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PPC vs. SEO: Which is the Best Choice For SMB’s?

Jan 7, 2016 8:00:00 AM / by Evan Barrett

Lots of Hats, Lots of Online Channels.

By now, small and medium business owners know that online marketing is not optional.  But, making decisions about your marketing can be intimidating, and expensive.  Is it better to invest in pay per click advertising (PPC) or search engine optimization (SEO)? With an enormous portion of our buying decisions begin, and end on the web, and the answer is that neither option is inherently better than the other. Both areas hold immense value, and the true answer for your marketing will depend on your specific business needs.

Deciding Between PPC and SEO

Assessing Business Needs/ Goals:

Start by defining your business's current goals, both short term and long term. What does successful marketing look like to you? Do you have or need brand recognition? Are your prospects being engaged? Are you looking for a quick boost in sales? One of the most important things you can do is assess what each prospect is worth to your company and define what a profitable cost per lead will be for any type of marketing. We won’t talk to much about calculating an effective cost per lead for your business in this article, but at the very least you will need to know the lifetime value or average order value for your sales, profit margin, and your sales close rate. If you need more information on defining a profitable cost per lead, feel free to read through our previous articles.

Why Should You Choose PPC?

Paid search, also known as pay per click, advertising has the benefit of putting your message in front of customers right away. In addition, by targeting specific keywords that people are searching on, you have the ability to target hyper-relevant searches, advertising when people are explicitly looking for your service. You also have rich capabilities for geographic, time of day, device, and much more targeting to control who sees your marketing message. It is important to note that because this is a complex paid advertising channel, it is very important to utilize a professional who can dissect performance and proactively manage your campaigns. Without this, many a business has been left without visibility on performance, or without a positive return on their investment. It can take time to develop an effective PPC strategy to meet your goals, but results can be achieved much faster than with SEO.

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Why Should You Choose SEO?

Search engine optimization is a good fit for companies who are trying to position their brand, products, or services in a competitive way within organic search results. Showing up on the top of the search engine results for relevant industry queries is integral to building long term relationships with customers. As such, SEO is a necessary ingredient of any business’ marketing strategy. SEO can be time-consuming, difficult to stay on top of, and even more challenging to track performance gains, particularly if you are doing it in house. To get to the top of the SERPs and stay there, you need to offer new, relevant, and optimized content on a regular basis, while optimizing your existing website for the best crawling and user experience. Many companies find that they get better results and fewer hedaches by hiring an outside company to handle their SEO.

Interested in SEO? Get a Free Consultation

Cross Channel Marketing Wins the Internet:

For most companies, the question isn't an either/or proposition. Both SEO and PPC are needed for overall success. The trick is to know how each can help you accomplish business goals, and how to use both channels to support all of your marketing efforts. When these tools are used together, regularly monitored and optimized, they give companies more cost-effective results than sticking to either on its own. For both of these channels, the ability to track leads, sales, or any form of conversion provides immense value both in terms of transparency, and in the ability to drive measurable performance gains. If you are not tracking conversions through your website currently, or if you are working with someone who is unable to provide full insight into the return of each channel, it is time to look elsewhere. If you need help defining goals for PPC or SEO, or if you would like a professional opinion on the performance you are currently seeing, we are always happy to provide expert advice.

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