Many businesses today, especially those running on tighter budgets, are weighing up the benefits of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) versus Pay-Per-Click (PPC), and whether they should be doing both. You might be thinking: “Why pay for my traffic when I can get plenty of visits from natural listings on Google?”
Depending on what research you read, or what vertical your business operates in – it is estimated that today, natural (organic) listings – those listing below the ‘sponsored listings’ on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), account for approximately 55-80% of clicks. A recent study shows that Google are making their pages more and more commercialised (such as in the screenshot above) and this will continue to be the case as they find new ways to monitise their real estate.
Natural listings are generally seen as more trustworthy to web users, but these listings cannot always compete with sponsored ads when it comes to providing users with your company’s latest offers and up to date information. PPC ads can be live on search engines such as Google within minutes of creating them, whereas SEO landing pages take months of careful optimisation to rank on the first page.
The 3 advantages below outline why your business, if serious about its web presence, needs to consider doing both.
Greater real estate on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Very simply put, if you have a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad and a natural listing above the fold on a SERP, you will be occupying more real estate on the page. This greater presence enhances your chances of getting that customer to your site.
Learnings on competitive terms
Getting on the first page of a SERP for a high-search-volume, competitive term, can take months, even years of hard SEO work, whereas PPC offers you that chance immediately. Diving into your analytics data to find what keywords you are not competitive on can highlight these opportunities, and then you can start to shift PPC budget into those keywords to gain learnings on how those keywords will perform.
Taking a deeper looking into your web analytics data can highlight some interesting trends. Many web masters complain that over time, natural listings have less and less pull when it comes to attracting new visitors and customers to their site. Implementing PPC ads with compelling ad copy can boost the number of new customers to your site, perhaps by advertising a new product or service that natural listings take too long to rank for – especially on more generic terms. Advertising on more generic terms can attract lots of new visits to your site – where you can learn more about how users behave and engage on your site. One common strategy is to use learnings from running tests on ad creative in PPC to drive better call-to-actions and a more engaging content environment