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When it comes to the world of marketing, terminologies are as common as city centre buses. For those external to the industry, we can only imagine the stress as another marketing agency bamboozles you with a flurry of jargon. Luckily for you, Create8 is on hand with the knowledge to keep you well in the loop. Within the never-ending barrage of ‘marketing talk,’ it will become quickly apparent that two terms in particular rule the sector. Those are, of course, SEO and PPC.

In this blog, we hope to offer you the chance to understand what these two niche abbreviations mean and to be able to differentiate between the pros and cons of each.

What are SEO and PPC? 🤔

To keep it as simple as possible, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. We like to think of SEO as if we were planting a tree in the ground; yes, of course, it takes time to grow, and it will need nurturing along the way. But, in time, you will have a strong tree with long-lasting roots. Search engine optimisation refers to optimising your website for it to appear organically in searches.

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click; think of this as the potted tree you can purchase straight out of the shop window. Of course, you have a tree immediately, but the tree is expensive to buy and its roots are contained within the pot, if you fail to look after it, it will deteriorate rapidly. Pay per click refers to the ability to appear at the top of searches by paying for it. Stop paying, and you stop appearing.

Which is better 💡

Which is better, PPC or SEO? One question marketing agencies will always hear. This question weighs so heavily due to the number of agencies and freelancers out there who will champion one over the other for all kinds of reasons.

When answering the question…there isn’t an answer. Or, at least, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. The truth is that knowing your potential customers and how they navigate the internet will largely influence where you should invest your time. Knowledge is power when it comes to customer behaviour.

The two crucial differences we need to stress in the SEO v PPC debate are: firstly, paid advertising appears above naturally ranking SEO; therefore if you want to appear first, it’s going to cost you. Secondly, SEO is free (in money, not in time), whereas PPC is not. It is often the case that a happy coexisting relationship between SEO & PPC is the secret to marketing success.


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SEO pros 👍

The idea of planting and nurturing the seed of SEO emanates with us, as it represents our business journey. Organic growth is incredibly rewarding, if you can build an effective SEO strategy, go for it.

Let’s start with some of the pros of SEO!

Cost 💰
Without stating the obvious that there is no direct charge for the clicks and impressions you gain via SEO implementation. However, SEO is not technically ‘free’ because it takes a great strategy and time to build brilliant SEO. Time is money, so it’s not free per se, but there are no hidden costs beyond your time.

Trust 🤝
Have you ever skipped the paid ads to click on the top organic result? We certainly do; in fact, we do it pretty much all the time. That’s because there is an air of credibility and trust that comes with SEO.

Traffic 🖱️
Driving traffic to your website will increase your brand recognition and provide your business with opportunities to sell to those potential customers.

Sustainable 🌳
As mentioned in our tree analogy, by creating something with deep roots, your marketing efforts become more sustainable in the long run. The traffic your business gains won’t dry up when you reduce your spending.

Strategy 🗓️
If your business integrates a well-built SEO strategy within its marketing plan, it will offer you a long-term strategic advantage. This is because you can’t simply buy SEO to fight off the competition. Your rivals will have to actively compete or sit and watch as you dominate the search results.

Click-through rates 
Click-through rates are generally much higher for a business that ranks highly organically compared to one that ranks highly with PPC.

SEO cons 👎

We know, right now, you think that everything is rosy when it comes to SEO. But that isn’t the case. Building an effective SEO strategy takes a long time and so isn’t the ideal pursuit if you’re looking for a quick fix of cash.

With SEO, it’s important to address who you’re up against, if you are fighting it out with Microsoft for keywords, you may want to head down a different route. One of the main difficulties when it comes to organic SEO is the skillset needed to get it right. Most businesses won’t have a content writer in-house or a blogger who is keyword savvy. Meaning outsourcing your SEO will add up.

It’s also far slower to come by organic traffic; the traffic which your SEO generates is likely to need nurturing before purchase; just because your SEO is brilliant, it doesn’t mean you’ll make sales. But don’t forget brand awareness is also important.

PPC pros 👍

After reading all there is to know about SEO, you may be left thinking, ‘why would anyone use PPC?’ But you would be foolish to write off SEO’s slightly more expensive brother. PPC also has some fantastic benefits.

Visual product ads 📸
When setting up a Google PPC campaign, marketers are offered the option to build a visual shopping ad. This advert contains an image of the product you are attempting to drive traffic to and vastly increases the click-through rate.

More information ℹ️
PPC ads are, of course, an advert at heart, and therefore, you can implement a lot more information into your listing. For example, links to your site, buttons to drive calls to your business or instant pricing.

Page position 🔝
Paid adverts appear at the top of the page and dominate the prime search space. Despite the number of potential clients who scroll beyond the paid adverts, there are still plenty that don’t.

Speed and agility 🚀
Where SEO takes time, PPC is an instant fix! You can build adverts quickly and start selling with haste. This also means that you can be more agile as a business, whether that means testing a new product or jumping on the bandwagon of a popular craze.

Targeting 🎯
Keywords aside, running a PPC campaign means you can be incredibly specific to who you want to target, maybe a specific geographic demographic or certain customer behaviours.

Budget 💷
Yes, PPC can be expensive; however, an actively managed PPC campaign can be run to specific budgets and budgeting strategies.

Marketing IQ 🤓
As a business, it’s not enough to just think on your feet. You need knowledge and a strategy to make things work. The beauty of PPC campaigns is that we can directly note the keyword that is driving success or failure and actively spend more or less on those valuable specifics.

PPC cons 👎

When it comes to the list of cons for PPC, it probably isn’t as extensive as some would lead you to think. Pay-per-click advertising can be expensive, and if you find yourself embroiled in a bidding war, the costs of your adverts can begin to spike.

As the name suggests, this approach is paid for, and therefore once you stop watering that tree, it will quickly dry up, and so too will your leads.

There’s also the negative that if you get it right, your whole advert is easy to copy, meaning your competitors can imitate your ad copy and tweak it as they see fit. Making your stand out ad just one in a crowd.

SEO & PPC ⚔️

The most simple yet painfully complex solutions to the SEO v PPC debate comes in the form of cooperation. To truly have either work for you, you have to be doing both to some degree. You can focus your SEO on those high-cost keywords and zone in on the more niche aspects of your business through PPC. You could even look at remarketing through PPC to those who have organically visited your website in the past through SEO.

The truth is, SEO and PPC are like Rum and Coke. They are both pretty awesome alone but together…you get the point.

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