With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising a business can display advertisements through a search engine and is only charged when a user clicks on them. Ultimately, this ensures that a business is only paying when a user shows interest in their product, and lets the business scale the advertising budget according to the size of the market it is attempting to reach.
PPC is held in contrast to search engine optimization (SEO), which builds a website ranking organically. SEO is a proven set of practices for growing traffic for a website, and ultimately customers. How does PPC compare?
The cost per click with SEO is technically free – with the caveat that a business must pay for the expertise needed to execute and maintain the strategy. PPC allows a business to set an amount per click based on its budget and potential reach. A technique for comparing the cost of the two different approaches is to find the cost per click of the top 10-20 targeted keywords, average the cost, then use it in conjunction with the amount of search traffic to determine the value of the effort.
One issue with PPC is that the costs can quickly add up. Though it is reassuring that advertising money is only spent on potential customers who viewed and clicked through to the website, this also means that the amount spent is placed in the hands of strangers. However, caps can be placed on the amount spent per unit of time or a maximum budget can be set.
A PPC campaign is an expense that can build traffic to a website rapidly, but once the spending is done the traffic will end as well. SEO, on the other hand, is organic in nature and when a ranking is built up, the traffic will tend to continue steadily.
It should also be noted that PPC solves the problem of traffic, but not the problem of conversion. It is possible to have a million visitors, but if the website is not up to par, not enough conversions may occur to justify the cost. SEO addresses the content of the website itself which means that both traffic and site quality are being addressed.
Though there are pros and cons to both of these approaches, any strategy for increasing an online presence and converting customers requires technical knowledge, design knowledge, and sustained management of all aspects of the campaign.
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