Two of the most popular and successful online marketing strategies are Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization. Although both use keywords to direct traffic to a specific website, they are very different marketing strategies. They do not use keywords in the same way. If you are looking for new marketing techniques for your business, then you need to familiarize yourself with both strategies.
What’s the Difference?
A PPC marketing campaign is essentially a method of buying viewers for your company’s website. It involves bidding on placing ads in the search results for specific keyword combinations. An SEO marketing campaign is a particular method of designing your company’s website so that it appears high in the search results for a given set of keywords. SEO is focused on your company’s website. PPC is focused upon what Internet users see when conducting searches.
Although there are a lot of factors involved, PPC is usually a little more profitable in the short term. SEO is more profitable in the long term. SEO is also cheaper, and Internet users tend to trust companies that use SEO instead of PPC a little more. On the other hand, SEO is vulnerable to changes in search engine algorithms and PPC is not.
SEO campaigns are a little easier to run, in that they are very fault tolerant. In other words, if you make some mistakes with the keywords you choose you can still get good results. This is especially true ever since Google’s Hummingbird update. Even if you make major mistakes in keyword selection, you can easily tweak your company site and try again. PPC campaigns are not very fault tolerant. Every keyword mistake costs money, sometimes a lot of money. PPC campaigns require a lot of research work up front.
If you do not have a lot of experience with Internet marketing campaigns, start with SEO. It requires less understanding than PPC and risks less money. If your company needs to increase sales quickly, then PPC is the better choice as long as you can do it well. Using both strategies together, if possible, is best.
The first step in an SEO campaign is to research the keyword landscape for your company’s products or services. Every topic has its own keyword landscape, which is a list of the keywords that people use most often when searching for information on a particular topic. These keywords will either relate to the topic as a whole or to some particular aspect of it. After determining the keyword landscape you need to analyze each keyword carefully. What does it say about the intent of people who are conducting the search? Does it indicate that they are likely looking for other things that your company offers too? Does it mean that they might theoretically be interested, but probably really want something else? Once you have conducted this analysis you can write out a final list of keywords that are specifically optimized for your SEO campaign.
For an SEO campaign, you need to consider keyword depth for each page on your company’s website. “Keyword depth” is an industry term that refers to how specific or general the keyword is. The most general keywords belong on your company’s home page. Conversely, the most specific keywords belong on the lowest level pages, the pages that feature specific products or services. Do not be tempted to use all the keywords that you can think of in the hope that some of them will be effective. Not only does this strategy not work, but it will send your company’s page plummeting to the very bottom of the search results. Most major search engines do not like that trick. Instead, your total keywords should never exceed 5% of the total word count on any given page. It is probably better to stick to 3% as a rule. If the word count on a page is under 100, do not use more than one keyword.
The keywords that you select should be relevant to the rest of the content on the page. Once the keywords are written into the page text, that text should read smoothly and naturally. It should seem like someone wrote it without a thought for marketing. Today’s search engines can tell the difference and will penalize clunky, unnatural language and keywords that are shoehorned into irrelevant text.
Because the success of a PPC campaign depends on proper keyword selection, it is necessary to make the effort to choose exactly the right keywords. The best way to do this is to hire the services of a reputable PPC marketing professional. If this is too expensive then there are a number of online keyword research tools that produce good results, though not as good as an experienced human being can. Besides doing the research before starting the campaign, it is also necessary to keep tracking the results of the campaign. Check the Quality Score and cost per click of each keyword, and always stand ready to get rid of keywords that aren’t working.
A successful PPC campaign also depends on the selection of the right negative keywords. Negative keywords are exclusion parameters. They will prevent your ad from being shown on irrelevant pages. For instance, if your company sells fishing products, you could easily find that your ads are wasted on results for deep sea fishing trips. Using trip as a negative keyword will prevent this from happening.
You should also tweak your company’s website a little bit, if necessary. Your PPC keywords should appear on your website. They should also be used in the ads themselves, in the same ways in which they are used on your company’s web page.
When in doubt, hire a professional. Even if it is only for a short advisory session, the expense is likely going to be worth it. A poorly conducted SEO or PPC marketing campaign wastes time, money, or both.