Search Engine Optimisation: A Better Alternative for Small Businesses

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising aim for the same thing. They both help companies obtain higher rankings in search engine results through the use of keywords or keyword phrases to generate traffic and drive sales. However, they are uniquely different in approach.

With PPC, it is like the owners are buying for their top spot in the search engine results page. They have to pay each time searchers click on that particular link that leads to their websites. It has two types: bid-based and flat-rate. In flat-rate PPC, both parties (the publisher as well as the advertiser) have agreed on a fixed cost for each click.  In bid-based PPC, website owners bid for specific keywords or keyword phrases that relate either to their products or services or their target market. This is to make certain that each time searchers look for these terms, the publisher will place the names of the companies that made a bid.

SEO, on the other hand, is a free process that assists them in placing their websites higher – and more frequently – in the list of search results. It gives the site owners or the SEO specialists the opportunity to choose their own keywords and keyword phrases, which they based highly on the most searched terms in Google, Yahoo and Bing. It strategically places them in web content or pages. SEO also makes use of HTML and other related coding, as well as backlinks and inbound links, only to make sure that the website lands on the top page of the search results. It even extends its approach as it helps small businesses be found in local searches, map searches, video searches, and others.

Large companies spend millions of dollars on PPC to make sure that they place on top. However, small, as well as medium, businesses will not pay out hundreds or thousands of dollars only to improve their visibility over the Internet. Like you, why will you find it necessary to spend on pay-per-click advertising when you can generate free traffic through effective SEO?

PPC may place your website in higher Internet search ranking – but this is just a possibility. It cannot promise you that whenever an individual types a specific term on the browser, the name of your business will be on the top of the list. This is because there are other companies who bid for that keyword. Hence, it cannot guarantee you Return of Investment (or ROI).

Certainly, there are those that hold a record number of hits because of PPC, but then again it is still a gamble. This is almost the same with traditional advertising where you hope that people who read the magazine where you place your ad will stop to look at your products or services or where you wish that those who watch the TV show will not switch to other channels when your commercial appears. This is why small and medium entrepreneurs do not prefer this.

With SEO, it is not necessary that you spend millions of dollars. A few hundred is enough to hire an SEO specialist. Or, you may want to buy a book or do self-study on how to optimise your search engine ranking. Definitely, you have the full control over your “advertising” cost.

When you look at it from a purely business standpoint, you can’t just look at what your own company is doing. You have to check out the online marketing strategy of your opponents as well. Efficiency is absolutely crucial in this situation.

Your contemporaries might spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for their websites to end up on the first page of a Google search. If you spend a fraction of a percentage of that money to help your website reach the same exact page, you will have gotten more bang for your buck than other companies. You have to spend money to make money, but at some point, you need to take into account diminishing returns.

Consider the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. How will your changes and investments affect the willingness of your consumer to purchase your company’s product? Changing the rates of conversion and traffic are two of the most important aspects of your strategy.
When it comes to conversion, PPC is pretty good at keeping users interested and getting them to visit while it is effective. SEO isn’t too shabby at this but it still lags slightly behind PPC when it comes to pure conversions. On the other hand, traffic is a different story altogether. SEO leads to a permanent increase in traffic for your website. Your website earned a higher ranking by having better content and being optimised for users and search engines alike. PPC on the other hand, won’t give you a long term solution for traffic problems.

When thinking about their online audience, companies often neglect brand awareness in favour of search engine rankings. There is a world of difference between brick and mortar methods of popularizing your brand and the way you would do it in online marketing, but the general concept remains the same. You want people to know your brand by name and you want them to remember it when searching for something. Having the highest possible rank in searches is great for this purpose, but that depends on how long you’re able to keep it. Brand awareness is all about constant exposure to your brand, which is why it might be more effective to keep it in the limelight longer with SEO.

Hiring a web designer to increase your marketing potential might not immediately yield the best results because they are not specialized in the art of getting your money quickly, but they will deliver a result that will attract consumers and keep them coming back for more. Search engines are the main customer you should be worried about. It might take a couple of months to show it, but improving on your SEO strategy will ultimately net you far better numbers if do effectively.

In addition, PPC is a short-term Internet marketing strategy. You are only good as long as you can spend on it. SEO, on the other hand, is long term. The keywords, tags, backlinks, codes, and others that you strategically place in your website will always be there to make sure that your target market finds you.

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