Many marketers eventually have to face the music and make a difficult decision when it comes to getting leads - is it best to allocate money to SEO or paid ads?
This is often seen as an either/or decision, with teams across the US piling all of their budget into one and hoping it’s the right choice.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. SEO and paid ads have varying functions and can be used for altogether different purposes.
Both paid ads and SEO will differ in the position they move you to on Google, traffic potential, cost, conversion, and ease of use.
Here are 5 differences between SEO and paid ads.
Search result position
Paid for ads will always be listed either above or below others, with organic content in the middle. The position of your paid-for ad will vary depending on your target keywords, keywords in your landing page and keywords in your copy.
If you are not paying for a search engine ad, you will need to optimize your website as much as possible for it to appear on the first page of Google results.
However, paid ads are ordered based on how much money you’ve paid to have your website placed on the first page. The more money you put in, the higher up the list your result will appear.
The most common form of paid search today is Pay Per Click, which Website Magazine describes as ‘the method through which businesses pay for advertisements on search engines and social media’.
One of the most common things marketers want to know when choosing where to invest their money is which method will bring the most traffic to the site.
There’s currently more organic content that there is paid for, meaning that if you do a great job of getting your website to rank highly through keywords, then it's expected that you will get more traffic than if you paid for them.
It’s not so important to be the number 1 ranking on Google. After all, research suggests that most users will click one of the top five links, so you’re good to go if you’re in that group.
However, position one still gets the most traffic, ranking at 33%.
By simply comparing the traffic and cost of first page rankings for SEO traffic against paid ad traffic, you’ll quickly realize that organic traffic is much better.
PPC ads can get you more clicks, but this means you have to pay more. A lot of the time, you will be paying for clicks that will not turn into leads, either.
It is assumed that SEO is a great free marketing tool compared to paid ads where the cost can rise pretty quickly.
However, it is important to note that while SEO is free from the outside looking in, it will cost you a lot when it comes to time, energy and effort.
Due to the sheer amount of websites we now have in the modern day, the competition for keywords is very high. This means that you will really need to create a great SEO strategy that is placed onto an even better website to stand a chance of ranking in that crucial first five.
The cost per click of advertising with Google Adwords, the most popular PPC system out there, highly depends on the popularity of the keyword and the number of advertisers already paying to use it.
This can be costly, but it is easy to set up a daily budget and calculate the estimated cost for your chosen keywords.
This way you’re not going into anything blind and know exactly how much you are going to end up paying. Google Adwords will also give you the number of total monthly searches each keyword receives, so you can get an idea of how well your ad will do for the money.
In conclusion, the cost of SEO is very indirect and requires a lot more effort compared to that of paid ads.
You’ll need a lot of expertise if you’re going to venture into either world of search engine marketing.
Using paid for ads may seem much simpler as you will see the results of your money straight away. However, when opting for an SEO strategy, results can differ. According to Forbes, you should start seeing results around the three-month mark, but this isn’t to say your website should just stop growing then
You should see consistent growth as the months roll on, but you will need to have the patience to see the results of your hard work.
Combo App suggests keeping an eye on the data each strategy is making for you, then judge which method works best for your company in terms of time, effort and cost.
According to Digital Authority Partners, there is a difference between how different leads will end up between organic and paid for searches. Paid ads that are really well optimized are much likely to end in a purchase than search results that come in organically. This is because your page will more than likely contain all of the keywords that the search visitor is looking for, meaning they’ll click onto your site rather than scrolling any further.
Looking at this on the other hand will also show you that paid ads are likely to only bring in the customers that are 100% interested in you and your product/service, meaning that organic content brings in many more potential leads.
The bottom line
If you’ve reached the bottom of this article realizing that your original marketing strategy maybe won’t work as well as you’d hoped, then we have a suggestion. Start experimenting with paid ads now, while SEO optimizing your site. This is best if you need results quickly, but would also like them to continue without you having to throw money at Google every month.
By the time your paid ads have come to an end, SEO will have hopefully kicked in and will be getting your site into those top five search results.
Whatever way you choose to go will lead to results, it all simply depends on your resources and the time you have available.
This article is contributed by Michael Reddy @ Digital Authority Partners