The more traffic you get to your website, the more chances you have at converting those visits into leads and sales. Sounds simple, right?
The problem is that traffic doesn’t come easy, or cheap in some cases. For the sake of clarity, let’s overly simplify the two ways to get traffic: you either pay for it or you don’t.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
PPC stands for pay-per-click, and it’s one of the most popular forms of online advertising. Essentially, you run an ad and pay every time someone clicks on your ad. These ads are placed all over the Internet on other sites, driving people back to your site...at a cost. Sometimes the investment is worth it; however, most of the time - especially for small businesses with a limited budget - PPC ads simply don’t provide an ideal return on your investment.
With PPC, you’re paying for traffic - not leads or sales. Just because you send someone to your website, doesn’t mean they’ll convert into a lead or customer. However, you’re paying for the visit regardless. Along with that caveat, the investment in that one visitor ends as soon as they leave your site. You paid for them to visit, they weren’t interested and left, and you’re no better off now than you were before they visited.
This is where SEO - search engine optimization - works to your advantage.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
With an investment (time and/or money) in search engine optimization, you’re not only working to drive traffic to your site today...but for tomorrow and the life of your online presence. Unlike PPC, you’re not paying per visitor. You’re paying to fine tune your website so that you continually drive qualified traffic.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been hailed as being a smart way to increase your views when potential customers use tools like Google or Yahoo to search for your service. Again, to oversimplify it, you essentially use the right keywords in strategic places so people can find the content you’ve created on your website.
These places include the backend of your website (page titles, descriptions, header tags, etc), along with on the actual website’s pages. You’re basically optimization the foundation of your website to increase the likelihood that your site is found via search. The better optimized your website is, the higher rank you’ll have in Google. And getting ranked high in Google is the key to success.
This shows how important that first position is when it comes to getting organic traffic from Google. Simply getting on the first page isn’t enough; today it’s about getting into the top 5 position.
To do that, you need to either invest your time and efforts in optimizing your website for the right keywords, creating content around those keywords, and working to get backlinks back to your website. If it sounds like a lot of work, you’re right...it is. Or, you could hand over the reins to an experienced SEO company that can do all of the work necessary to start increasing your rankings and driving qualified traffic to your website. Website that is more likely to convert into leads and sales.
While SEO is the wiser choice for most small businesses, PPC does offer some value in the online marketing world. For instance, if you have an ecommerce business or you’re playing in a competitive local market, then pay-per-click advertising can be advantageous.
At the end of the day, as a business owner you have to make the decision as to how you want to invest in the growth of your company. While PPC may be the choice with the higher level of instant gratification, SEO is an investment into the future success of your company.