There is no doubt that there are key advantages and disadvantages to both pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). PPC is a multi-billion-dollar business and made Google into the powerhouse that it is today. It is still the dominant force in Internet advertising and that is not likely to change in the future. It is a great complement to a strong organic SEO strategy as it can help get you to the top of the rankings immediately.
This is really the greatest benefit of PPC. It can be turned on and off as you need it to based on your website needs, where your business is, and what is trending at any given moment. Results can be immediate so long as you bid enough for the PPC slots and fund your account as you need to. You will immediately start to get targeted hits and have detailed information on everything from clicks to conversions if you set it up properly with a program such as Google Adwords. Of course, the flip side of this is that once you run out of budget or if you turn off the PPC campaign, the traffic will instantly disappear. This is why it is usually best as part of a larger plan that includes SEO marketing as well.
A second advantage of PPC is that you only have to pay for people who actually click through to your website. Unlike the previous predominant model which relied on impressions, PPC does not cost anything if no one is clicking through. This makes it less important to have the flashiest ad, although you do still want to create compelling ads so that you still get people to click- it just won’t cost you your budget if you don’t. This leaves room for you to experiment with ad types, especially when you are first getting started. Things like A/B testing become much easier to implement under this sort of operating model. Less money gets wasted on audiences who are not interested in your content based on your ad, so your money truly goes to a very targeted audience assuming your ad is truthful in presenting users with what they can expect once they click through to your website.
PPC also is a great way to further target your key demographics by setting the exact people, places, and times in which the ads will show. If you are geared to a regional audience, this is particularly great as you don’t have to bother displaying or paying for clicks to people who are not your target customer. It is also great to cater to your various market segments with truly unique and compelling ads and content (landing pages can be a great way to easily customize this for various customer segments).
Finally, the power of PPC is greatest when you leverage it with a strong SEO plan. If you can manage to rank well in organic results and be in the sponsored ads on the same ranking pages, you will notice that your traffic will really spike as you build that ethos of truly being a dominant player in the space. People will click through not only because they see your website more, but because they will realize that you are a serious player in the space. SEO can also help capture markets which are not really appropriate for PPC- namely those based off of long-tail and rare keywords which do not make sense to center paid campaigns around. Over the long run, however, this traffic can certainly amount to something so it is worth employing some strategies to cast that wider net as well.