Are PPC/SEM/Google Adwords worth it?
Do you want more more traffic? Do you want more quality traffic? Do you want to control costs? Do you want to increase brand awareness? If you answer ‘yes’, then it is.
If it were only that simple though. PPC/SEM/Adwords may be good for your business, but if it is at the expense of Search Engine Optimization, the answer should be a resounding ‘no’.
I recently met with a client who was in the process of cutting ALL their marketing dollars. I don’t mean just cutting back, I mean to $0. That is with the exception of PPC/SEM (Pay-Per-Click/Search Engine Marketing). He cut out radio, industry pubs and online sales directories. He was sold on the idea by an extremely convincing sales person who is going to get a heck of a paycheque in the near future while this business is going to be left behind his competition.
Don’t get me wrong. SEM/PPC is a key element of an all encompassing online marketing program, but to put all your faith in what I’d refer to as a second tier product (in most cases), is not a good business practice.
SEM/PPC – The Bad Stuff
- if you want traffic from different search engines (Google, Bing, etc), you will need to buy ads in each search engine. On the flip side, when you invest in properly done Search Engine Optimization, you will get positive bumps in your organic rankings on all search engines. Even though each SE (Search Engine) algorithm is obviously different, the basics of quality SEO will pay dividends
- the cost for PPC is not fixed due to it being an auction style purchasing system. As competition for the keywords you want increases, your cost per click increases as well
- just like organic/regular listings, you can’t prevent unwanted, unqualified traffic from clicking on your listing BUT each time a non-buyer clicks on your ad it costs you money. Clicks on your organic listings don’t cost you a thing
- PPC isn’t scalable – by that I mean that your cost per click will be constant. If you pay for 100 clicks @ $1.50 each, 200 clicks are still going to cost you $1.50 each. SEO, when properly done, is. If you pay $x for monthly SEO package and get 100 visits, since quality SEO builds upon itself as time goes on, as your traffic increases to 200 visits, your cost is still $x
- finally, not everyone feels comfortable clicking on ‘sponsored ads’ I heard a stat a while ago stating that only around 20% of users actually will click on a PPC/SEM ad. Why would you not want to sell to that other 80%??
SEM/PPC – The Good Stuff
you can generate instant traffic. As soon as your ad is online, someone can click on it. SEO works differently. I usually describe the difference between the two as, SEM is like a water faucet – either on or off; SEO is more like the flight of a plane – takes some effort to get it off the ground but once you are up, you can go a long way on sheer momentum
- you do have control over your spend since you can set a budget and once your allotment of money has been spent, you won’t be charged anything else
- if you have found a niche keyword(s) that won’t drive a lot of traffic, yet will drive super qualified traffic, you can probably get these less competitive words/phrases at a very reasonable price and may be well worth investing in
- once you work your way onto the first page of a SERP (search engine results page), if you have being doing good SEO as well, SEM offers you the opportunity to ‘own’ that page which not only offers a great branding opportunity but will prove to be difficult for your competition to overtake the online impression that you are ‘the’ business in which to business with.
There are many different elements to consider in regards to your online marketing strategy. In my mind, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the foundation of everything you do online followed by a strong website design that works to actually convert traffic not just look pretty, properly researched/targeted SEM-PPC, Local Search Optimization and a proper Social Media play.