As a local business owner, you should be aware that one of the most important things to consider when running a website is online visibility and making sure your business features highly on internet searches that relate to your chosen business area. Most importantly, you want to have the greatest success on the world’s largest search engine, Google.
For anyone new to the world of digital marketing there can be many complicated terms and endless jargon which can seem confusing and even intimidating. This blog will hopefully help to address some of this confusion and explain how you can make this aspect of digital marketing work for you and your business.
We are going to look at the different methods you can use to help increase your online presence and make sure your website features highly on a standard Google search. There are two main ways to manage marketing in relation to Google, and these are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).
What are SEO and PPC?
Local SEO achieves results by using algorithms which are set by Google to rank the pages of your website in relation to others by using various “keywords.” Pages that have better ranking will appear higher up the list on an internet search and therefore be far more visible to consumers and more likely to generate traffic. This method relates specifically to organic search results. These are the main body of search results that show up on a page after conducting a Google search, and it’s worth noting that they cannot be influenced by paid advertising.
Due to the nature of this method of reaching prospective clients, you will have to be prepared to enlist the help of SEO experts who will effectively attempt to “play the system” of algorithms and key words in order to get your page ranked higher than that of your competitors.
On the other hand, Pay Per Click is simply paid advertising. These ads will not only be displayed on the first page of the internet search above the organic results but also show up within a few hours after placing the ad. This allows you to start generating leads and sales for your business that very same day, giving you a quicker return on your investment (ROI).
Which method is more suitable for my business?
When considering which of these methods will be suitable for your business, it is important to find out what advantages one may have over the other. This blog will look at the many advantages to using PPC paid advertising to help raise the profile of your business compared to the SEO approach.
First and foremost, PPC ads are more prominently displayed and given prime position on a search results page, making them stand out clearly from the competition. Many people do not like to scroll down through numerous results unless they really have to. If your business is featured at the top of the page, giving the customer exactly what they are looking for, then you have an immediate advantage over the competition.
You are far more likely to see a quick response to any PPC campaign, compared to using local SEO. Your paid advertising will be found on the first page of a Google search very quickly, meaning that your website has the potential to reach customers much faster. In comparison, SEO is seen as a much more long term investment. Typically, it is unlikely that you will see results within the first 3-6 months after launch. You may even find that after many months of paying an SEO firm to manage your online marketing, you still have not reached page one of search results for your most critical keywords.
A reputable SEO firm can be a worthy investment, however, it is challenging to determine which SEO marketers are current on SEO practices and which ones are using out-of-date methods. Beware of those offering miraculous results, promising to take your business to the top of Google’s page one quickly. It is imperative that you research SEO marketers thoroughly to ensure your investment is a wise one.
If you do choose to go down the route of SEO, you unfortunately run the risk of Google changing its algorithms (it has happened in the past) which could mean you would be back to square one overnight, as far as building an online presence goes.
PPC advertising has the added benefit of giving a business owner clear and measurable results. You can easily track how much money is being spent on clicks and also see how many leads and how much revenue is being generated, giving you a clear picture of your ROI. SEO on the other hand is very difficult to track accurately. Google doesn’t generally share SEO data with website owners, so this makes it very hard to monitor the amount of business generated from organic traffic.
It is also worth remembering that some of your website interest may be a result of “branded” searches. This refers to people who are searching for your business by name and therefore already know of your company. These people would likely be visiting your site anyway, so this can skew any attempt at trying to ascertain the effectiveness of your SEO investment.
The Bottom Line for Local Business Marketing
Something important to remember is that Google is a very large and profitable company. Around 90% of their revenue comes from advertising so they are dedicated to providing businesses with a reliable and effective service. They make no money from SEO, but they do from their PPC program, Google AdWords.
Local businesses are a very attractive prospect for Google, as location and locality are extremely relevant for most business searches. If someone is looking for a legal firm in their home-town, then Google wants to provide that person with the best, most relevant examples of what they are looking for. Therefore, it is in their best interests to give local businesses a paid platform that works well for them, their business clients and every day users.
Both SEO and PPC methods of marketing can be viable, dependant on an individual business’s profile and needs. However, in our experience, PPC advertising offers the fastest results, with greater reliability and ROI for the majority of local businesses.
If you have any questions about which advertising is best for your business or confused and overwhelmed by all this SEO and PPC talk, click this Contact Us link to email or call us for help. Our advice is always free and carries no obligations. At Cedar Park Local, our goal is to help your business grow.