Big shout-out to Canada West Internet Marketing author, Oscar Dawson for this post on Google AdWords vs. traditional SEO. Check his info out here.
The main ingredients needed for effective Search Engine Marketing and successfully running digital marketing campaigns are SEO and Adwords. Although both tools are useful, there are instances where you should use one over the other or use the two tools in different combinations to deliver the right result for your marketing campaigns. Let us see what these two tools are and when to use them effectively.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
In simple language, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means using techniques to rank your website and web pages better than its competitors in popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. To ensure your pages rank higher in these search engines, you must work towards making your website search engine friendly.
This means that your website should be extremely easy to read and get information from for search engines and its users at the same time.
There are plenty of tips that you can use to make your website search engine friendly and ensure that users find your website on the top on search engines whenever they look for a keyword. However, you don’t need to apply all those techniques on your website. The bottom line to having a search engine friendly website is to make it functional and fast and to offer unique good-quality content to its end users.
You would have heard digital marketers talk about words such as Pay Per Clicks (PPC), Cost Per Clicks (CPCs), Adwords, campaigns, and bids. Getting a thorough understanding of these terms is needed, so you know what to use when for effective digital marketing.
Google Adwords is the name given to an advertising platform owned and operated by the tech giant, Google. Using Google Adwords, you can post an online advertisement for your business or services, so it shows in Google search engine results. Not just that, using Google Adwords, your ad can also appear in other Google websites such as Gmail and YouTube and many other partner websites that participate in Google’s Adwords program as publishers (such as Google AdSense).
As a digital marketer or online advertiser, you can choose to either pay a fee when someone clicks on your ad on a search engine (this is called Cost Per Click or CPC) or when users see your ad (this is called Cost per Thousand Impressions or CPMs).
There are advertising places and spots on search engines for which businesses compete, so their ad is placed on the best available spot on those search engines. You can think about the whole scenario as a big auction ground.
Google Adwords or SEO?
Now that you know what SEO and Adwords have let us look at their benefits and comparison.
While SEO principles can be effectively applied to all search engines – whether big or small – Google Adwords work only on Google sites and affiliates such as Google AdSense.
The users and the traffic you get via SEO is completely free, also called organic traffic. However, the traffic that visits your website after clicking an ad through Google Adwords is paid. Google Adwords are linked to your marketing campaign and when a campaign finishes, the Adwords, and its traffic finish with it. But this is not true for SEO as once you have implemented SEO techniques on your website, the traffic flow is quality and long-term.
But one advantage with Adwords is that it is fully under your control and can start and end whenever you like. Unlike SEO, which is completely dependent on search engines’ algorithm to index your website and rank it on your competitor’s website.
Again, with Adwords because you can easily identify your spending and revenue on the campaign and the ad, you can easily calculate the ROI at the end of it as compared to SEO.
Both SEO and Adwords work on keywords, but the beauty of Adwords is that you can target far more keywords simultaneously than you can with SEO.
So, which is better: Adwords or SEO?
While SEO is the way to go to ensure your website receives high-quality traffic long term, some businesses do not have the time to invest in SEO as the return takes long. Instead, they want results faster and immediately and this where Adwords take the lead.
With Adwords, you pay for each click on your ad in Google, but if the leads generated are high and your campaign is driving the right audience to your site, you can justify the investment made to the business. Sometimes, businesses also use Google Adwords to test their procedures, services, and products with a live audience.
Especially for start-ups that need to get quick sales to establish themselves against their competitors and in the market, Google Adwords can do wonders.
But Google Adwords is not as easy as SEO. You may need help from experts to ensure you have built the right digital marketing campaign and support it with the right AdWords to gain maximum profit from the venture.
Again, there’s no harm in getting some quick wins using Adwords, but your continuous business improvement strategy must include SEO. If you forget about SEO and give all your efforts to Adwords, you may see some quick success, but you’ll also fall through the cracks in the long run.
Using SEO, you can optimize the content on your website to suit search engines, so your site ranks higher in them. Digital marketers have shared that the top three online tools for long-term business success are SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. Content marketing will help in creating the right content, SEO will optimize it for search engines, and social media will promote it to the right audience.
SEO and Adwords go hand in hand
If you think you have succeeded in optimizing your website for SEO, you can still benefit from some quick and highly targeted Google Adwords. You can continuously measure success and ROI on Adwords and fine tune for betterment.
So, if you’re still wondering which way to go, we have a solution. You can start getting some quick wins using Google Adwords and work in parallel on your SEO strategy, so you get the right traffic to your site for the long term.
You should never look at Google Adwords and SEO as competing tools, but ensure that you use the two together for the maximum benefit for your business. While SEO helps in sustainable business, Adwords can prove beneficial to make quick sales.