Building a website is only half of the battle. The second half is driving qualified visitors to your website. A qualified visitor is anyone who would have a direct interest in your product or service. One of the best places to find qualified visitors is through search engines. What better time to sell a product than when someone is actively looking for it? The only way this person will see your website is if you have an organic/natural listing (the results found on the left side of a Google search) or you have paid for a listing (on the right side of a Google search).
There are two kinds of search: organic search and paid search.
Organic search is based on unpaid, natural rankings determined by search engine algorithms, and can be optimised with various SEO (Search engine Optimisation) practices, requiring a skilled SEO expert to optimise your site, and manage the campaign to ensure results.
Paid search allows you to pay to have your website displayed on the search engine results page when someone types in specific keywords or phrases. You then pay a fee each time someone clicks on your ads. This fee is determined by the cost of the keyword (competitive ones are more expensive, less competitive are cheaper) and what position you have set the ad to show in (position #1 costs more than position #10).
In an ideal world, a strong online marketing strategy uses both search engine optimisation 9Organic search) and paid search to get the best results.
These two forms of Internet Marketing are completely independent from each other, and each possess their own strengths and weaknesses.
The immediate advantage of organic search engine optimisation is that organic listings tend to be generally more trusted by searchers than paid listings. Most searchers are savvy enough to realise that if you have deep enough pockets you can skew the results in paid search in your favour which can sometimes lead to a lack of relevance – meaning that when you perform a search for a particular topic or keyword, the ad that shows in the paid listings may not necessarily be 100% relevant to your search but the owner of the ad is trying to convince you to their way of thinking or whatever it is they are trying to sell you. Highly ranked (top 10) organic positions also attract far greater attention than top paid positions, and as a result achieve higher clicks.
Another advantage is that you don’t have to pay for each and every click you receive. So if you select the right search engine optimisation company, you should be paying a flat fixed fee per month, no matter how many visitors you get – which should grow every month during the campaign.
The disadvantage of organic search is that it can be tricky to get top rankings if you don’t know what you are doing. Organic search also takes time to achieve great results for your most competitive keywords, expect to see good results in the first month, but the best results (that include great rankings for your most competitive keywords) will take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to deliver their best results.
Google uses complex ranking algorithms to determine which websites will be listed nearest the top of the page. If your website isn’t properly optimised, you could be losing out.
The obvious disadvantage of paid search is that you have to pay for every click. Paid search is also commonly referred to as pay per click (PPC) marketing. The rate you are charged per click varies upon your market and your preferred ranking. A company paying $0.30/click will likely not rank above a company paying $0.40/click (there are some exceptions but for simplicity sake, this holds true).
The immediate advantage of Paid Search is that it is immediate. You can implement a Paid search campaign in a matter of hours and begin receiving clicks straight away.
Another advantage of paying per click is that you have complete control over which terms your website will be listed under– in real time (as you can edit it on the fly).
Be smart and do the sums on paid search. Work out how many clicks it takes you on average to make a sale, and what the average cost of those clicks was, and what the average sale amount was. So it might take you an average of 12 clicks costing $1.00 per click to make a $40.00 sale. So it cost you $12.00 to make a $40.00 sale. Always make sure that this is tracked closely to ensure that you are not paying $45.00 to make a $40.00 sale. A good Paid Search expert or company will handle this for you as part of their management of a PPC campaign for you.
The right choice for your business and website depends on your particular needs, desires and budget. Most websites benefit most from utilising a combination of these two approaches, but we understand it is not always possible to budget for both. Using PPC marketing can help you gain immediate return on your budget, and quickly identify your best performing keywords, while implementing a longer-term SEO strategy will increase your chances of ranking well in the organic listings which will yield excellent dividends.
Either way, don’t build a website and then refuse to perform Organic or Paid Search on it, as you will be missing out on valuable sales by going down such a path.
- Sunil Jain is the Online Marketing Manager at Newpath WEB
This entry was posted on Friday, May 4th, 2012 at 5:54 am and is filed under SEO & Online Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.