PPC vs SEO
With all of the PPC ad (pay per click) companies out there, you may have been convinced that PPC is the way to go for getting found online. PPC and SEO (search engine optimization) Companies are abundant and easy to find – but most of them require long-term contracts and no real guarantees, and generally rely heavily on PPC or fake inbound link building to get your website found. In the long run, if they're building inbound links on hidden or fake networks of blogs, it could actually hurt your website SEO rankings! So before hiring any SEO or PPC companies, read on...
While I don't think that PPC ads are totally without warrant, I don't think they are the best or the only approach to take when it comes to getting your website found online. In fact, I think investing in your own website and it's content is far more valuable long-term than PPC could ever be. PPC can be used as a compliment to a good SEO plan that includes ongoing content creation on your website, but don't use PPC as your only method of getting found online!
Do your own SEO – Become the Online Expert
To get found in search engines, you must become the online expert in what you want to be found for. For example, if you're a garden nursery in Colorado, you will want to optimize your website to have page titles, meta tags, image alt tags and content that include the keywords of the city or area you reside in, along with terms like "garden nursery" and "plant nursery" and "plant store". Keeping your homepage updated regularly with sales, new products, events, etc also helps Google see that your website is current and new.
Adding Content Regularly: You want to keep adding new content and pages over time. Blogs are great ways to easily do this, as a blog is simply a "page builder" that builds a separate page for each article you post in the blog. So you could write about "best plant store in San Diego, California," or "top garden nursery in San Diego," or "San Diego Garden Nursery Sale," etc. If you don't like writing, invest in a copywriter to help you write new content for your website. Here are a few ideas to help you come up with content:
What are your customers' most commonly asked questions? Build a page or write a blog article about each one.
Top Tips – what advice do you give to your customers? Put your advice in a top 10 list!
How To Directions & Video – provide how to's on how your services or products work. Create videos, upload to YouTube, and link to a page or blog post with the video and more info.
Infographics – hire an infographic designer to help you create informative, fun, and useful infographics relating to your business or services. You can turn Top Ten Tips lists into infographics, or create diagrams of how your service or product works. Think about something that people may share on social media, and create it!
Use Social Media to share your content!
Use social media to promote your new content: make sure to get a Google+ Business Page, a business Facebook page, Pinterest page, LinkedIn profile, and any other social media outlets that your customers use. Post links to your new pages or blog posts regularly to drive traffic. Google and other search engines now use your engagement on social media as a qualifier for better ranking.
PPC to Supplement your SEO
To supplement your own ongoing SEO content creation on your website, using PPC such as Google AdWords to bring in extra traffic can help get your website found quickly. PPC is great when having a Weekend Sale, or to use during your slow season to help bring in more customers. I also believe that if you grease Google's AdWords wheel a bit by paying for a few months of AdWords (even if it's a small amount, like $50 a month), I think Google may reward your website by moving it higher in the rankings. Of course, Google would never admit to this, but I think that somewhere in their search algorithms they are rewarding websites that invest money in PPC Adwords, because it legitimizes the website and business more so than those who don't spend money on advertising. I think this is especially true of new websites, as it helps Google find and index the websites quicker as you're using AdWords to drive traffic and collect stats on that traffic.
PPC Companies – are they any good?
While there are plenty of companies who would sell you PPC services, you can fairly easily setup your own Google AdWords account and play around with it. Opt for the pay as you go plan, or specify your daily limit (anywhere from $2-$100+) to something that fits in your budget. Start small, create a few ads, and see how it works before committing to larger daily budgets. Believe me – because you care about your business, you will most likely do a better job at figuring out what ads and keywords work best for your business than any of the many PPC companies will do, and you can use your entire budget on clicks vs. their PPC services. If you need help getting setup with Google AdWords, such as getting a few ads setup and some initial training, contact me and I get you setup and started on Google AdWords.
Once you go live with some ads, you can also use your PPC statistics to figure out what people are actually searching for, and what keywords get the most ad clicks. Then, you can use this information when optimizing your site. For example, you may find that using "San Diego Plant Shop" gets more ad clicks than "San Diego Plant Nursery" – so you could optimize your homepage or subpages or blog posts with the better keywords.
Conclusion – is PPC better than SEO?
No, PPC is NOT better than SEO. The main thing you should be doing is creating good original new content for your website and keep it updated often! Use PPC as a supplement to this, but make sure you're building good content on your website. The more information you provide, the more likely customers are going to find, share and bookmark your website.
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