On one hand, pay per click (PPC) schemes like Google AdWords allow you to gain first page exposure on top keywords using the help of Google itself instead of relying on third-party search engine optimization (SEO) experts who are forever trying to figure out Google's policies and algorithm methodology. On the other hand, PPC schemes aren't cheap, while SEO is a lot more dynamic and adaptable to the changes of the Internet. Google AdWords is also a money pit for small or startup businesses that are competing against large, multinational corporations from the same industry that also use Google AdWords; Google will obviously prioritize their highest paying clients.
The Pros and Cons of PPC
Google AdWords isn't the only PPC campaign available. There are a multitude of PPC packages out there, and you don't need to be a huge, well-established business with unlimited funds to take advantage of PPC's many benefits. PPC, as opposed to SEO, gets all their traffic by advertising through popular sites. These campaigns buy ad space on the most traffic-heavy websites around, and in exchange for the traffic, they'll be paid for every click they provide (hence "pay per click").
The results of PPCs like Google AdWords are fast; you don't need to wait a year to see an increase in traffic, you can get it as soon as a week has passed by. Moreover, PPC offers fast data on many market factors as well. However, it's also the fastest way to lose money if it's not run properly. Aside from the expensiveness of PPC campaigns, it also has a learning curve you need to overcome in order to maximize its effectiveness. Unless you've had professional training, it's not recommended that you try running your own PPC campaign.
The Pros and Cons of SEO
When compared to PPC services, SEO provides a lot more leeway. If one SEO technique doesn't work, you can always try out another until you find the method that best suits your website. This flexibility and ability to adapt regardless of how the Internet evolves has made SEO the universal way of getting hits for your website. SEO even helps resolve site code or server technical issues, because SEO techniques are best done on the web development level, while the site is being created. What's more, SEO offers traffic by organic promotion instead of unnatural, astroturfing methods.
Even though the results of PPC are fast, SEO results are more long-lasting if done right. It also depends a lot on brand strength, which is a marketing concept that's been developed and perfected for years. Besides which, SEO is basically a quality improvement exercise; the more high-quality content you provide, the more hits you'll gain. If you spread awareness of your site but don't have quality content to back it up, your SEO efforts will go down the drain. Interesting content and increasing exposure to your site must work hand-in-hand in order to make SEO work, because bad SEO hurts businesses.
How About Using SEM?
In a nutshell, SEO has slower results but it's more organic and inexpensive when attracting hits. Furthermore, it improves site quality as well. Meanwhile, the PPC campaign provides fast results and immediate marketing data, but it's expensive, has a steep learning curve, and can drain your budget if done wrong. As for Search Engine Marketing (SEM), it's the type of marketing that incorporates both SEO and PPC approaches together in order to give your website the hits, exposure, and traffic it requires to make a profit. SEM is basically the best of both SEO and PPC worlds.
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