SEO vs PPC: A Beginner’s Guide To Search Engine Marketing
First, let’s get the lowdown on how an efficient business operates: low advertising expenses met by high returns. To get those returns soaring beyond the ceiling of ad expenses would be to avoid risky ad ventures – vital if you are a fledgling startup in a town already towered by giants.
In the arena of search engine marketing, the Internet is an entire world whittled into code that is harnessed at a keystroke. What better than a portal to funnel your business into the very homes of customers? The gamble comes low, and the venture is most often well-assured; leave no doubt that smart search engine marketing will find your business with a higher output of customers.
Tapping your website into a major search engine can increase page hits by the volume. It is all about exposure. Good exposure lies in putting your name upfront and on page one of a search listing; if this was a billboard, would you rather be seen in Times Square or in the middle of Death Valley? Search engine marketing can expose your business without having to resort to costly campaigns; instead, it is a powerful tool split between two very different financial options: pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO).
…if this was a billboard, would you rather be seen in Times Square or in the middle of Death Valley?
Nature Of Pay-Per-Click
Many have asked, so I created a report highlighting the differences between paid search advertising and organic search marketing.
Despite a few of the major engines incorporating this form of marketing, you still have the two biggest engines playing ball with it, Google and Bing. When you consider that these two giants loom over the industry with more than 90% of the market share, it makes no wonder how pay-per-click ever became so popular.
Type a keyword into a search box, and the search engine scours the web. It then draws out a listing of search results related to the keyword. With Google’s AdWords program and Bing, text banners file in a column to the top and right of those search results. These are the ads. With pay-per-click, advertisers sign up with AdWords or Bing to use those text banners as their ad space. Whenever a customer performs a search in an engine, your ad banner will appear down along the top and right-hand column depending on how much you are willing to pay for the visitor to come to your site.
Because more than one company will market one kind of product, heavy competition can be expected with this method. Payment for advertising arrives in the form of clicks, hence the name “pay-per-click”; with each click of an ad, your business pays the bid amount to AdWords, Bing or whatever the ad space provider is. The higher the bid amount, the greater the exposure your ad will be treated to. Bids can soar sky high between competitive businesses dealing in popular products (a minimum can be a few cents, but popular products can reach as high as fifty dollars or more).
If your business is the fledgling startup mentioned earlier, then pay-per-click may be too inflated of a gamble to consider, at least in the long run. It is advised to be utilized as a temporary influence to introduce new customers to your site, as a way to spike incoming traffic flow, or to showcase a newly launched product. As a permanent means, due to the massive demand, it can become bloated and draining to both time and expense.
Pay-per-click serves as a periodic tool to spread around word of mouth. The benefit of being a part of major search engines like Google and Bing is that both engines have secured deals to service their ads onto popular service providers, like AOL for Google, and MSN for Overture. This means that your marketing visibility is well provided for. Factor in smaller sites spider-webbed all over the providers, and you seem to have yourself quite a widespread means for exposure.
Pay-Per-Click: The Other Issue
The face of pay-per-click rears its ugly head in the form of loopholes and inadequacies. In such a fiercely competitive virtual world of dot-com enterprises, a business competitor can resort to sucking your expenses dry by anonymously clicking on your ad to no end. The illegal practice known as click fraud can force you to flush away so much money, and all without having gained a REAL customer. Though the major search engines claim to have limited this variety of fraud, clients should nonetheless be aware that discreet ad manipulation remains a possibility.
And in what was specifically an Overture issue, businesses are without a means to customize the locality of their ad banners; Overture provides no options to enable companies to target a desired area on the globe through normal search. This makes for inefficient marketing. What would be the point of advertising a product halfway around the world when all you want to do is to target the people of your hometown? Look at it this way: when a person from China clicks on your ad banner and realizes that your site does not cater to his or her region, they will leave and browse elsewhere. It is a lost customer and a newfound expense.
Because it places the advertising and marketing process into the hands of the business, pay-per-click can become a stubbornly pervasive strategy. It is smart to tackle the research if this is the route you want to go. Monitoring all of the aspects of the ad campaign is a wise start, from tailoring the ad space to bidding, from micromanaging the allotted expenditures to weighing out each dollar spent (ROI); also be aware of the ad expenses and of the income gained to be certain your strategy is sound. Ever helpful for the newly initiated, you may want to read through Google’s and Bing’s support sections.
Remember, like all marketing channels aimed at promoting their clients’ needs, pay-per-click essentially means spearheading your own ad campaign, meaning that once the bids or service fees cease, your ads will no longer appear. For those daunted by the aspect of media buying, read on about search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
No doubt a website may offer an attractive layout by paid professional web designers, so why not opt to hire professionals to get the word out? This is the specialty of the professional search engine marketing firm, specialists who know their dirt about search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Overture.
In short, these are marketing consultants, adept at harnessing the Internet at a keystroke by putting to use tried-and-true practices to help expose your site and gain traffic. If the exact nature of handling pay-per-click on your own seems to be too much of a chore, or if you want to opt for search engine optimization (SEO), then hiring a search engine marketing firm may be the way to go.
Each site is inherently unique, and so it is the job of the marketing firm to examine and to patch your website’s shortcomings.
Type a keyword into a search box, and the search engine scours the web. In a fraction of a second, it lists more than a million results spanning hundreds of pages much too numerous to even consider clicking through. Now imagine you are a customer; which website would you bother to click on? Answer: the one most upfront, the one most available without effort.
Often, without the needed preparations, a website will be listed in the hundreds and beyond, away from the eyes of the public and thereby generating meek traffic. That is where search engine optimization steps in. By optimizing your site in cooperation to a search engine’s nature, search engine optimization rescues your site from obscurity by carrying it to the upper tier of a search listing. Each site is inherently unique, and so it is the job of the marketing firm to examine and to patch your website’s shortcomings in meeting the sights of the search engines.
Fundamentally, a market firm will engage in all aspects to optimize your webpage, like researching your targeted market, analyzing your site, identifying your keywords to fit the search engines, and reporting and ROI tracking to ensure sound progress.
Now that your website has risen to the upper tier of a search listing that spans hundreds of pages, traffic should naturally increase due to the odds of greater exposure to customers. And instead of only appearing in the pay-per-click column of text ads, which are not supported by all engines, your website will now cover the listings of any engine. And in more good news search engine optimization comes unrestrained without the dynamic service fees of pay-per-click.
SEO In The Long Run
Good business is a long-term affair. To suddenly drop off the radar of a search engine can mean serious hurt to your website’s traffic flow and sales. It means customer loss and waning competition on your part; your competitors will feed on the gap of your anonymity. The permeating goal is always to remain seen and to be heard. Search engine optimization is a proven investment to maintain ready exposure of your site. The bottom line is that it is a long-term investment in a long-term playing field; a slip behind can mean a staggering return to the top, if at all.
Search engine optimization can be performed by you or outsourced to another party; like pay-per-click, it asks for constant monitoring and an applied strategy. Hiring a search engine marketing firm varies in cost, though a professional search engine optimization firm can fetch around $30,000 to $500,000 annually.
If you are a fledgling startup site or a business with plans of renovating, then see yourself consulting with a firm for no less than a year, where, thanks to the baggage of marketing out of your hands, you can focus and improve on your business due to the freed-up internal resources.
After adopting secure search engine optimization, it is not unusual for a business’s conversion rates to balloon upwards.
Conclusion: Paid Search Advertising Vs Organic Search Marketing
A lot of businesses require unsure risks and gambles, and an efficient business operates by knowing those risks and reducing those gambles. The two choices presented here require some form of uncertainty, but if you play it right, work and get to know the system, then the two merge into one powerful marketing tool. One, establish the long-term: invest in search engine optimization. And two, establish immediate results with a pay-per-click campaign. If you are still unsure about the route to partake, then it may be helpful to consult a good search engine marketing firm to aid in bettering your future.
The split-second world of search engine marketing may have seemed like a vague tackle at first, but now with smart maneuvering of proven technology, you will get your word out in next to no time.
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