Just about everyone in American knows how to work Google; so much so that the term Google has been made into a verb. Yesterday you may have googled a good place to eat, tomorrow you might google directions to your friend’s house, and today you may have googled the difference between PPC and SEO when starting a company. This is a distinction that confuses many startup companies, and if you do not yet have the tools to hire a marketing professional you may be on your own. In other words, it’s good that you googled such an important question.
Both SEO and PPC deal with driving traffic to a company website or blog. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and PPC stands for pay per click. Even as a startup company, I would suggest using both concepts to help drive traffic to your site; however there are certain circumstances where one may work better than the other. Consider the two different approaches and when to use each:
And In Corner One: SEO
SEO consulting deals with your friend, Google. The point of SEO is to get your website to the top of major search engines. Ideally, this is where you want your company websites to appear; however Google (and of course other search engines) does not just put any old website at the top. The relevancy of your website is a very important factor when it comes to placing your company website at the top of a search engine result page (SERP). Most major search engines rank sites based on algorithms that look to see if your website has unique content and is popular. This is the way to go when you are in a few different situations:
- You want steady results—As I discussed earlier, it isn’t easy to get your website on the top of a major search engine. However, once you finally make it there, your success should remain steady because so many people use search engines to find the answers to their questions. It is a slower process, but worth it in the long run.
- You want a high value website—A company should always want a high quality website—one that has consistent traffic, a high page rank, and a high search engine rating. If there is a chance you may ever want to sell your business, this will be important. Having a high quality website will also look good when it comes to potential co-marketing partners or investors.
Overall, SEO takes a lot of hard work and creativity. Keeping up with blog posts and producing quality web designs is a much longer process than PPC, but in the long run will ultimately bring more traffic and sales at a much lower cost. For this reason, SEO is a must for startup companies to understand.
And In Corner Two We Have: PPC
PPC marketing is a way to advertise on the SERP. A company bids to have their ads appear in these sponsored results, and each time a user clicks on the ad your company has to pay. When I first heard this I thought to myself: Why would anyone want to use PPC when they have to pay? There are a few instances and reasons companies need to take advantage of the PPC method:
- You want immediate results—PPC allows your ads to jump right to the top immediately. Although you have to bid for the spot, your ad is sure to be seen by millions. Most businesses use PPC for the launch of a product, event announcements, and special promotions.
- You want targeted traffic—Unlike SEO, with PPC you will be able to promote your ad to those who fall under specific demographics. This allows you to narrow down a group of people who you feel should be finding their way to your company website.
- Your website is not high value—If your website isn’t to the point where it is considered high value, PPC will be the only way to go.
If you cannot afford to hire a large marketing department right off the bat, it is important you explain to the person in charge (or yourself) that both types of marketing are necessary. SEO and PPC are used for different purposes, both of which should be of value to even a start-up company. All in all, this fight looks like a draw.
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to SEO best practices. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including pay per click advertising to small businesses and entrepreneurs at the leading business directory, Business.com.