What are the advantages of PPC over traditional SEO?

2nd December 2014 | | Marketing

Good question. We are often asked by clients about PPC vs SEO, and whether they should be pursuing a pay per click campaign, or a SEO program. Nearly as often, we’re asked whether there’s any advantage to doing both, or if PPC and SEO are mutually exclusive.

PPC and SEO both have the same goal: to increase relevant traffic to your website that converts into new patients. Pay per click and SEO accomplish this goal in slightly different ways with different advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a few ways in which PPC trumps SEO:

Speed. PPC advertising is the fastest route to attracting site traffic; a new campaign can be up and running in the same day. For me, this is the most significant advantage. For a new website that wants to hit the ground running, PPC is an obvious solution – same goes if you have a website and it is generating little organic traffic.

Guaranteed rankings. Whether they claim to or not, no company can promise you first place organic search engine rankings. With PPC, you are paying for the privilege of being at the top.  SEO ranking factors change so frequently meaning even if you’re number one today, it doesn’t mean you’ll be there tomorrow so it’s good to have PPC in your locker.

Targeted. Who wants their teeth whitened? A person typing ‘teeth whitening dentist’ into Google does! With PPC you can direct people to a landing page (not just a page within your website) that has been custom designed to encourage action, i.e., the patient to book an appointment or at the very least, register their interest. If found via organic search, the patient may wind up getting distracted by other elements of you site and ultimately, surf away.

In summary, PPC might be best for your site if:

  • Your site is new or generating little organic traffic and you want to start getting traffic immediately.
  • Your site is targeting highly competitive keywords.
  • Your website was built in a search engine unfriendly platform and you don’t’ want to invest in rebuilding it.
  • You have a large advertising budget and want to maximize all traffic channels.
  • You want to be able to quickly test keyword and landing page effectiveness.
  • You have a promotion that you want to be able to turn on and off at specific times.

SEO and PPC programs do not have to be mutually exclusive. It is very possible to combine both and see the advantages of each type of traffic generation.  As a rule of thumb, I’d argue PPC is better in the short term and SEO, the preferred long term strategy – but as I’ve pointed out, each have their individual merits.

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