SEO – The next logical step
Google AdWords can be very lucrative for business but like many forms of marketing, as soon as you stop investing in it, the new leads disappear and the business has nothing left over to show that it ever happened. A major advantage of AdWords it is that it often has immediate benefits and can be turned back on at any time. One SponsoredLinX staff member likens it to buying take away food – you get results fast but you wouldn’t want to live on it for a long time due to the price. Paying for every click isn’t something you want to do forever or all the time.
That’s where SEO comes in. Everyone knows organic traffic is free, but wouldn’t logic dictate that a business should go straight into SEO and not worry about AdWords? In reality these two methods work very well together so in most cases a business would want to cover both bases, but there’s a reason you should get into AdWords first and then follow up with SEO as an addition to your online marketing formula as the next logical step.
When you compare the main features of these two methods there are some obvious similarities and differences. They both work through Google search (for the purposes of this article I’m discussing SEO in the context of exclusively targeting Google organic search traffic due to their overwhelming traffic share) and they both aim to bring in new business by targeting keywords that are likely to convert into leads and sales. On the other hand they vary most significantly in their speed. Where Google AdWords works quickly and allows for frequent tweaking and strategy changes, SEO is a slow moving process that gradually builds momentum.
The main reason for this is that Google tends to only look through an entire website and cache it approximately on a fortnightly basis so it can take two weeks before Google even sees a change you make. Even then it will take several caches before the full effects are seen, so often six to eight weeks is needed; whereas in that time you could have multiplied back and forth shifts in your AdWords strategy to tweak things. SEO is a powerful tool when you look at the volume of organic traffic (roughly 70% of search traffic) and the fact that the traffic is essentially free, but it can never hope to match the speed and flexibility of AdWords.
Given that both tools are attempting to capture people using the same platform, Google Search, you’re probably starting to see how you can use the pros of both SEO and Google AdWords to get the maximum benefits for your business. The goal is to combine the speed and flexibility of AdWords with the power and momentum of SEO. Your AdWords campaign will still cost you per click, but if done correctly will make you a significant profit despite this. Your SEO will still be slow but thanks to your correct use of the pay per click ads you’ll know for sure it’s moving in the right direction.
Meanwhile, AdWords can be used to test different keywords and strategies. You can decide how much you want to spend and it won’t cost you any more than that. If the campaign isn’t bringing in results then you can change direction or completely overhaul it. Thanks to the fast and flexible nature of AdWords, these are all possibilities. However, if you were to launch into an SEO campaign without using AdWords to test things out first, then you wouldn’t be able to simply change direction if you found it not to be working. Instead, it will have taken months of investment just to determine you’ve gone off in the wrong direction. If you’ve done the testing with AdWords however, and know what the right direction is, then why wouldn’t you launch into an SEO campaign to capitalise on the largest portion of search traffic out there? SEO works 24/7, 365 days a year; it’s the salesperson that’s even working at Christmas time when all the others are at home surrounded by tinsel and flashing lights.
But once your SEO is up and running, should you turn the AdWords off and rely solely on the organic traffic? Well by this point you’ve identified an effective strategy and the PPC campaign is making a profit so that alone should be enough to convince you not to turn it off. It’s also worth noting that the SEO will probably improve your quality scores, reducing your cost per click and making the AdWords campaign even more effective. AdWords traffic still makes up a huge chunk of search traffic and many users only click on those, so there are plenty of reasons to keep it running on its own merits alone.
In the long term you’re likely to be expanding on your SEO campaign to support new products, adjust to a shifting market or just to cast a wider net and bring in more business. The same above principles apply with regards to using AdWords in support of this, so even in the long term SEO and AdWords should be used together. It’s just important to get the balance right so you can get the best result for your business. To learn more, you should definitely register for our upcoming SEO Tips & Tricks Optimise Webinar which will launch on Wednesday 17th February at 10:30 am AEST. Hope to see you there.