Is Search Engine Advertising Right For My Business?

By Jacqueline Sinex, Friday, August 7, 2015
search engine advertising

A typical business owner can find search engine marketing confusing. There are different methods available for marketing your website online. One of these methods is pay-per-click advertising in search engines, such as the Google Adwords program. Another method of online marketing is with search engine optimization (SEO). To determine which of these types of online marketing is the best fit for your business (or if maybe both are a good fit), it is important to understand how they work and the differences.

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) usually falls under the category of “SEM” or Search Engine Marketing. Google Adwords is the popular leader of this type of service. A PPC service provides online tools to create and manage the ad campaign. The tools may include an interface to build ad copy, to search for relevant keywords, and to manage bids. The basic concept is that you bid a dollar amount on certain keywords to give your ad more exposure. When a consumer types in those keywords in the search engine, certain sponsored areas will display the relevant ads. The top bidders will achieve the highest visibility. In Google, the sponsored ads are usually shown at the top and the right side if you are viewing things on a desktop computer screen.

Search engine optimization is a concept that has transformed over the years, and despite what you might read in other buzz articles online, it is not “dead”. SEO focuses more on organic search listings, which are automatically ranked and displayed without paying the search engine for advertising campaigns. Through a series of algorithms, rules and human quality assurance checks, search engines like Google determine which websites are worthy of a better listing position.

There are a few differences between paid advertising on search engines and SEO.

Paid Ads vs. Organic Ranking

As mentioned above, SEM services involve a paid advertising model. Businesses pay for the privilege of displaying their ad message to searchers. Furthermore, the amount of you are willing to pay for an ad determines how much exposure you will receive. If several competitors are outbidding you, it is less likely your ad will get many impressions or clicks.

“Pay-per-click” is a popular choice, because instead of paying for countless displays of an ad that might never generate a lead, you pay for an actual click on the ad – meaning a person actually clicked on the link that leads to your website or landing page. This indicates a certain level of engagement from that user that is a little closer to converting a customer.

With most PPC tools, you can set a budget for each ad campaign and maximum spend amounts to help manage these ads in a manner appropriate to your business. However, the average business manager does not have the time or expertise to create ads and monitor them for optimal results, so they will also hire a firm to manage everything. This involves paying fees to both the ad management firm and the search engine, but the end result is usually a much higher ROI from the ad campaign.

SEO services are focused on organic listings that are seen in the primary sections of the search engine. With this method, more effort is spent on making the website high quality and submitting quality content and business profiles. The marketing budget is more focused on the website itself (and other related marketing tasks) and not necessarily paid directly to the search engine. Search engines automatically crawl and seek out quality websites with an authoritative reputation for certain topics, and rank them higher when they are considered a great source of information with excellent content and a strong web presence.

SEE ALSO: 4 Elements Every Business Should Include On Its Website

Immediate Exposure with PPC Ads

Probably the most attractive feature of SEM services is that they provide more immediate exposure. There is a shortened set up period to prepare the ad text and landing pages, and then it is “off to the races” with running the ads online. It might only take a few weeks to do the proper research and ad writing to get the PPC campaign going.

Short Term vs. Long Term Effects

Many businesses enjoy SEM as the “instant” version of online marketing. However, it is important to realize that when you stop paying for the ad, it also instantly disappears. SEO, on the other hand, takes time to build and typically has a more lasting effect. Since search engine optimization relies heavily on a high quality website and content, when those tasks are properly maintained the website will continue to rank well in organic results. Unless a major error occurs with the website or a dramatic change happens with the domain name, it is not likely that a well-ranked listing would suddenly “turn off” immediately.

Tracking Conversion

With both methods of online marketing – pay-per-click ads and search engine optimization work – you can track conversion effectively. This is an important feature that they have in common, and why Internet marketing in general is so attractive to business managers. Online analytics programs can track the number of visits to the website, the visits to a certain page, the amount of clicks on a link, and even a certain goal like filling out a form.

Many organizations actually choose to do both forms of marketing to gain the advantages. By participating at least minimally in SEM, they enjoy some immediate ads and can regulate budget to certain landing pages and promotions. By strengthening SEO, they can have a strong overall reputation in top searches and enjoy a long lasting web presence.

What seems right for your business?


Posted in: Internet Marketing, Marketing, SEM

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