AdWords Or SEO – Which Is The Better Fit For Your Business?
Any business looking to promote their business online knows they have one of 3 options. One you try your luck adding your website to every online directory imaginable such as the Online Yellow Pages and hope for the best. A lot of companies will try this option first and after typically poor results they move onto options 2 and 3.
Option 2 is pay-per-click advertising which is not only limited to Google Adwords but also other mainstream options such as Bing or Facebook ads. There is certainly a lot of success to be had here if done correctly although the price usually isn’t cheap for any industry with a lot of competition. Of course with Google being the dominant force in anything internet marketing related Adwords is often your best hope for success.
Option 3 is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services which is something every business considers but are leery of for a variety of reasons. Typically there is a long term commitment involved and when results cannot be 100% guaranteed the risk can make companies (and rightfully so) somewhat uncomfortable.
Understanding the strengths and weakness of both SEO and Adwords can help you make the most informed choice when marketing your business in the digital era. We’ve summarized the various pro and cons which hopefully will make your decision making process either if considering either….
Instant Results – Once your Adwords campaign is put into motion anyone who clicks on your ad will be directed to your website instantly. This means a lot of new traffic in a hurry and potentially quick results in terms of leads and sales.
No Long Term Commitment – With Adwords you are not locked into any long term contact, you simply set your limit per month and once your limit is maxed it’s your choice whether or not to continue. Adwords lets you test the waters first a little more easily instead of taking any long term plunge.
Set Your Own Limit – If you want to adjust your Adwords budget based on what you can afford that particular month there is a lot more flexibility in terms of cost. Of course if your budget is lower you chances of success decrease as well but at least you have a choice in the matter.
Burn Through Money Quick – Unfortunately with Adwords in order to generate any decent amount of traffic you are (in most cases) going to have to cough up some serious cash. With competitive keywords going for around $10 dollars a click even getting a hundred new unique visitors has already burned a $1000 tab in your bank account.
Learning Curve – Adwords is something most people will choose to take on themselves at first instead of paying extra to hire someone with experience. Without understanding the importance of keyword research and what phrases will actually bring you business results can be very mixed for those who just decide to “wing it”.
Who Is Clicking On My Ad? – Best case scenario the people clicking on your ad will be individuals that have a genuine interest in your product or service. Worst case scenario they are instead your competitors or people who are just bored that day and need something to do at work. The quality of each click can’t always be determined so you’ll need some luck along the way.
Long Term Potential – You will often hear the saying “SEO is a long term investment for your company”. The reason for that is in order to see first page results in Google or other search engines you could be looking at a wait of at least six months or longer. Patience pays off however and if you are willing to wait it out the eventual payoff can be big.
Continuous Revenue – Once your website gains a top ranking in various search engines there is no expiration date of how long your website will stay there. SEO at its best is a continuous stream of revenue that is pretty much unmatched by other forms of traditional advertising.
SEO Works In All Search Engines – With Adwords you are limited to the Google search engine only with SEO your site will likely be seen in Bing, MSN, Yahoo and others as well. Pay-Per-Click advertising is limited to the platform you are using whereas SEO has a much broader scope.
Commitment Necessary – If you are serious about SEO you will need to commit to it as a regular part of your advertising budget. There is no finish line to when SEO services are completed, it is an ongoing process that must be worked on regularly to be successful.
No Guarantee – Any legitimate SEO company will tell you it is impossible to guarantee a first page ranking in Google as there are too many variables beyond their control. Since no one can be 100% sure how Google ranks its websites SEO experts are working from previous experience and their overall knowledge of the industry only.
Low Ethic or Black Hat Companies – Sadly for every qualified SEO company in existence there is another one that is happy to simply take your money now and hope for the best later. Many flyer by night firms are looking to take unethical short cuts in order to gain quick results that may hurt your website more than it will help it. If you don’t do your homework when hiring the right SEO firm you will pay (literally) for it later.
In an ideal salutation any business that has the financial resources to do both SEO and Adwords will of course enjoy the best of both worlds. Which option is better for you will be based on your current situation and business needs at the time.
If you are in need of quick results or have a new website you need to get off the ground Adwords certainly has the power to make an impact fast. If you are an established company however with more stable finances SEO will in most cases have the best long term potential.
It should also be mentioned that industries in a niche market may not be the best fit for SEO. If the total amount of Google searches per month (or other search engines) for your industry is very low even a first page ranking will only produce limited results at best. Talking to someone to asses your market online is always an important step number one that should never be ignored.
As always however the decision it up to you….good luck!