We’ve said before that what we love about search engine marketing is that it connects business or brands with search users that are actively seeking out their products or services. What other form of advertising is done directly at the moment that a consumer is asking how to buy from you?!
Firstly, let’s address the two different types of search engine marketing… SEO and PPC. PPC or Pay-Per-Click is often used interchangeably with SEM or Search Engine Marketing and is a blanket term used to reflect paid search engine marketing. More on this in a moment. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of building and updating your website in a bid to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Ultimately, you’re trying to make it as easy as possible for search engines to understand and index your website, as well as create unique and authoritative content that meets the needs of users – i.e. products or information. If you haven’t already, you can read about the importance of SEO here.
We often get asked which is more important, SEO or SEM. We believe they must both play a role, but that role is quite often different. The analogy that we use is that of watering the garden. You know that you need to water your garden in order for it to survive – think of watering the garden as web traffic. You can rely on rain (SEO) which can be unpredictable. Or you can use a hose (PPC) which is more consistent and reliable. SEO is often thought of as ‘free’ but make no mistake that whilst you’re not investing money, you will need to invest time. SEO is iterative and a long-term play.
Paid Search or PPC is what we recommend when a client requires more immediate results. One of the things that we love about PPC is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad (i.e. an auction-based ad buy). Despite the hose analogy, it’s not quite as simple as turning the tap on and watching the customers fly in. There’s still a significant amount of work that goes into identifying the right keywords and campaign structures, writing effective search ads and optimising bids. Think about someone at the beginning of their buying journey when they’re likely seeking information about a product or service versus when they’re showing signals of purchase intent. The more we know a consumer is ready to buy, the more competitive [read: expensive] the auction is. This is why advertisers will need to have a clear bidding strategy reflective of their cost per conversion and return on investment (ROI).
Less than 5% of searches result in a click on an ad but for those intent on an immediate and steady flow of website traffic, there is still ample volume (Google receives an average of 5.6 billion searches per day).
Of course, we recommend setting your business up for long-term success through building and optimising your website to capture a greater share of organic search activity. Ultimately, watering the garden is used to support rainfall for best results.
For help with your website and search engine marketing, please get in touch.