Search Engine Optimization: A Better Alternative for Small Businesses

Search Engine Optimization (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.

In 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 for 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 channel when your commercial appears. This is why small and medium entrepreneurs do not prefer this.

In 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 a self-study on how to optimize your search engine ranking. Definitely, you have the full control over your “advertising” cost.

In addition, PPC is a short-term Internet marketing strategy. You are only good as long as you can spend for 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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