.
So What is the Best Strategy?
The optimum search engine optimisation strategy is to run PPC for say 4 months, during which time your SEO campaigns are bedding in. Then, once your SEO campaign is showing results, you simply drop your PPC campaigns.
While certainly being the best possible strategy, this is also the most expensive.
There are variations on the theme, though.
- If you have an existing business which is paying its way, you might simply choose to use SEO and wait until it is bringing you results.
- Another option, in a new business or at least for a new website design, is to initiate your organic SEO campaign while your website is still being built. This is very easy under certain simple conditions, as long as your SEO provider knows them.
- Yet another option is to run PPC at a monthly reducing amount, like $20 per day for the first month, $15 per day for the second, $10 per day for the third, $5 for the fourth, and after that, your drop it. At the same time, you need an SEO provider who will commence your campaign at reduced amounts, gradually building up over the same period, to the full price.
Usually you can secure this by committing to a 12 month SEO campaign.
You certainly can at Best SEO Services. We’ll pretty much tailor anything to help you get More Customers.
Call me, John Wright for free on 1800 990 832 if you’d like to find out more about Search Engine Optimisation and how painless it is to get More Customers.