Maile’s video has been around a while but rarely been surpassed for key ingredients, including good business sense. A campaign to promote your website often needs to be part of wider business promotion.
In this page, we primarily consider the direct options for website marketing, PPC (pay per click) and SEO (search engine optimisation). We do not manage campaigns but do review a substantial number, to judge effectiveness.
The choices we analyse boil down to a fairly certain and instant paid listing, through ads above, or below a page of search results, or the less concrete option of trying to feature in those results.
On the surface, the former is attractive and campaign spend backs this up, currently 7:1 in favour of PPC. Conversely, around 90% of clicks in search are not on paid entries but on the free listings, called organic results.
Tempting to think those responsible for web marketing campaigns have lost the plot but there are logical reasons. Pay per click (PPC) can be profitable, neither are comparisons simple but still interesting.
Ease of Use
PPC is an out of the box solution and appears easy to implement. This factor is one of the attractions but does not hold up to inspection.
An average PC user can log into Google and have an AdWords campaign running quickly but often ineffectively. Adwords campaigns needs skill and experience, not least in cost management.
SEO on the other hand looks complex, secretive, which is not the case. Success requires knowledge, to ensure technical needs and a sound approach are in place but many elements do not. A well written article on your company website is SEO.
PPC campaign tracking can be straightforward, keyword by keyword but that is equally a limitation. SEO appears harder to quantify and is but often because the right factors are not studied.
A high emphasis tends to be placed on ranking and traffic, rather than granular user data. This can be as helpful as keyword tracking and used well, show you how to hone your website.
Tracking web campaigns is vital to check return on investment and find improvement, although an issue which can arise is figures being collated for justification.
A belief that PPC campaigns are uniquely able to justify cost, or decision making is misleading. Data may not be as clear cut but organic optimisation can be monitored, neither does this cost beyond time.
Short v Long Term
Wanting to justify decisions can be heightened by a need for immediate justification. Understandable for short term projects, often a good use for PPC.
The same might apply if a business is in a difficult situation, in need of cashflow. This can however be self sustaining, if you always look to the short term, the long term will never come to fruition.
PPC is largely a spend and go marketing campaign, whereas investing in organic search invests in a business. The only caveat is that organic success is not maintained by standing still.
As in the video, keeping up to date on technical search changes matters. Websites also need to be efficient and updated with fresh content, although the same applies to PPC, you still need a good website.
The Certainty Principle
In one sense, this is PPC’s strongest point. As long as the bills are met and your website is reasonably legitimate, you are going to be visible.
The downside is that bills can get out of hand and providing they are generating profit of some form, may seem hard to curtail. At times with very tight margins, even without a genuine profit.
The element of certainty is still a factor, against less certain organic search. Nobody can guarantee organic results and you shouldn’t deal with them if they do.
Even so, many websites which try to fulfil reasonable goals are likely to achieve them. This requires patience, application of new skills and hard work but successful businesses need those anyway.
A Campaign for Your Business
Each business is unique and requirements should be assessed individually, part of the reports we prepare. Despite a few downsides, pay per click should not be ruled out as an option for marketing your website.
This is often viable for short term products, launches, niches beyond core business which don’t warrant competing in search, or market testing. In the long term, defined effort to promote a website makes sense for most businesses.
An organic approach is not as easy as PPC, even skillfully run that is less demanding. Competing in search requires the mindset to do so and good implementation but does invest in your business, rather than a search engine’s coffers.
In time, this should reduce marketing cost. PPC claims a higher conversion rate but this largely arises from accurate targeting, which can be achieved organically. An improvement which will also leave a lasting impression on visitors.
The trust visitors can find in a good website should not be underestimated, people need to be taken into account alongside and often before search engines. We try to ensure you receive the right support on both.
By all means read more on our approach to analysing search performance, or contact us for advice at any time.