Most often than not, our Bangkok SEO clients often ask the question, “Which is better, PPC or SEO?”. The answer to that is PPC for the immediate short and long term, SEO is for the long term.
That is, PPC results are almost instantaneous (with a lot of planning of course, for target keywords and creating relevant landing pages) whilst SEO does take quite a bit of time (and investment) to achieve results which are self sustainable on the organic searches. It’s often seen as a very simple question but the answer to that is very complex as it depends on a number of elements, such as;
By default, the above 5 questions is what we would ask our prospects and clients who are looking to engage with Digital Muscle. The answer to these questions will often pave the way for our team to strategise and brainstorm a strategy which will work well for the client. The old saying ‘Don’t put all your eggs into one basket’ is valid, you should always look to diversify on your marketing dollars.
To make a valid decision on which strategy to use, we delve into both the pros and cons of PPC and SEO. Ultimately you’d need to make that ROI (return on investment) back to justify the spend, whether that be a pure PPC campaign or a straight out SEO campaign which could go on for years.. And a proper well thought out and executed plan will pay dividends.
So let’s have a look at SEO first.
It is after all our favourite 😉
Whenever you are thinking about SEO, you are thinking about organic. You have to think organic because you are effectively growing that seed into a tree, amongst all your other online competitors.
Typically the Google organic search results page will have 10 listings only. It is therefore vital (if you are in a competitive market) to have your website in the top 10 positions of Google for maximum exposure and to generate more enquiries. Failing that, your website may just be another statistic of a website out there generating very little visits.
To increase visibility from doing SEO, it is important to realise that it takes time and you need to persuade Google’s algorithm to trust your website. The essence of making your website crawlable with spicy juicy content will allow the crawlers to understand your website, your web page’s intent to then further index your webpage for relevant search keywords.
With probably over 200 ranking factors being utilised by Google’s algorithm, one would probably start to imagine how much work needs to be invested into getting a website to rank. Well it’s the same as building a car, you start with the base of the vehicle and work your way up is the same approach you would take with your own website. You would always be constantly making adjustments to your onsite structure and content. That is a fact, and to be honest, one of our main headaches here at Digital Muscle. In addition to that, you need to be clued up on:
The most painful part about this is the fact that Google’s algorithm constantly changes with each update. You seriously need to conduct tweaks very often in-line with today’s industry standards. SEO was never about hiring an agency or freelancer to build a couple of backlinks every now and then. If it was like that, to hell with it - hire me for X amount of dollars, and I’ll build you a few backlinks whenever I feel like it.
You should always look to create the best possible experience for your users so in time, this will give you the best result on the web for any search queries which are related to your business. Those who can achieve this will find that they can drive significant amounts of monthly traffic.
Now that we got SEO out of the way (which took me 2 hours to write by the way) - let’s have a look into PPC and it’s pros and cons.
The short answer is yes.
And the key here is never to favour any strategy and always remain in the present, especially when planning and executing for what will become, your future business leads and enquiries. The key is to strike a perfect balance for your website, a mixture of PPC can bring quick results and enquiries, to keep the phones and emails busy, whilst the SEO is being worked on in the background, which will eventually kick in later on to further sustain the business. Over the last decade of working with our Thai based SEO clients, we found that 90% of businesses require both strategies to bring in constant enquiries. Out of most of these strategies, we found that our Thai SEO clients prefer remarketing/retargeting as it was effective.
Retargeting/remarketing works extremely well if you have cookies enabled throughout your website. From here, it’s just a matter of running Ads through your Adwords account to retarget users who have previously been on your website. It may not just be the website itself, they could have also clicked on your Youtube videos.. Your cookies will store that information allowing for other users to retarget you in their ads. One of the best examples is, if a user visited a certain page or added a product to their shopping cart and then left the website, you are able to serve ads specifically to these users so that they can return back to your website through ads on the search results or banner ads on the Google Display Network. One of our Thai clients would often increase their bid for the users who abandoned their basket, so that later when they do revisit and click on your remarketing ad, your product ads will be more prominent, calling for attention.
Use the information from Adwords to guide your SEO strategy
Yes, your own Google Adwords account has a plethora of valid up-to-date data, such as conversions, ad headlines, call to action, messaging - all these data which can inform you which keywords to target and how to revamp landing pages for better conversions and lower bounce rates. These days the Google search algorithm is looking specifically at click through rates, the higher the better, the more meaningful and impactful it will have on your own search rankings. And your PPC campaign is enough for you to work through with your agency to explore ways at maximising the customer’s experience and journey throughout your website.
Look you're probably reading through all this thinking still, which strategy is better for me? The truth of the matter is you should be working on both strategies to further increase your website’s presence on Google and to get that phone ringing. Brainstorming and executing the strategy at hand takes a lot of planning in advance and unfortunately, if you don’t have the time or the resources to build all these custom landing pages to serve the ads, then you may consider registering for Google My Business, update it with all your business details and photos and run a Adwords smart campaign based off your Google My Business listing. An example over here of what information you should put in your own listing to generate more business enquiries and phone calls. The advantages of running a Adwords smart campaign is that it is almost effortless and requires little thinking to get it off the ground running. Although it does have it’s own disadvantages, it generally serves well for business owners who do not have the right resources or budget to hire a proper agency or simply just don’t have the time to plan properly.
In summary and from a professional opinion, we would consider SEO if we are already driving sales from other sources of revenue and would like to self sustain ourselves for the long run.
Use PPC only if we are looking to get the ground running with enquiries or even just by conducting a test run on a new product, to see how the market place responds. But both strategies should work hand in hand with each other to maximise on missed opportunities as if you will sacrifice on one strategy, your competitor will certainly reap the benefits of your search result not being there.