BlogSEO & Online Marketing Updates

The Marriage of SEO & Web Design – Getting The Best of Both Worlds

By | Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, Web Design

In sales, we focus on getting leads and then converting them. One does not work without the other. A company that is getting a lot of leads but is not converting them, will likely take steps rather soon to find where the problem lies in their funnel. But websites often don’t enjoy the same level of diligence, even though they have the potential of being one of your greatest sales assets.

Our specialty is to generate traffic for our clients, specifically highly targeted organic traffic. But the real ROI is when this traffic converts into leads, phone calls, and new business. And this ultimately depends on your web design.

We have the pleasure of our Director and head of SEO, Abrar Patel and our guest Irwin Hau, Founder and Director of multi-award-winning web design agency, Chromatix, who are specialists in custom websites, here today to share their thoughts on how to marry SEO and Website to get the most out of any website launch.

Let’s get them to answer some common questions that people often have about websites:

What are the top 3 areas to consider with your area of expertise?

Abrar: Vision, timeframe and budget.
Vision, because it is important to have a clear understanding of what you’re getting yourself into with SEO and if it fits into your long-term vision for your business. Timeframe, because SEO is not for the impatient and if your business does not have firm foundations or a steady stream of clients and you need to see an ROI yesterday, you will be frustrated with SEO. And finally, budget because we find that companies that have allocated marketing budgets make it through till the effects kick in whereas businesses that have to overextend themselves to invest in SEO, often give up in a few months.

Irwin: User journey, attraction, credibility checks.
User journeys should be the heart of any site. The magic behind websites is understanding the user journey and behaviour. Without an understanding of digital user psychology and gaining insight into how your user is interacting with your site, you’ll never get the customer to the end action point of the site.
Attraction, or engagement, is all about getting an amazing first impression that continues to allure the user to stay and interact with the site. As the user explores and navigates through the site, the aim is to connect with the user through a series of images, icons, text and touch points.
The website at the end of the day is a sales piece and usually acts as a reputation builder. Credibility points are important for a site to help establish confidence for the client. Examples of these include awards, association logos, testimonials, case studies, affiliates, partners, etc. These all help to establish trust, which ultimately aims to tip users into contacting/touching base.

 

Why is your area of expertise so important for business besides ROI?

Abrar: Organic traffic does for your website what organic food does for your body. It takes time to work but there is nothing better than a website that is always prospecting for you. Google does not want you to rank, they want you to pay for every click. And what we do helps to ensure that your business does not rely on paid traffic in the long-term.

Irwin: A great website design can set your business apart from your competitors and helps to keep your company brand memorable. It also helps to establish your brand values visually and keeps your brand image looking consistent both online and offline. Strength in your site presentation increases consumer trust and brand size perception in the market.

 

How does collaborating with other specialists help you provide a greater service?

Abrar: Very much like different medical specialists working together on a patient’s health, a website needs a range of specialists to really perform at its best. To maximize the leads a website can generate, it needs the right design, the right copywriting, multiple traffic sources and tracking analytics. Collaborating with other specialists helps us provide a better service for our clients without having to claim that we’re experts in things that we’re not.

Irwin: There are many things I’ve learned over the last 9 years of running a business. One key thing is that you cannot be a master of everything. Each role in the digital industry has a unique part to play and requires researching, testing, training, and practical experience. By leveraging off teams that have geared themselves to be the best in their industry, you get the best of both worlds. You also end up having 2 different perspectives on the same piece which makes for a much stronger and robust solution.

power of collaborating with other digital experts; team of web design and SEO experts in Melbourne; web design specialists; SEO specialists;

What could I (the client) do to supplement the specialist work you guys do to get greater ROI?

Abrar: There’s a lot of buzz about content marketing these days. The truth is, that if your website is not seen as an authority in your field by Google, it doesn’t matter how much content you publish, it is not going to get much traction. But when combined with SEO, content marketing can be an excellent traffic generation strategy. Generally, 3 months into an SEO campaign, we recommend to all our clients that it is a good idea to publish articles that include longer versions of their keywords. As the site grows in its width, SEO and content marketing can really complement each other.

Irwin: As much as it is a website launch once you go live, it’s also a great PR opportunity. We encourage clients to plan for the launch of their sites and to leverage their networks in spreading the word. Everything from Linkedin, Facebook, email blast, simply get the news out there and be proud of your new site. Also, continue to keep your content on your site fresh and up to date, the last thing you want is for your website to speak of services you don’t provide any more or that you’re not featuring the latest and greatest of what’s going on in your business. Set up a content calendar or schedule for yourself to review the site.

Any final thoughts or tips you would give someone considering developing their site?

Abrar: I would recommend that you get SEO and copywriting involved from the beginning. Too often, we get clients who have spent thousands on their website but the way the site has been set up is so poorly optimized for SEO that we actually have to go back to the designer and work with them to restructure the site, which of course adds further costs for the client. Things like URL structure and Keyword Analysis/Planning make up the skeleton of the website and getting it right from the beginning means you’re building your website on a firm foundation.

Irwin: Like buying a car, you need to make sure it is maintained well to ensure it lasts the distance. With security updates, plugin amends and CMS changes, it’s vital to ensure that everything is kept up to date and maintained regularly. We strongly recommend this be done everything 2-3 months – depending on your industry. For businesses where your site is imperative to your daily operations, we recommend monthly to remove the stress of having a site down and to provide peace of mind. It’s also very important to have analytics running through your site so that you’re able to track and understand the insights of your user. Continue to review your Google Analytics and evolve the website accordingly based on the insights it provides. The website is not a static piece but an evolving beast which develops as your business grows.

Final Thoughts & Tips

Here are some key tips to consider if you’re not fully satisfied with what your current website is doing for your business :

  • When you do both SEO & web design together and plan for it from the beginning, you save money in the long run.
    A site built correctly will not only empower you to edit the site content quickly and efficiently yourself, it will also ensure that your SEO consultant can focus on the more advanced techniques which can be done quickly and simply.
  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Have a strategy from day 1 and involve both web design & SEO specialists with the end in mind.
  • Ongoing collaboration with your SEO and web design consultants is important.
    Your Google Analytics will show how your customers are interacting with your site and you need to evolve it to match the user flows and journeys. You can also use our SEO audit tool to see how well your website is currently optimized.
  • Google’s algorithms are fickle as ever. They continue to change so you need to keep up to date with the latest algorithm changes – your competitors are continuously pushing for top spot so you have to maintain that momentum.
  • Make sure your SEO and Web Design consultants along with each other or else it can get challenging to manage even the simplest tasks.
    Experienced specialists should be able to work hand in hand so that they deliver the best result in a collaborative fashion

SEO & web design are intrinsically related and for a website to perform at its best, you’re going to need both.

Pop-up Ads: Does Google Hate Them?

By | Internet Marketing Service, Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, SEO News & Updates, seo tips

The internet as we know it today wasn’t always the way it is. Advertisers saw the potential reach of the internet back in the early 90s and started using it aggressively to advance their marketing goals. And the pursuit of capturing the internet user’s undivided attention resulted in the creation of the revolutionary pop-up ad. Today we’ll be discussing how pop-up ads were invented and why Google has come to severely penalize websites that use them.

First, let’s talk about where pop-up Ads came from and their history…

Pop-Up Ads: A Brief History

Back in the early 90s, there were less than 4 million internet users in the entire world. But the internet was gaining popularity at a swift pace and by 1995 the total number had grown to 16 million people. This rapid growth was something that marketers and advertisers could no longer ignore and soon the world of online advertising was born.

The first online ads were nothing more than images with some marketing text in them. These are now more commonly referred to as banner ads.

By the late 90s, online advertising was commonplace and advertisers were working hard at finding new ways of getting the internet user’s attention. But there was a problem. Advertising technology was still in its infancy and that led to online ads being placed on random websites. As one car company found out when they realized that their ads were being served on an adult website, which they believed would negatively affect the reputation of their brand. Thus, online advertisers had to find a way of disassociating the ad from the website they were being served on. This effort indirectly led to the invention of the pop-up ad.

Ethan Zuckerman, the inventor of the pop-up ad, designed it to cover a part of the website’s content underneath it. The pop-up ad had its own design so it stood out from the website it was being served on. This created a strong disconnect between the website and the ad itself and so the reputation of the brand being advertised would stay intact (in theory), while ads could still be served freely on any kind of website.

The pop-up ad proved to be a hugely popular way of advertising online. By 1997, popular websites such as AOL and the New York Times were pushing advertising through pop-ups.

This popularity was one of the major reasons for the pop-up ad’s demise. It was being overused, and that led to people being frustrated because of the way it hindered access to a website’s content. A study conducted in 2004 found that 95% of internet users reacted negatively to pop-up ads.

How Pop-Up Ads Work

Pop-up ads work through the use of web page scripts (predominantly JavaScript) that allow them to jump in front of the website’s content. Pop-ups may appear as separate windows or as part of the web page, obscuring the content of the web page being accessed, to instantly catch the attention of the visitor.

Pop-up ads are designed to deliver “in your face” advertising. They’re something that cannot be missed and usually needs to be closed. Because the pop-up is guaranteed to get at least one click (meant to close it), it can be misused to instead redirect that click to another website. This is why most people find pop-up ads to be a deceptive or misleading form of advertising. In worst case scenarios, pop-up ads have been known to run malicious scripts designed to collect sensitive data or install spyware.

What Google Thinks of Pop-Up Ads

As annoying as pop-up ads were, they were never really on Google’s radar and as such the search results of a website with pop-up ads weren’t affected. That quickly changed as smartphones gained popularity and a bulk of searches started to come from mobile devices.

From 2015 onwards, Google started implementing some new search engine measures that favored websites providing good mobile user experiences. The first of these measures was the mobile update which was announced in the autumn of 2014 and rolled out on April 21st, 2015. This update included search results which showed a “Mobile-friendly” label for websites that had been optimized for mobile devices.

Google SERP Penalties for Intrusive Pop-Ups

The push for better mobile user experiences led to Google penalizing websites that showed intrusive pop-up ads (or interstitials, as the company calls them) in early 2017. According to Google, an intrusive pop-up is anything that takes unreasonable amounts of screen real estate and generally impedes the user’s access to a website’s main content. The following are clear examples given by Google of pop-ups it deems to be intrusive:

  • A pop-up/interstitial that is displayed on top of a page’s main content immediately after a user has navigated to that web page from Google search results. This can also include pop-ups/interstitials that are displayed while the user is reading the content.
  • A pop-up/interstitial that forces the visitor to dismiss/close it before the content of the page underneath can be accessed.
  • A pop-up/interstitial which has been incorporated into the design of the page and appears at the above-the-fold portion of the page, with the original page content appearing after the interstitial.

Examples of Pop-ups/Interstitials that negatively affect Google SERP rankings

This, however, shouldn’t be confused as a blanket ban on the use of pop-ups, for advertising or otherwise. Google just wants to discourage the use of intrusive pop-up ads that lead to a sub-par mobile user experience. The company has set clear guidelines for the types of pop-ups/interstitials that will not cause penalties for websites:

  • Pop-ups/interstitials that have to be used due to a website’s legal obligations. These can be age verification dialogs (for websites with mature content) or cookie-usage policy disclosures.
  • Pop-ups/interstitials that block access to a website that provides paid access to its content. The interstitials could be used for providing customers a way to login or to block the general public from accessing the original content of the page. An example of this would be news websites where a user needs to pay a monthly or weekly fee to be able to access the website’s content.
  • Pop-ups/interstitials/banners that take a small amount of screen real estate and can be easily closed by the user. Some common examples of this would be notification prompts or app-install banners that are shown in an above-the-fold portion of a website.

Examples of pop-ups/interstitials that are permissible according to Google

The Reasons Behind Google’s Dislike for Pop-Ups

1. Pop-Ups Lead to Subpar Mobile User Experience

Smartphones have limited screen real estate due to small physical display sizes. A pop-up ad can potentially take up all of the screen’s available space, thus forcing the user to either dismiss or follow through on what the Ad wants. This leads to frustrated users and a bad mobile experience in general.

2. Pop-Ups Disrupt the User Experience

The pop-up was invented to create a strong disassociation between ads and the websites they were being served on. Needless to say, this clearly hints at the fact that pop-ups rarely deliver content that is relevant to the website’s visitors. Not only that, but they’re also frustrating to encounter as they hinder access to what the user is really there for – the website’s content.

3. Pop-Ups Encourage Aggressive Advertising Tactics

Pop-ups have been designed to grab a user’s attention whether they like it or not. Pop-ups that are displayed successfully will always be able to show their content to the user. This has given advertisers the opportunity to include ‘click-bait’ content that is designed to get the most amounts of clicks. The focus here is not on the quality or relevance of the ad, just the number of clicks it can get from visitors.

Important Factors of Pop-Ups that Impact SEO

Pop-up ads can have a direct impact on the overall success of the SEO strategy of a website, even when Google’s penalties are not taken into account.  The following factors should be considered when implementing pop-up ads on a website:

1. Timing

The timing of a pop-up ad can often decide whether it’s going to be considered as intrusive and frustrating by the user. Pop-ups that are displayed immediately after a webpage is accessed, are deemed intrusive by both Google and most internet users.

As such, it is advisable to display such pop-ups after the user has browsed a certain length of content on the page. Ideally, pop-ups should be displayed when the user has reached the end of the content and is likely to leave the page. If the user likes the content, they’re more likely to click on the pop-up and not leave with a bad impression of the website.

2. Interaction

A pop-up should be easily dismissible by the user. This can include a clear “X” mark at the corner of the pop-up or a button which closes the pop-up ad. Considerations should be made to close the pop-up if the user clicks outside of the pop-up (this shows intent to access content).

Final Thoughts

The pop-up ad has revolutionized the way online advertising is delivered to web users. However, user response to this has been overwhelmingly negative. That is why most modern web browsers now include built-in pop-up blockers. But the pop-up ad is not going to disappear any time soon – it still remains a reliable way of capturing the attention of a website’s visitors.

Why SEO Takes Time & Is It Worth It?

By | Internet Marketing Service, Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, seo tips

Many disgruntled website owners turn to SEO to improve their search engine visibility and rankings. But they soon find out that even after months of painstaking SEO, the website’s performance in search engines shows little signs of improvement. At this point, many of these owners will start questioning their SEO consultants and their capabilities.

why search engine optimization takes time to workThis is mostly because marketing through online ads produces swift results, and many website owners get the wrong idea that SEO will do a similar job for them. The truth of the matter is that SEO takes time. But if it takes time, is it worth it in the end? In this post, we’ll be discussing the answers to these important questions.

Why SEO Takes Time to Work

Competitor Analysis is Tricky and Takes Time to Perfect

There’s a great chance that many other online companies are selling products and services very similar to yours. These are your competitors and the ones you want to target are those on top of the search results.

That is, of course, easier said than done as everyone is constantly trying to get there. And the ones who’re already there make every effort to keep their place.

importance of being patient when doing search engine optimizationDethroning these websites requires that you do a thorough analysis of their SEO strategy. This takes both time and resources and can be a tricky thing to get right. Make no mistake, you will not figure out a strategy that works for you the first time.

There will be a lot of hit-and-miss involved and many times you’ll see other competitors crop up and take the place of SERP leaders.

The Variables Involved in SEO Strategy

SEO is a vast domain, and there are a lot of variables to keep track of just to stay relevant. Let’s take a look at some of these and how they’ll affect your website’s SERP.

  • Age of Your Domain and Website: The older your domain is, the more time Google or any other search engine has had to crawl through it. You will see many people looking for “aged” domains just because search engines know these exist and they’ll have a better chance of being indexed.
  • Website Design: Websites with great user experiences are favoured by Google. A crucial part of your SEO strategy should be to weed out any bad design elements on your website. This requires skill and time to get right.
  • Reaction to Trends and Regular Content: Your website should be constantly updated with fresh content so that it’s on the radar of the search engines. Trends are also something to keep in check as they bring up new keywords and if your website reacts to popular keywords, search engines will take notice.
  • User Activity on Website: If users are spending a lot of time on your website, it means they’re getting what they came looking for. It also sends good signals to a search engine as it shows your website has relevant content.

A combination of the variables discussed above will determine how well you fare in the search rankings. Keep in mind that keeping track of these variables is a time-consuming process.

Not sure where your website is at with search engine optimization? Get an instant online SEO report (link opens in a new window)

For example, you may find that a website design flaw is causing visitors to leave your website. That may take some time to fix and those users may take time to come back. This will have to be repeated until you find the perfect fix that keeps visitors on your website for longer.

This is what it takes to implement a successful SEO strategy for any website. SEO isn’t a single process; it consists of many smaller but equally important processes that need to be executed efficiently and effectively in order for the overall strategy to be successful.

Any SEO expert worth their salt will inform you of these factors and give you a realistic timeline to see progress in your website’s SERP performance. Agencies that promise you swift results are looking to make a quick buck and obviously don’t care about their reputation.

Why SEO is Worth It

Now that we’ve seen the effort that goes into executing a successful SEO strategy, we can appreciate the time it takes for the strategy to show results. But in the end, is such a time-consuming process really worth it? Let’s take a deeper look at why it is.

People Use Search Engines to Get Content

SEO matters, and it’s more important now than ever. Google alone processes 40,000 searches a second, so it’s obvious that a lot of people are using search engines to find what they need. What’s more, search engines have become very sophisticated and they now favour websites that follow SEO rules responsibly.

Without search engine recognition even if your website has a huge amount of useful content, it won’t be able to reach the end user. At A.P. Web Solutions, we focus on drawing attention to the content you produce. Click here to find out more about our SEO services and find out how you can get a complimentary website analysis.
More importantly, all of your competitors are already using SEO, so you’ll have to use it as well if you want to stay relevant.

It Produces Organic Growth

SEO remains the most sure-fire way of getting real, organic growth of traffic for your website. You might be fine using online ads for some time, but they’ll cost you exorbitant amounts of money after a while and the returns will be diminishing.

SEO, on the other hand, benefits you in two important ways: it increases your SERP ranking and gets you, real followers. These followers are more likely to share your content on social networks which can give your website a huge boost in both traffic and rankings.

This is called organic growth and this is the only viable growth strategy if your website is going to be in business for a long time.

Google Assistant Vs Amazon Alexa: What Voice Search Means For Local Businesses

By | Internet Marketing Service, Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, seo tips, Voice SEO

voice SEO, voice search engine optimization

Voice search is dramatically shaping the future of search engine optimization (SEO). Marketers should embrace the changes and learn more about voice SEO techniques that are associated with the mobile age.

Bing stated that voice search accounts for up to 25 percent of all organic searches on its platform although this technology is still under development. However, this does not mean that marketers should pay less attention to the voice search, which goes back to the early 2000s when Google began exploring how voice recognition software could apply to its suite of services. Google’s voice searches have increased significantly since 2008.

Research studies revealed that the ability to get faster results is one of the most important motivators for using this type of search. This trend demonstrates how voice search changes the way users find the right content online. Intent plays a major role in voice searches than traditional queries.

Over the years, the technology has evolved and it has been adopted by several tech giants, including Apple that introduced Siri, its voice search application. Although Siri is associated with the iOS, Apple’s operating system, it is an independent application developed by a third party developer. Apple eventually acquired the application and integrated it with the iPhone 4s in 2011.

What’s the Difference? Typed Searches vs Voice Searches

Text-based and voice searches deliver relevant results that are closely linked to the users’ intent. Search engines rely on advanced algorithms to determine the context of the spoken or typed keywords. However, text and voice searches provide varying experiences when it comes to results.

Voice queries are becoming more functional and accurate as voice recognition software evolves. According to a report published by Google, the majority of users turn to voice search for quick queries. These include searching for the nearest restaurant and other queries linked to local search engine optimization. Traditional search is used mainly for complex or sensitive subjects, such as healthcare.

Many people also prefer text-based searches for queries involving adults-only intents. On the other hand, it is rare for users to conduct voice searches when it comes to social media. Experts attribute this trend to concerns surrounding the possibility of voice-enabled technology spying on user activities.

Phrasing, tone and word choice are key factors that differentiate between typed and voice searches. This means search engine marketing (SEM) practitioners need to focus on the vocal communication patterns of their customers. Unlike traditional search queries, voice search typically comes in the form of questions. Users express themselves through natural language.

It’s common for the searches to reflect a conversational tone and the queries are aimed at obtaining quick answers. For this reason, marketers should strive to adapt their voice SEO strategies accordingly. Long-tail keywords play an important role when aiming to attract traffic via voice search. The same applies to optimizing site content for direct answers to common questions posed by user’s queries.

For their part, search engine algorithms have become more accurate when detecting user’s intent thanks to artificial intelligence.

Google Home Assistant Vs Amazon Alexa

Google voice searchAmazon Alexa and Google Assistant provide high-quality products for the living room. It comes as no surprise that the two brands have been hogging the limelight in the digital assistant market. The products are compatible with smart speakers, phones and a wide range of smart home devices.

Google Assistant is powered by advanced artificial intelligence software. It allows users to enjoy an interactive experience when using a Google Home speaker and Android phones. It is Google’s version of Siri.

Alexa works with Amazon’s products like Echo smart speaker and the Fire TV remote control. The digital assistant makes it easier to enjoy added convenience at home or on the go. Users can receive a traffic update or dim the lights using a voice command. Google Assistant and Alexa are both compatible with a wide selection of third-party products designed to promote smart living.

Here’s a real-time graph of interest (based on the number of searches worldwide over the last 12 months) comparing Amazon Alexa vs Google Home:

The technology behind the digital assistants is getting smarter by the day thanks to continuous research and development efforts by Amazon and Google. Many people find Assistant impressive because it offers a more natural experience. Google taps into the vast knowledge derived from its internet search platform to provide an intuitive experience.

As a result, Alexa has been playing catch up and it began showing significant improvements in recent years. Assistant has the ability to answer more questions than Alexa. Advanced artificial intelligence displayed by Assistant is impressive. It can answer complex questions like “When are taxes due in Australia?” The technology can even skip to the next song when the user provides an adverse comment about a track that is playing on Spotify.

Meanwhile, Alexa does not support thumbs up and down, thus spoiling the experience. On the upside, the product has its own set of strengths that users will find useful. The digital assistant allows users to take advantage of short words (wake words) to activate a device. In addition, it offers a number of apps designed to expand functionality. With the apps, users can play music on radio stations, perform guided meditations or peruse recipe books. The features are known as ‘skills’ and users have a choice of more than 25,000.

Google’s version of the ‘skills’ is available in the form of ‘actions.’ However, Assistant offers a limited number of options than Alexa. Users can choose from hundreds of actions.

How Businesses Should Adapt to Voice Search SEO

Voice search has dramatic implications on search engine marketing (SEM) and also presents a challenge to SEO experts. Unlike traditional search queries, voice search does not focus on exact keywords. Instead, users are conversational in tone. This means businesses need to respond to the dynamics of voice search by providing quick answers to user’s questions. Long-tail keywords and FAQ-type content reign supreme.

Marketers should not limit the frequently asked questions (FAQs) sections to a static list. It is important to vary the content to provide accurate and relevant answers that meet the user’s expectations. The approach is beneficial for both traditional and voice search.

The content should be optimized for mobile and voice search since a significant number of internet users connect via mobile devices. Good content performs well on mobile and desktop platforms.

SEO vs. PPC: Which is Better?

By | Google AdWords, Internet Marketing Service, Pay Per Click Marketing

Every business needs traffic to survive. Whether you’re a brick and mortar business or an online E-commerce business, traffic is the lifeblood of a website and unless your plan for the website is to simply serve as a brochure for people who already know about your business, you’re going to need a consistent flow of incoming traffic to get new leads.

The question is, what kind of traffic is most suitable (and affordable) for your business? Without knowing which one you should invest your time and energy towards, you’re going to be spinning in circles.

SEO vs. PPCLet’s look at your options:

  1. Organic Traffic
    – Search Engine Optimization
    – Content Marketing
  2. Paid Traffic
    – Google AdWords
    – Social Media Advertising (Facebook Ads, LinkedIn ads etc)

Organic Traffic – SEO

Advantages

  • Long-term & Sustainable. Once you’re ranked, you don’t pay for every Click.
  • Builds on itself. In other words, the more you rank, the more you’re going to rank (think compound interest)
  • Works well in conjunction with Content Marketing. As your website gains more authority with more links, Google starts trusting it more. And when Google trusts your website, the blog articles you publish have better chances of getting ranked for their respective keywords, thus generating even more traffic.

Disadvantages

  • Requires patience. It can take 4-6 months to start getting results from SEO, if not more.
  • Requires upfront investment.
  • Difficult to find an SEO agency that can actually rank websites and stay up to date with Google’s changing algorithms.

Suitability Criteria

SEO is not suitable for all businesses! Most SEO companies won’t tell you this and if you ask, “Will it work for me if I do (insert literally any profession here)?” the answer is always invariably “Yes”.
In reality, however, there are certain criteria that can indicate whether an SEO campaign is going to be an ROI positive investment for you. So if you’re not sure if you should be investing in SEO, ask yourself:

  • Is there a sizeable audience looking for your services online? In other words, do your main keywords have decent search volumes?
  • Is the first page littered with extremely large websites? If yes, do you have the budget to go after those keywords?
  • Are you financially in a position to invest potentially several thousands of dollars for months before you see an ROI?

If you’re not sure where your website stands in terms of SEO right now, use our free SEO audit tool to get an instant website analysis and comprehensive checklist delivered to your inbox!

Advantages

  • Instant results. If you set up your Ads properly and they are well optimized, you can start getting clicks (and hopefully, calls) within days!
  • You “pay per click” which means you don’t pay unless someone has clicked over to your website.
  • Google Ads can provide highly targeted traffic if they are set up properly.
  • Multiple platforms at your disposal. While SEO brings you targeted traffic from search engines like Google and Bing, paid traffic allows you to get your business visible on Facebook, LinkedIn & other social media websites that would otherwise have very little organic reach.

Disadvantages

  • Bucket with a hole. The minute you stop paying Google, your traffic ceases.
  • Unlike SEO, your Clicks from today don’t help you build a reputation or “trust” with Google that could help you tomorrow.
  • Bidding system. Google AdWords’ pricing works on a bidding system, which means if you’re in a competitive industry, your “cost per click” might keep increasing as your competitors bid higher than your bids. Your cost per click would also vary depending on your PPC management skills.
  • Pattern Interrupt Marketing: If you’re advertising on social media websites, realize that people aren’t there to shop for products or services. However, if your Ad is good enough to engage them and your product gets their attention, it could work, especially if it is an impulse purchase.
    Service-based businesses or consultants are at a large disadvantage with this approach. In other words, if the purchase of your product or service requires more than a couple of minutes of thought to reach a decision, social media Ads may not be ideal for your business.

Suitability Criteria

PPC can be a valuable lead-generating asset for a business IF you understand what you’re getting yourself into. Here’s what you need to know before investing in paid traffic:

  • You’re never going to stop paying for clicks.
  • The amount you pay for every click will vary depending on how much your competitors are bidding and how well your Ads are performing.
  • You will need to hire a PPC expert to set up and manage your Ad campaigns. AdWords Express was Google’s attempt at streamlining the process but all it really does is burn through your budget by showing your Ads to people way outside your target demographic.
  • Making PPC work for you is not as simple as setting up the Ad campaigns. It involves a lot of tweaking and split testing.

Conclusion

Organic and paid traffic both have their place. SEO and PPC can, in fact, work very well together. Technically, you can occupy a top organic spot AND an Ad spot, thus having more of the real estate on the first page and capturing more traffic.

Additionally, there are some keywords that may just not be worth going after organically but can get you Paid clicks and some additional traffic. These are keywords that may not have huge search volume (number of people searching that keyword per month) but for whatever reason, they are difficult to rank for due to the websites on the first page. In this case, considering the balance of difficulty and search volume, PPC becomes a great alternative.

So while one is not better than the other, if you only have the budget to invest in one, it depends on how fast you want the results. If you need results and sales yesterday (and you have the budget), PPC is the way to go. If you want to build a long-term stream of traffic that can build your business’ reputation and trust online, SEO is for you.