There are two main methods of driving traffic to a website: PPC (pay-per-click) advertising and SEO (search engine optimization). If you go for PPC programs such as Google AdWords, and Yahoo Search Marketing, you’ll pay only for the actual visitors to your website. The first step is to set up your search marketing ads that are going to be shown to people searching for the keywords you bid on. Whenever someone clicks through one of your ads, you’ll get a visitor to your website. The fee for attracting this individual depends on your bid limits and on the level of competitiveness of that particular keyword. SEO can also drive a lot of targeted traffic to your website, but you’d need to work your way up to the top of SERPs in a steady manner. You’ll have to apply the best SEO techniques and practices to make your web pages more relevant for their main keywords. You’ll also need to invest in good keyword research and monitoring tools. You should also be aware that SEO is a slow process, so achieving high rankings for your best keywords may take a long while. Nonetheless, once you get there, you’ll enjoy a constant flow of targeted traffic, even in the absence of further investments. As both approaches seem to be working just fine, how to tell which one is better? The answer depends on your budget and on your business goals. If you want to get traffic very quickly, in order to score some sales right off the bat, PPC is the way to go. Sales may start to come as soon as you launch your PPC campaigns and people get exposed to your ads. If, on the contrary, your budget is rather limited, you may want to focus on SEO, hoping you’ll get those great search rankings sooner rather than later. Here are the three considerations you need to make before deciding whether to go for PPC or SEO for your business:
1. The size of your advertising budget
Before anything else, you need to decide what kind of money you can afford to invest in growing your business. While PPC campaigns allow you to set your budget limit as low as you want, you need to be ready to spend at least $5-$10 a day, if you want to gain some traction. If you can’t afford to maintain this kind of daily budget for long, you’d better focus on free SEO methods. Nonetheless, if you can find the money, PPC will offer you several good benefits:
- Faster testing: You need to do your best to optimize the conversions of your web pages, newsletters, and promotional offers. This requires accurate tracking and a volume of data large enough to be meaningful. PPC can help you reach this traffic volume pretty fast.
- Reliability: If you haven’t lived under a rock, you probably know by now that SEO results can be affected by changes in the search algorithms. When this happens, some websites see a significant drop in traffic. When you buy your visitors, they will keep flowing for as long as you’ll keep paying.
2. The average CPC in your niche or industry
Even if you can spare some money for advertising, you have to take a closer look at what your competitors are spending.
PPC programs allow you to choose your bids as you see fit. However, if your bid is too low, your ads won’t show, as your competitors would be willing to pay more per click. You can find out the average CPC in your niche by using the Traffic Estimator within the free Google External Keyword Research Tool. For some keywords, you may see this average CPC is only a couple of dollars. Nonetheless, there are niches in which the average CPC can be $30 or even higher. Auto insurance in big cities like NYC is only one example of an industry in which competitors are willing to pay a small fortune for each search engine lead. In this situation, SEO would be a better option. By hiring professional New York SEO services, you’ll be able to get some results before running out of money.
3. The competitiveness of your niche
You can determine the level of competitiveness in your industry by entering your keywords into the Google External Keyword Research Tool. Take a look at the statistics of the companies you are in competition with and really understand and study what they are doing and do it better.