When first embarking on a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign, you may be confused about the difference between SEO and PPC and where you should allocate your marketing budget. Over 85% of Internet users will go to their favourite Search Engine first when looking for products or services but 95% don’t look past the first three search results pages so SEM should play an important part of your overall SEO marketing strategy.
With an SEM campaign, Search Engine results pages are divided into two main parts: organic SEO results and PPC advertising. Research shows that around 70% of Internet users click on SEO (natural or organic search) results and only 30% of users click on PPC (paid search results).
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation: This is the process or art of making a website achieve high rankings on Search Engine results pages (SERPS) for given keywords.
PPC or Pay Per click: This is where an advertiser bids on keywords associated with an advertisement in order to achieve higher position on Search Engine results pages (sponsored links section) for searches on that keyword.
Position: SEO focuses on natural or organic search results which are displayed in the main body of the SERP. PPC listings are displayed as the ‘sponsored links’ on the right hand side column or at the top of the page. Organic search results include all web pages which the search engine determines to be relevant to the query, while PPC reflects a targeted SEM campaign and may show results only in a specific geographic area or be time specific.
Promotion results: With an organic SEO campaign, a new website or Web page may take up to three months to show up on Search Engines. However, SEO results in continuous traffic over a longer period of time. PPC can give an initial boost in traffic and is useful when launching a brand new website which is not yet appearing in organic results. However, when the PPC campaign is over, the traffic stops immediately.
Perception: Organic SEO results in an SEM campaign are seen to be unbiased and have a higher level of credibility. SEO rankings are unpaid and based on the relevance of the page to the keyword but with PPC, the more you bid on a given keyword; the higher your advertisement is displayed for that search. The higher the position on the SERP page (organic or PPC), the more trusted it is by searchers; the more clicks it will get.
Price: With an SEO and/or a PPC campaign, there may be an initial set-up and ongoing fee if you engage an SEO company or PPC specialist to create a campaign for your business. With an SEO campaign, there is no cost per individual click or visitor. However, with a PPC campaign, there is an ongoing cost per click or visitor – the greater your budget, the more traffic your website will receive.
Professional advice: Ideally as part of an SEM campaign, both SEO and PPC require an SEO expert or PPC specialist to manage the campaign and make sure that you have selected the best keywords within budget and your marketing campaign delivers the desired results. You can manage the campaigns yourself but you cannot be assured that you will get the desired results.
Whether you choose to invest in an SEO or PPC program will ultimately depend on your marketing strategy. When launching a new website, you may need to see fast results and use a short term call to action PPC campaign but over the long term, an SEO strategy will return more money on your SEM investment. Contact us to find out more about SEO and what strategy will best fit your SEM campaign objectives.
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