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What is better: SEO or PPC?

Many webmasters are unsure whether they should advertise their website with SEO (search engine optimization) or PPC (pay per click advertising).

Actually, most commercial websites work best if you use both SEO and PPC. The exact mix depends on your goals.

Pay per click advertising (PPC)

Advantages:

  • You get instant results. If you advertise your website on pay per click search engines, then you will get traffic now and not several months later.
  • PPC ads are perfect for time limited offers such as holiday sales.
  • You can stop PPC ads at any time.
  • PPC ads make it easy to test different keywords and landing pages.
  • PPC ads also work with websites that are not very well designed and wouldn't get good search engine rankings.
  • PPC ads allow you to bid on a large amount of keywords, including misspellings and other keyword variations that you cannot put on your web pages.

Disadvantages:

  • PPC advertising can become very expensive if you bid on the wrong keywords or if you don't calculate the maximum bid price correctly.
  • Click fraud can be a problem. Not all clickers are potential customers.

If you advertise your website with PPC ads then you should use a ROI tracking tool to make sure that you don't waste your money.

Search engine optimization (SEO):

Advantages:

  • Traffic through organic search engine results is almost free if the up-front work has been done.
  • After optimizing your website you can use your money for different things and the optimized site will still run.
  • A larger number of visitors and search result clickers is not a problem.
  • Search engine optimization delivers long term results that don't require permanent financial input.

Disadvantages:

  • SEO can be relatively time-consuming up-front.
  • SEO can require a redesign of your web pages to make your website search engine friendly. However, this usually also results in a better user experience.

Search engine optimization delivers lasting results and it costs considerably less in the long term. However, you must make sure that you optimize your website correctly, if your want to get high search engine rankings.

Pay per click advertising and search engine optimization both contribute to the success of your website. If you use both wisely, you can get many new visitors and customers without spending a fortune. See the recommended resources below for PPC and SEO software tips.

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July 2007 search engine articles