Search engine optimization (SEO) drives traffic to websites by making sure that they rank high in the results returned by Google and other providers. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising programs like Google Ads charge for each viewer who visits the URL behind an ad.
According to SERPS — Many website owners end up focusing mostly on SEO or PPC and neglecting the other option entirely. There are some excellent reasons to consider combining these two popular approaches to better leverage the strengths and capabilities of each.
Two Highly Effective Ways to Generate More Website Traffic
SEO and PPC have been mainstays of traffic-hungry website operators for decades. Each of these long-established options comes with certain benefits and drawbacks.
Rather than sticking solely to one tool or the other, it will almost always be better to appreciate the advantages of each and leverage both appropriately. Doing so requires being aware of how each traffic-generation tactic performs concerning:
- Responsiveness. Perhaps the most apparent difference between SEO and PPC is how long each takes to start generating results. While some “black hat” SEO tactics might produce more traffic reasonably quickly, that tends to be the exception. Generally speaking, the ranking improvements that come from successful SEO can be expected to take as long as a few months to materialize. PPC ads, on the other hand, can be placed as soon as an account has been funded. It is entirely possible to start seeing traffic from PPC ads minutes after they have gone live.
- Persistence. While PPC enjoys a clear advantage over SEO with regard to responsiveness, the effects it produces persist only for as long as ads are being funded. A successful SEO campaign can keep generating more organic traffic for a year or even longer, should others who covet the same keywords fail to respond. The long-lasting nature of successful SEO work can also make that extra traffic start to feel “free,” after enough time has passed.
- Stability. Despite being longer-lasting in general, though, SEO results can seem less reliable than PPC placements. Even a minor update to Google’s algorithms will sometimes disrupt longstanding search-results positioning for individual businesses, a vulnerability that does not apply to PPC. On the other hand, bidding-derived rates for PPC ads fluctuate significantly, as well, meaning that the amount of traffic generated with a set budget will do the same.
- Credibility, visibility, and other important issues. SEO and PPC differ in different ways that often prove significant, too. Search engine users tend to trust the organic results they are presented with more than they do ads on the same page. Paid-for PPC ads, though, will often receive more visible placement, as on most of Google’s search results pages. PPC ads can also be placed whatever the competitive landscape, as long as a sufficient budget is available. Some industries and keywords are so competitive that even the most generally effective SEO experts can fail to generate much traction.
A Combined Approach Often Makes the Most Sense
Taking all of these issues into account will make it clear that both SEO and PPC have particular strengths and weaknesses. There will be times when it will be reasonable to stick to one approach or another.
In practice, though, using both techniques simultaneously will more often be the better answer. Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question as to how many resources to devote to each, the goal should be to strike a balance such that synergistic benefits concerning the following result:
- Testing keywords. Instead of waiting for months to see whether a new SEO focus keyword will pay off, try out some PPC ads that target the same keywords.
- Improving content. Look at the PPC ads that produce the most impressive results and use the lessons learned to overhaul a website’s content for better SEO.
- Overcoming the competition. When an otherwise effective SEO campaign fails to make progress with specific keywords, pay for PPC ads that guarantee highly visible placement on those search results pages to avoid being left out.
- Responding more quickly. Get out ahead of the latest business-relevant developments by placing appropriately targeted PPC ads right away, possibly while working on corresponding SEO for the longer-term effects.
- Maximizing cost-effectiveness. Using both SEO and PPC means being able to adjust spending in both directions to generate the most high-quality traffic for the smallest possible investment.
A well-conceived strategy that covers both SEO and PPC can produce benefits like these reliably and for just about any website. The power of SEO and PPC are both potentially powerful tools that have distinctive strengths and drawbacks. They complement each other very well and in ways that frequently make using both of them together with the best option of all.