Search engine marketing is comprised of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click). Whilst the two have very different approaches, they still target the same audience: people who use search engines. In today’s online world this is still pretty much everyone, and Google is still the main player in terms of the volume of people who use their service. Therefore the premise is clear, if you want to be found online and increase traffic to your website – you have to pay attention to both SEO and PPC.
Despite this, many business owners are opting to instead turn their back on SEO in protest to the monopoly search engines have over internet traffic, searching for other sources of exposure online. The new frontiers of social and display advertising among countless others have promised the ‘second option’ to business owners and yet, poignantly have still not managed to put Google out of business. This is because, despite the assertion that ‘SEO is dead’, search engines still account for 60%-70% of all internet traffic.
So before you turn your back on SEO and PPC, ask yourself these three questions to avoid missing out on quality traffic that could turn into leads for your business.
1. Do You Want To Target People Browsing On A Mobile Device?
With smartphone ownership only set to increase, it has been stated that even in 2013, about 46% of all searches occurred on mobile device (6). Mobile searches are particularly beneficial for bricks and mortar stores without an online method of selling. This is because mobile searches are likely done by people who are out and about and looking to purchase goods. To support this claim; about 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results and 61% of those searches result in a purchase (7). Having an SEO strategy that is heavily focused on local search terms is imperative for showing up for mobile search traffic.
Not only this, but Google has also recently announced the presence of mobile friendly labels on search results. This update which was colloquially coined ‘mobile-geddon’ because of the effect it had on businesses with non- mobile friendly websites.
Statistically speaking PPC has a an edge over SEO when it comes to mobile. Click through rates tend to be higher on mobile than they are on desktop computers. Also on mobile, the average click through rate of a paid ad is 5.87%, as compared to the click through rate of a desktop ad which is only 2.29% (8).
2. Do You Want To Be Seen As A Credible Business?
A staggering 80% of consumers will research a product’s features and reviews online, so before customers even purchase from you, what they find in the Search engine results pages (SERP’s) about your products, will influence their decision. This also shows that consumers think that the internet (and Google in particular) is a credible source of information. So when your official company website is ranked highly on the SERP’s, this adds to your credibility – ultimately converting potential customers.
Online consumers also appreciate that Google will only return results which are relevant to their keywords. Customers understand this is Google’s core value proposition and their neutrality in allocating these rankings.
Not only this, but consumers are wary of businesses who do not have an online presence. By not having an obvious online presence potential customers may assume you’re either unprofessional or at worst illegitimate. Having an effective online presence is irrefutably beneficial to your businesses credibility and ranking highly on the SERP’s is an essential component of this.
However any business owner knows that ranking highly on the SERP’s is easier said than done. Although essential, it can often take a long time and a lot of work to see results in rankings. This is when PPC starts to show its merit. PPC is particularly useful for businesses who want to achieve visibility on the SERP’s instantly whilst they build up their rankings. Although PPC is effectively paid advertising, with the help of a professional it can often prove to be not only effective but also highly profitable.
3. How Important Are Qualified Leads To You?
Any business owner would agree that when it comes to new leads for their business, quality would almost always win over quantity. Search engine marketing can offer both, but SEO and particularly PPC offer business owners the ability to target their exposure. This means they can ensure they’re more likely to be seen by someone with a high commercial intent who is likely to convert to a customer. This ability to target users means that SEM (search engine marketing) provides business owners with quality and a quantity of leads if executed correctly. This is mainly because when someone searches for a product or service on the internet, it’s likely they are considering a purchase. These leads are extremely lucrative, as search engine marketing is reported to be the most effective sales channel for 85% of retailers (3).
Due to a perception of credibility, organic results are favoured by customers, with 94% of people bypassing paid ads (4). This allows for a lot of free exposure, but the organic audience might be more likely to browse but less likely to purchase. Paid results account for 64.6% of clicks for keyword searches that imply high commercial intent (5), this means the users who click on paid PPC results, and although they may be in smaller volumes, they show a much higher conversion rate.
In addition, PPC offers timely results. Unlike with SEO, you will see instant results as soon as your paid search campaign begins.
The best results are seen when small business owners implement a mixed campaign where SEO and PPC complement each other. SEO and generating organic leads is more of a stabilising and long term strategy, while PPC is best used for generating instantaneous surges in traffic and obtaining a better conversion rate. By utilising a mixed approach of PPC and SEO together, you can be sure your search engine marketing strategy will be robust enough to achieve long term results.
This article was contributed by Magicdust, a Sydney web design company who specialise in SEO services and consultancy for small businesses throughout Australia.