So, what do these strange acronyms actually mean? Put simply – Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of ensuring your website’s content is as visible as possible within natural listings in search engines. pay per click (PPC) ads are the paid for adverts you see at the top, bottom and side on search result pages.The holy grail of search marketing is to ‘own’ both the natural and paid search advertising for your brand. You receive maximum exposure, push away competitors from bidding on your brand terms, and provide reassurance to visitors to your site. If you have a big presence in search engines, it sends a strong signal that you mean business – that you know your market and that you’re number one.
What’s the incentive to visit your site?With both SEO and PPC, you need to think about the results you wish to achieve from your website. Once you have your website goals in sight, you’ll need to work back from them. Have your website visitors in mind and think, ‘why would they want to visit my site?’ It may be because they want more information about a product or service you provide, to find out opening times or a contact number, or even because they are researching a new potential purchase. What all these goals have in common is that they represent a ‘pull’ action to your site. Good SEO is essentially ensuring these ‘pull actions’ are as visible as possible – for example, excellent and regular content updates, a clear customer journey and precise copy which includes relevant keywords.
It sounds great, but then why do you need to pay for PPC?PPC acts as temporary ‘sticking tape’ to fill in for keywords you do not currently rank for, it provides you with the ability to react to seasonal trends, and is ultra flexible – you can pull your ads within seconds. What’s brilliant is you only pay if somebody clicks through to your site, so your advertising budget goes far. If you don’t receive a warm visitor to your site, you don’t pay, The flexibility of PPC means you can be on top of market trends, whilst SEO is long term and over time you’ll build up strong natural search traffic, PPC is its uncommitted lad of a brother. He’ll get you quick results, but charges you. Good SEO is slower as he takes his time. A mix of the two creates the perfect balance, once you’re natural search results improve, you can start to wind down your PPC spend and reap the rewards of your patience.
What’s the next step?Have a look at your site – work out what you want to achieve. Prioritise the parts of your site that will bring you revenue, or will help you achieve your goals. Produce content that amplifies these goals and ensure your PPC activity backs up and complements this process. James Doncaster is search marketing manager for White Space Design.
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