Is SEO A Better Marketing Investment Than PPC Advertising for Lead Generation?

Is SEO or PPC More Cost Effective?

Is SEO or PPC More Cost Effective?

Inbound marketing uses a variety of web based tools and strategies to promote home builder services. As with all marketing, it comes down to a choice of where to spend your dollars to achieve the highest possible return.

Let’s compare two highly effective but completely different strategies for online marketing; organic search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising. Both have advantages and can be a part of your marketing strategy, but which is the most effective?

What Exactly are Organic SEO and PPC Advertising?

Users seeking information often start on a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Typing in a word or phrase, takes the user to a search engine results page. These pages are divided into two parts: organic search engine results and pay per click advertising results. On Google, the pay per click advertising known as AdWords are the first three listings, the last three listings and the right side column of the page. They are noted as paid advertising with a small yellow graphic that says AD on each listing.  Studies have shown that 95% of Internet users go to search engines first but don’t go much past page 3. 70% of users click on SEO results and a mere 30% click on PPC. Here’s a quick definition:

Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

SEO is part art, part science. The process consists of creating educational content using relevant keywords (words most likely used to find specific information by users) to place your website on pages of search results (SERPs). SEO is mostly about creating keyword-rich content to rank your website higher on the most commonly used engines. This can be done by writing blog articles, posting project portfolios with extensive descriptions, and continuously increasing the number of pages on your website.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising:

On Google, pay per click is a form of advertising called AdWords. When using AdWords, the marketer bids on keywords associated with an advertisement they create in order to achieve high placement on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the sponsored link section for searches on that keyword. Basically, you’re out paying your competitors for a better placement for your ad for a specific keyword you want to be known for and expect your clients are using in search engines.

The Differences Between Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click

First is page location. SEO focuses on organic search results, which are the main feature of SERPs. Organic search displays all of the choices that the search engine’s algorithm determined were relevant to the search query.

Pay per click is the result of a targeted search engine marketing campaign and may only show results based on location or time viewed.

Organic search using keyword rich content can take as long as three months to show any noticeable results. However, when done properly SEO can result in continuous traffic over a long time frame. PPC is useful as a “booster shot” since the results can be immediate. It’s useful when launching a new website while waiting for organic search to kick in. PPC has a limited time frame. Once the campaign is over, results stop. So, which is better?

While the winner might appear to be SEO, there’s a case to be made for pay per click as well. No matter what your marketing strategy, SEO should play an important role in your efforts. SEO can deliver higher quality leads over a longer time frame than PPC. While natural search adds a certain credibility to your marketing efforts, viewers look towards organic search as more “reliable,” pay per click can target your message effectively earlier in the process.

One thing to remember, you may view these results and say that SEO is better because there is no cost, whereas PPC costs you for every click, whether you make a sale or not. The fact is every marketing strategy comes with a cost. Effective SEO takes time and effort to write relevant keyword rich content, and there is a waiting period before the search engines will “find” your content. And time is money.

The truth is, both methods offer benefits and can be used effectively together in your next inbound campaign. For the short burst, try PPC, but make sure to take a long-range view of your marketing efforts and incorporate SEO best practices into every piece of content you publish.