Whether you’ve just completed the design/redesign of your website or already have an established site you need to drive traffic to it to make it successful. A website with no traffic is like erecting a billboard in the middle of the desert where no one will see it.
The 2 major methods of getting visitors to view your web pages is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC).
What is SEO?
This refers to what’s called the ‘organic listings” that appear on the left side of the search engine results’ pages (SERPS). For instance when you Google a keyword or keyword phrase the top 10 websites will appear on the first page of Google. These sites attract the most traffic (compared to the second or third pages) because it’s the first sites people see.
Achieving top rankings takes a lot of work particularly if your keywords are very competitive. The 2 main factors for achieving high rankings consist of on-page optimization and off-page optimization which you can read about in my article “How to Reverse Engineer a Competitor’s Website to Outrank Them”
What is PPC?
Pay-per-click advertising refers to paid ads viewed on the right side of the search engine results pages. You pay each time someone clicks on your ad. It requires you to set-up a PPC advertising campaign using Google AdWords, Yahoo or Bing advertising or even Facebook’s advertising platform.
Pros and Cons of SEO
Pros of SEO
Generate free traffic
If you can’t afford to spend money on traffic but have plenty of time available then SEO is a good option. Keep in mind if you don’t know anything about it there is a steep learning curve.
First page rankings generate more traffic than PPC
Case studies show that websites listed on the left side of the search engine results pages (SERPS) receive more traffic than websites listed on the right side of the SERPs. This is because people tend to read from left to right and many people are familiar with the ads on the right and won’t click on them.
Gain high rankings for multiple pages
If you attain high rankings for hundreds of internal pages your overall traffic will increase because visitors have many entry points.
Become known as an authority in your niche
Building a content rich website enables your to become an authority in your niche. For instance if you build a website all about dog leashes you could become the go-to site for that topic.
Increase your site’s value
An authority website that has attained top rankings for 100s of targeted keywords is valuable virtual real estate and can be sold for thousands of dollars on Flippa.
Cons of SEO
Takes time to achieve high rankings
It may take months or even years to attain first page rankings for your keywords depending on the competitiveness of your niche.
Almost impossible to gain top rankings in highly competitive niches
For instance if the top 10 websites have 10 year old domains and 1000s of backlinks it may take years to match your competitor’s rankings if you’ve built a new website on a newly registered. There’s also no guarantee you’ll outrank your competitors.
Must consistently work to maintain your rankings
Even if you attain top rankings for your website if you don’t consistently add new content and build more backlinks to your website you will lose your hard-earned rankings.
Your site is subject to search engines algorithim changes
Google and other search engines are constantly changing their ranking formulas. Your site may enjoy high rankings for years then one day your rankings may from the first page. For example thousands of sites lost their rankings during Google’s Penguin Update because they used spammy techniques to enhance their rankings.
Pros of PPC
Generate immediate traffic
Once you’ve set up your Google AdWords campaign you can begin sending traffic to your website on the same day or within a few hours.
Receive targeted traffic
With PPC you have the ability to target a specific geographical area (ie country, town, city) and specific time to run your ads (ie 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.on Wednesdays)
Generate traffic to new websites or for short term promotions
If you have a brand new website or are running a seasonal promotion a PPC campaign may generate immediate sales. You don’t even have to optimize your website because your ads will redirect new visitors to it.
Test market new products and/or services
Sometimes you may fall in love with a product but don’t know if it will be profitable. Create a PPC campaign to test its viability before investing a large amount of time and money.
Cons of PPC
Can be expensive
If you don’t know what you’re doing or are in a highly competitive niche you can easily waste a ton of money. To prevent this from happening consider hiring a PPC consultant.
Hard to attain top ad positions if you have a low quality score
AdWords campaigns which have been poorly managed often have a low quality score. This means you’ll pay much more for each click and makes it more difficult to attain top ad positions that generate the most clicks.
Search engines constantly change their rules
Google and other search engines often change the rules upon which they operate. If you don’t constantly keep abreast of the changes they may have a negative effect on your PPC campaign ie wasting money on untargeted clicks.
Watch the video on: SEO vs PPC – Pros and Cons
Ideally do both PPC and SEO at the same time if you can afford the time and money.
If you need to generate immediate traffic, test market your product or service create a PPC campaign targeting specific keywords. After you know what keywords are generating the most sales start an SEO campaign and eventually phase out PPC to save money.
SEO can also generate immediate traffic however it will take longer build up a substantial volume of traffic compared to PPC because you’ll need to constantly create new content as well as build new backlinks to gain high rankings. Once your website becomes an authority within your niche you’ll attract more traffic and generate profits at lower costs.
SEO 101 – How To Begin A Search Engine Optimization Campaign
How to Reverse Engineer a Competitor’s Website to Outrank Them
Google AdWords Campaign – 12 Steps to Get Started
Google AdWords Mistakes to Avoid – Top 7
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