SEOSEO vs. Paid Ads (PPC) for Small Businesses

SEO vs. Paid Ads (PPC) for Small Businesses

seo vs semAre you wondering what marketing strategy you should invest in for your small Colorado Springs business, SEO or paid social media? We are here to help! 

Find out the benefits and drawbacks of each to see which will better suit your business.

The Difference between SEO vs. Paid Ads

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There’s a saying that marketers love, “The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results”, that’s because all websites on the first page of Google receive 92% of all Google’s search traffic and most people won’t even go to the second page.

Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to your website by appearing high on the list of search results either in Google and/or other search engines. 

What does that mean? 

Let’s say that you type “best marketing company near me” into Google. The search engine will then pull up the most relevant website for you. But, how does it choose which to pull up first? The websites that rank in top positions use SEO to show Google that they have the best pages to answer the user question and therefore that they should be prioritized above other sites.

Unlike paid ads, receiving a top position organically is free. In fact, you can only improve your rank position in Google by your SEO efforts, ie. content creation, website updates, managing your listings, and many more SEO optimizations. 

What Are the Benefits of Organic SEO?

  • Brand Awareness & Credibility 
    • Buyers are looking for a brand that they know is reputable and credible to work with. In fact, many users skip the “ad” links at the top of a search results page in favor of an organic result. Why is that? Well, they know that these companies didn’t pay to be shown first. They were picked by Google to be in the top search results because of what they have to offer. This helps your brand build credibility and brand awareness with new and returning customers.
  • Click-Through Rates (CTR)
    • Ranking in Google is an ever changing game. However, once you make it to the first page you can truly start building recognition and authority. Not only from users, but Google as well. CTR plays a huge role in your ranking position as it signals to Google that your website is valuable and has content that people want to read more about. This helps not only your rankings, but hopefully your overall sales!
  • Cost Effective
    • We all love to save money and the best part about SEO is every time that someone visits your website it doesn’t cost you anything. For this reason, SEO is considered to be one of the best and most cost effective ways to attract relevant visitors to your website.

What Are the Drawbacks of Organic SEO?

  • Time Investment 
    • Unlike paid ads, SEO is a long game. It takes time to implement SEO strategies onto your website effectively and with the correct research behind it to make it stand out above other competitors. However, if your business niche is very competitive it could take months if not years to climb to that top position.
  • Lack of Time, Resource, or Knowledge
    • As I stated above, SEO takes time. Unfortunately many small businesses do not have the manpower to not only invest the time, but to also learn how to appropriately add SEO to their website while doing multiple other jobs too.

That’s why many small businesses in Colorado Springs trust in companies such as Mountain Air Marketing to use our knowledge and resources to help their marketing efforts.

Google Ads (PPC)

Google Ads or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a model of digital marketing in which you pay and bid money to show your ad on Google.com 

There are many types of ads you can run in Google and you only pay when someone clicks on the call to action on your ad, ie. visit your website, call your business, etc. This can help you get noticed by a bigger audience due to the fact that you’re within the first companies they’ll see on the search results page. 

Unlike SEO, Google Ads will not help your organic search results, but they can be extremely useful to showcase specials, target specific keywords and audiences and even be promoted on other websites besides Google. 

What Are the Benefits of Paid Advertising?

  • Quick Exposure
    • As a new business or small business, you may be looking for the instant gratification that comes with quick exposure of your products or services to your ideal customers. By using the Google Display Network, your ads can even be shown on relevant websites that you can either pick or let Google choose for you.
  • Targeting Techniques
    • Is there a specific group of customers you want to target? Paid ads lets you narrow it down by job title, location, gender, interests and much more. You can even expand your original audience to include users who have related interests to those who have already clicked on your ad.
  • Position on Search Results Page
    • As you’ve probably noticed when searching for something on Google, PPC ads are always listed at the very top of the search results page.

Typically they will be the first 3-5 results and therefore receive the most views by users searching related terms to your business.

What Are the Drawbacks of Paid Advertising?

  • Cost of Clicks vs. Leads
    • You pay for each click that your ad gets. Whether this is from employees in your own business, competitors, accidental clicks, etc. you’re paying. The problem with this is you’re spending your money and it may not be the leads you’re hoping to achieve with your ad.
  • Bidding Wars
    • Since PPC is a bidding game, costs can start adding up quickly. After all, who doesn’t want to win the top position in Google? For some businesses it can even be too expensive to begin PPC as their competitors have ranked the bid price extremely high.
  • Customer Distrust
    • How often do you purposely skip over the “ads” section on a Google page?

More and more customers are starting to feel this way. Many people don’t trust ads as it means that the company is there solely because they have paid and bid to be shown. 

Which Digital Strategy is Better for Your Small Business?

If you could pick both, we think that there are benefits to having SEO and paid advertising run side by side.

However, we know that many small businesses do not have the money to invest in both areas — and If we had to pick a place to invest in, it would be SEO. 

SEO is the backbone to a strong business and digital marketing strategy and is more cost effective. Not only does SEO bring in free leads, it improves your credibility, rankings and if done correctly can turn you into a top performing website without having to pay for your leads. 

Are you ready to get started with SEO? Contact our team at Mountain Air Marketing today for a free SEO audit!

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