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SEO Or AdWords

SEO or AdWords or both and why?

Which approach should I use for my online marketing strategy?

A common question for many internet marketing companies is whether to invest resources in search engine optimisation (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising such as AdWords. The short answer is there is no short answer.

In natural or organic search engine marketing (SEO), sites are ranked according to a number of factors including relevance, popularity, ease-of-use and other criteria defined by search engines such as Google. The objective of a SEO strategy is to improve rankings, which cyclically can improve your popularity and relevance if you consistently deliver what the visitor searches for.

This cyclical effect enables your site to maintain its strong rankings – it’s no mistake that top ranking websites in Google searches continue to perform, it’s simply the result of a successful strategy. Such a strategy enhances the usability and relevance of web content by accurate, thorough and often painstaking attention to detail in the use of engaging keyword-rich content, meta tags, title tags, headings and sub-headings and cross linking to other related sites.

Various studies have shown that organic search accounts for anything between 66% and 89% of all traffic yet the majority of companies opt to spend the vast majority of their internet marketing budgets (often 90%) on pay-per-click. The lure of immediate results such as increased sales is obviously tempting, but increasing sales and maximising potential sales are very different performance measures. Spending 90% of your budget on what may amount to 15% of your target market may prove beneficial in the short to medium term with a strong pay-per-click campaign but a dedicated approach through SEO can lead to significantly greater increases in sales over a longer period of time for a much lower and usually fixed fee.

Both SEO & PPC have their merits, and work well in tandem if managed appropriately

Research thus far in internet marketing tends to show that conversion rates are considerably more favourable in organic SEO than pay-per-click (PPC). Visitors are enticed by the relevance and usability of the site they select – they are not bombarded by sales pitches and special offers. Instead they are informed with relevant, compelling content that answers their questions – this distribution of quality, relevant information breeds trust and confidence amongst consumers and greatly increases the likelihood of a return visit, a purchase, a download or other call to action. More and more companies are recognising the value of SEO – not only to improve rankings but as an integral part of building their brand within a long-term business strategy.

Pay-per-click advertising can generate swift results and improvements in traffic but that attention-grabbing, sales-pitch approach can be met with skepticism by internet searchers – warranted skepticism given the amount of trash peddled online. Self-imposed spend restrictions and word/character limits on ads can also make PPC a tough trade to master and much like SEO, it can prove far more time consuming than initial expectations.

If mastered, the value of enticing pay-per-click ads cannot be underestimated. They attract genuine, qualified visitors to your site but it is the elements of the SEO campaign that keep them there – interesting content, relevant links and a user friendly interface. This enables the visitor to identify with your business and fosters the kind of ongoing relationship that leads to higher client retention rates.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) each have their benefits – SEO as a long-term means to building a lasting client base and PPC as a means of attracting visitors in the present. Using both simultaneously as part of a comprehensive internet marketing strategy is the most likely means of sustained success. Achieving the perfect balance will depend on your industry, market and competitive factors but the best and most sustainable results will come with a dedicated, integrated approach.

roi.com.au has the skill, experience and expertise to find the right balance across a host of industries. We have helped thousands of Australian businesses implement successful SEO, AdWords and integrated campaigns and can help your business to do the same – we put your business first in 2011!