The choice to boost traffic to your website boils down to two options: search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC).
You can build traffic by achieving high rankings in organic or natural search results. It takes time to convince Google - or another search engine - to rank you before your competition but the effort is worth the investment.
Alternatively, you can direct traffic to your website through the a search engine’s advertising program - Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and others. You pay the search engine a fee. In return, your website is placed on top of organic results; almost always in the Sponsored Content section.
Many businesses, when they learn about SEO and PPC, inevitably ask Zorbis: “Which of the two is better?” The answer depends on your needs and goals. For businesses with deep pockets, PPC offers a quick way to generate traffic. For those with more modest means, SEO is probably the better strategy.
Budget is the most important factor to consider when you are deciding between PPC and SEO. First, decide if you have a budget to afford a minimum of $5 or $10 for a PPC campaign. If you have the money, go for it. If you are short on funds, stick to free SEO methods.
It is advisable to run at least one PPC campaign. It has many advantages, such as:
(a) Faster results - more chances of making a sale
(b) Rapid testing - learn about your customers quickly
(c) Immune to SEO updates - Updates from search engines can wreck your entire SEO strategy. PPC is immune to changes in search algorithms.
Zorbis’ advice: Start with a small budget and a highly targeted campaign, and couple PPC with SEO.
Cost-per-click (CPC) rates
CPC rates vary widely. For instance, if you are in the car insurance business and run a search for the keyword “car insurance online” in the Google External Keyword Research Tool, you will notice the CPC to be less than $3. But if your business covers a wide range of vehicles - trucks, cars, and others - the CPC rates (“auto insurance”) can rise to as much as $28.
Zorbis’ advice: Find out the CPC rates for your industry before you commit yourself to a PPC campaign. The higher the CPC, the more convincing the case for SEO.
The Google External Keyword Research Tool lets you determine search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keywords. It is hard to bring your website come on top for keywords with high SERP scores; these scores indicate tough competition.
Zorbis’ advice: PPC is an attractive method to bring traffic to your website in highly competitive domains.
The choice between PPC and SEO is not always antagonistic. In fact, Zorbis would suggest that enterprises should adopt a strategy that involves both methods. It is a winning approach.