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PPC vs SEO – Which Is The Better Option?

The stats around Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is quite mind-boggling. A full 97% of Google’s revenue comes from PPC advertising. This totals to a whopping $21 billion annually. For a company which owns YouTube, Android, WhatsApp and dozens of other profitable brands, the sheer percentage it gets from PPC speaks volumes about how lucrative PPC is.

PPC & SEO Cleveland

A glance at AdWords (Google’s PPC program) reveals why it is such a cash cow for Google. Here’s a snapshot of the top 10 most expensive keywords on Google AdWords, and the top Cost Per Click (CPC) for each of the top 5.

  1. Insurance ($54.91)
  2. Loans ($44.28)
  3. Mortgage ($47.12)
  4. Attorney ($47.07)
  5. Credit ($36.06)

The rest of the top 10 are (6) Lawyer, (7) Donate, (8) Degree, (9) Hosting, and (10) Claim. The top CPC for “hosting” and “claim” are $31.91 and $45.51 respectively. If this seems a contradiction, then it is important to note that the figures are for “Top CPC” i.e. the highest CPC recorded for the keyword. Their ranking though is based on average Top CPC.

Why should you care about these stats?

The reason is simple. Because Google is the king of search engines. If you want your web presence to count, you need to be on Google. And Google provides you with two options to rank highly on its Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). These are PPC and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You could also refer to these as “paid search” and “organic search”.

Paid Search vs Organic Search

PPC is the paid search. You basically pay Google to include you onto the SERPs related to specific keywords. If you Google up anything, you can see the paid search results at the top of the SERP. They usually have a little box with the word “Ad” immediately to the left of the link.

As the name suggests, every time someone clicks on the link, you pay Google a specific fee. The fee can range from a few cents to – as the above figures indicate – tens of dollars. This option can be quite costly for someone with a limited advertising budget. The costs are especially biting if visitors to your website don’t end up making any purchases.

SEO is the organic search. You don’t pay Google anything to get onto the SERPs. Google’s search algorithm simply ranks your websites using a number of metrics (e.g. content quality, content authority, number of backlinks, user experience, etc). The websites are then presented in SERPs in the order of their rank in the search algorithm.

Google Search E-Commerce Statistics

Google isn’t the only beneficiary of its search engine. Businesses are willing to pay as much as $54.91 per click because they know that the right kind of traffic can be quite lucrative.

The following e-commerce statistics prove this:

PPC vs SEO – Choose One or Both?

The above statistics clearly show that both PPC and SEO are key drivers of e-commerce. The ultimate question is: which option should you as a website owner choose? Should you opt for one, or both? If you’re to opt for one: which one should it be?

Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers to these questions. The best option for any particular business will depend on a number of factors. We’ll not get into those factors here. However, let’s take a more detailed look at both PPC and SEO.

The statistics above show that SEO clearly beats PPC when it comes to both generating traffic and driving online sales. This means that SEO is the best option, right? Well, YES, but not in the short run.

For SEO to generate the positive results, you need to invest some time. To truly benefit from SEO, you need to rank among the first SERPs. This is easier said than done. For your SEO efforts to pay off, you may need to put in 6 to 12 months of continuous effort. That is quite a long time.

For PPC, the process is much quicker. As soon as you select the right keywords and format your ad perfectly, you can be up and running in a couple of days. Of course you have to set up your landing pages, as well. The point here is that setting up the AdWords campaign is far easier when compared to the SEO route.

The challenge with PPC is the cost. Let’s say that you’re paying $5 per click. If 1,000 people click on your ads – and none of them makes a purchase – that’s $5,000 down the drain. For a multinational company with a huge advertising budget, that will be nothing. But for a start-up, that can be a significant expense.

To make matters worse, established brands sometimes deliberately bid higher on keywords just to freeze out newcomers. That is how you get to costs of over $50 per click. If your competition has hundreds of thousands in advertising dollars (and you don’t), then you’ll be unlikely to compete favorably.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for PPC. For non-competitive keywords, the cost can as low as $0.05 per click. Even for competitive keywords, CPC isn’t the only metric Google considers when selecting ads. The keyword relevance, quality of content, quality of landing page and other metrics are also considered. As such, even if you don’t tip the scale in terms of your CPC, you can still compete favorably on other metrics.

In Summary – What is the best Option?

The best option is to have a long-term SEO strategy, and use PPC for achieving short-term goals. For instance, if you’re launching a new product or service, you can use PPC to get the word out. The same applies if you’re just starting to establish a web presence.

Similarly, you can use PPC during peak business period or seasons. This will depend on the nature of your business. If your business has periods where purchases spike (e.g. tour and travel businesses in the summer or general supplies businesses during the holiday period), then PPC can be effectively used during such periods. The greatest advantage of Google AdWords is that you can turn your campaign on an off whenever you like.

Perhaps the best news is that PPC and SEO aren’t mutually exclusive. An investment in PPC ultimately contributes towards SEO. It does so not just by driving web traffic, but because the other PPC metrics (i.e. content quality, keyword relevance and landing page quality) are also great for boosting SEO. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel choosing PPC will take anything away from SEO. Just don’t forget to have the bigger picture in mind.

9 Basic Steps You Can Take To Make Your Website Optimized For SEO

Optimize your website SEOMost website owners are secretly intimidated by SEO. Few though, ever admit it out loud. If you own a website, then you probably know what am talking about. You fully appreciate the importance of SEO. However, you’re secretly freaked out by it. You assume it to be this complex, unknowable and ever-changing phenomenon that is about to lay to waste all the hard work you have done in making your website top-notch.

After all, what is the point of having a top-notch website if no one can locate it on the web?

Such fears though, are uncalled for. Granted, the technical aspects of SEO require some getting used to. However, it is not impossibly difficult to master the basics. The simple fact is that although SEO is a science (as well as an art), it is not rocket science.

This means that anyone can begin the process of prepping their website for SEO. The technical term is “optimization”. The ultimate question is: how can anyone optimize their website for search engines? Well, here are 9 simple steps to begin with:

  1. Descriptive Page Titles

The first step towards optimization is ensuring that each page on your website has a descriptive title. Please note that the title is what appears in the <title> tag. A page title is displayed in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

The title of each page should be descriptive of the content in the page. It should also contain the specific keywords or phrases associated with the page.

  1. Keywords Within Web Content

Another important step in optimization by embedding keywords into your website content. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized. In fact, without keywords, there is no SEO. The reason for this is that keywords are what search engines use to help people to find content.

Therefore, it is essential to put your keywords within your web content. However, when doing this, make sure to avoid keyword stuffing. Target a keyword density of 1 to 3%. Also, make sure that keywords are inserted in a grammatically correct manner. There is so much more to keywords. But the bottom line is that they have to be embedded within your web content.

  1. Site Map

A site map is one yet another important step you can take to optimize your website. This is because web-crawlers use site maps to decide how to index a site. You can use a site map to guide a crawler on which pages you want to index and the ones you do not. This provides you with some way of controlling how search engines index your website.

  1. Descriptive Anchor Text

Another technique for optimizing your website is ensuring that the anchor text used on links is descriptive.  This makes it easier for web crawlers to carry out indexing for your site. The exact mechanism by which they do this too complex to explore here. However, just bear in mind that a descriptive anchor text like “50% discount” is better for SEO than the generic “click here”.

  1. Responsive Web Design

Nowadays, people access websites across a wide spectrum of devices. For instance, people can use smartphones, tablets and wide-screen monitors. A critical step in optimization is making the website accessible across devices. The best way to assure this is through Responsive Web Design (RWD). Having a responsive website ensures that your SERP rankings will be maintained irrespective of the device used when searching for your keywords.

  1. User Experience (UX)

Search engines like Google now consider user experience when indexing websites. A positive user experience can thus improve SEO. The question is, how do search engines measure UX? Well, the first aspect is the loading speed i.e. how fast does your website load on different devices?

Other aspects of UX include site navigation, ease of finding content and bounce rate. If your website has a high bounce rate, then search engines judge that your UX isn’t good – that is why most people who are coming are leaving immediately.

  1. Internal Cross Linking

A simple, yet powerful optimization technique is by using internal cross links. These are basically links to other pages within the website. This provides two advantages. First of all, it enables search engines to understand what each page is about. Secondly, it improves user experience by simplifying locating related content on your website.

  1. Social Media Sharing

Social media is now a major criterion used when ranking websites. The amount of sharing, comments and likes around your content can boost your SEO. As such, a great way to optimize your page is to include social media sharing buttons. This can enable visitors to like, share or interact with your content, and thus boost its popularity on social media.

  1. Relevant and Evergreen Content

Although mentioned last, this is actually the most important aspect of optimization. A critical criterion used by search engines to rank websites is the quality of content. The higher the quality, the greater your rankings. The reason for this is simple: search engines want to provide people with the best content possible under any given keyword or phrase.

Therefore, to keep your website optimized, you need to provide an endless supply of web content which is unique, attractive and very relevant to your visitors’ needs. This will keep visitors returning, make other websites to link to your site, and ultimately establish your authority in your particular keyword niche.

Summary

When all is said and done, SEO isn’t this mysterious, unconquerable beast. It is something which almost anyone can master. The basics of optimization can be carried out by anyone. So, if you have a website, you can get started by performing the customization steps listed above.

If you prefer that your SEO is handled by experts, then 216 Marketing is here to help. Just contact us right away, and we shell provide you with the best optimization needed for your website.

It’s 2017 – Are you practicing good SEO?

Audience-driven results

If you can’t find you online, neither can your customers. That’s where SEO will help you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) defines the culmination of many components of your website that increase your online presence and findability. “Good” SEO is developed with your target audience in mind.

How do they search, research and shop for your services?

Where are they going for information?

What information are they looking for?

How should you talk to them?

Providing content, tools and support that answers these questions helps deliver the right leads to your site, and converts these leads into customers who trust you for guidance and to get them results. And as the most cost-effective marketing strategy, SEO sounds logical, right? Great, so let’s get started!

Oh hold on…so, I need to optimize my email, social channels, a blog and what else? What is keyword research? Google algorithm…sounds like a disease? Backlinks? Ugh…more like I need a back massage! How am I supposed to keep track of all of this AND keep growing my business?

Cleveland SEO Experts at your service

Even if you don’t have the team, or the time, to dedicate to optimizing your digital presence for search engines, there are many companies you can turn to to help boost your page rankings and increase your site’s traffic. There are even many companies who boast “big results for big clients”. And many of these companies are focused heavily on their ping pong scores and selling the sweetest company swag.

We are not one of those companies. We are 216 Marketing, a newly established digital marketing company in Cleveland, Ohio. As a small business, we specialize in helping small businesses grow their online presence and lead generation. Our digital marketing experts carry more than 20 years of physical and digital advertising experience and customer service. As seasoned marketing vets, our goal is to understand your business objectives in order to develop strategies that will help you build relationships with your customers. Through integrated content marketing, we will help you increase the performance of your marketing efforts by engaging and converting your target audience.

We are here and are here to stay.