What are SEO and PPC/AdWords, and Which is Best for Your Business?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimisation,” an umbrella term covering all of the many strategies and techniques that can be utilised to improve the ranking of a particular website in search engine results. SEO is geared towards achieving higher search result rankings in a natural or organic way.
Organic search results are unpaid positions in search rankings that are based only on the search engine’s assessment of the page’s relevance and usefulness to the user’s search term.
However, just because SEO is focused on organic results does not mean it’s free. Effective SEO strategy requires a whole lot of analysis to gain deep insights that will inform your future actions, as well as consistent, high-quality content creation, to name just a few skills. This means you will either need to invest your own time into learning SEO fundamentals and implementing a strategy, or hire an SEO specialist to join your team, or trust a reputable agency like Digital Squad to handle all your SEO. Either way, the investment is essential for your business’s future success.
As 92% of all online searches are conducted through the Google search engine, it is the primary focus of any SEO strategy. But SEO doesn’t just boost your Google rankings – it also has a positive effect on other search engines like Yahoo and Bing.
As more and more people turn to search engines for all their daily decisions, big and small, SEO is simply an integral part of any sustainable and rewarding marketing strategy.
SEO does more than just create short-term direct conversions. Ranking highly for search terms relevant to your products or services increases brand trust and awareness over time, leading to a greater likelihood of increased market share further down the road.
For organic results, there is no payment given to the search engine site, which is the primary distinction between SEO and PPC or Google Adwords.
SEO Tactics can be split into two broad categories, on-page and off-page SEO.
On-Page SEO covers the tactics used to optimise individual web pages to make them more crawlable for search engines and valuable to users. This improves page rank and relevance to the particular search queries you’re targeting.
There are a number of essential elements of on-page optimisation including:
- Adapting the HTML
- UX design
- Ensuring device and platform compatibility
- Keyword targeting
- Authorship and Metadata
- Crawler/Bot Accessibility
- Accuracy of URL descriptions
Making a series of on-page SEO improvements will not only improve the visibility and rankings of your web page but also generate other ongoing benefits.
Off-page SEO or off-site SEO refers to all the factors that can’t be swayed by making adjustments to a site’s existing pages.
The main tactic in off-page SEO is building credible backlinks. The more external links leading to a particular domain, the more credible and valuable a website appears to a search engine. There are several different means to acquire valuable links including:
- Social media marketing
- Social bookmarking
There are also non-link related elements that contribute to off-site SEO including:
- Social media marketing
- Guest blogging
- Influencer marketing
What exactly is PPC/Google Adwords?
PPC stands for pay-per-click marketing and is a model of online marketing in which businesses pay for the site visits they obtain through a search results page advertisement. This is the opposite of SEO, in which site visits are achieved organically (free of cost).
The most popular PPC marketing channel is by far Google AdWords. Google AdWords allows businesses to bid for a position in the paid advertisements spot, which is the top 1-4 search results in a Google search (denoted by text underneath the title which says ‘Ad’).
Every time a search is conducted, Google immediately selects from its pool of AdWords campaigns that are targeted towards the keywords being searched for. It then chooses a select few ads that are displayed in sequential order based on a number of criteria. The combination of factors that influence the placement of an AdWords ad includes the relevance of the keywords and copy, the quality of the landing page and the ad, and the maximum bid the company is willing to pay.
It’s worth noting that Google only charges you the minimum needed to outbid your competitors, not the whole maximum bid you’re willing to commit.
Of course, being charged for every generated click is a downside compared to receiving organic traffic, which is free. But PPC can still have a place in your marketing strategy. For specific paid search listings the clicks generated through AdWords beat the click volume of organic traffic by a 2:1 margin, primarily because AdWords ads occupy the prime real estate on search engines. This leads 64% of users to click on an AdWords ad when looking to buy a particular product (Source: Wordstream).
A smart AdWords campaign should work out the exact value of a click on your website, making the amount you bid for the real estate and page visits pale in comparison to the possible revenue you can generate through your ads.
A simple example is to think of a pair of sneakers which cost $100, allowing for a profit of $50 per sale. If you work out that roughly 2% of people who visit the landing page convert (1 in 50), you can determine that your maximum bid should be $1 at most. This approach ensures your AdWords campaign would generate a positive return on investment.
Should you use Google AdWords or just SEO?
For most companies, a combination of both SEO and AdWords is an effective strategy, with both options having their own pros and cons.
Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing strategies like SEO and AdWords offer real time metrics and easy-to-measure ROI. This allows you to scrutinise data and gain an insight into customer behaviour like clicks, click-through-rate, rankings, conversion rates and bounce rates at any given moment.
Another advantage that these digital tactics have over traditional ones is that they can be used to specifically target customers and move them further along the customer journey. If you’re searching for “Tree Pruning services in Hong Kong” for example, you’re much more likely to be ready to invest in that service than someone who just happens to pass by a billboard on arborists as you are already searching with intent.
One of the primary advantages of PPC/AdWords campaigns is that they can achieve immediate results regardless of whether you’re an established company or brand new on the scene.
Because AdWords campaigns offer up data right from the get go, it’s easy to tell whether you are achieving a positive ROI than when it comes to SEO.
However, a huge drawback is that once an AdWords campaign is paused or ended altogether, all the traffic being generated through the campaign will cease right away. SEO, on the other hand, continues to drive leads long after you’ve set it up.
This, of course, means that SEO takes greater time and investment before generating significant results. Factors that improve page ranking such as collecting high-quality backlinks take time, which means that SEO results are continuous, ongoing but also slow.
Once you do secure those first-page results, the pay off will be huge. Each result will also provide you with free traffic, turning your landing pages into a high-performing sales team!
With Digital Squad’s specialised SEO services Hong Kong, you can accelerate your rise to the first page of Google for the search terms that matter most to your business. This will boost your business as your investment will pay you back manifold, generating free leads 24/7!
Our AdWords specialists can also develop and define a campaign that will best target your customers to maximise the ROI you can enjoy in the short to immediate term.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to choose either AdWords or SEO – both are complementary tactics that work wonderfully in unison. You should be running AdWords campaigns to generate those immediate short-term leads while creating content and enhancing SEO for longer term, sustainable success.
Need help with either or both? Get in touch with a digital marketing agency Hong Kong. The team at Digital Squad can help you with Remarketing, Facebook Marketing Hong Kong, AdWords Marketing Hong Kong and SEO Hong Kong.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive strategy that takes care of all your digital strategies, including social media marketing Hong Kong, Google Shopping Hong Kong, Bing ads and Google display network ads, we are here to help you out. Contact us and find out how you can improve your conversions!