If you are new to the internet marketing world, then you may be unsure how to get started. So many website owners and brands that are looking to get noticed on the web aren’t sure of the first steps to take or how to start promoting their business online.

Similarly, there is a misconception that internet marketing terms, concepts and practices are too complicated and difficult for the everyday user to understand. That’s why so many people believe it’s best to have a “hands-off” approach and allow a marketing agency to do the work for them, at a high price.

The truth is that the concepts behind internet marketing are relatively simple, and it’s best that you get an understanding of what they are, even if you employ a marketing agency, in order to better determine what your goals are and how to achieve them.

Two of the most talked about terms in the space are search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC). Both of these fall under the umbrella of search engine marketing and share the same goal: to increase a website’s visibility on search engines. Yet, SEO and PPC are widely different and it’s important to understand the differences in order to properly employ them in your business.

Let’s go over the SEO vs. PPC debate to get a better understanding of what each does, and to determine which you should use to get your business noticed on Google and drive traffic to your website.

Paying for visibility

The whole concept behind PPC is that you are paying for some sort of real estate on the internet. That real estate is an advertisement that is displayed on Google’s search results page when someone searches for certain keywords and phrases. The goal is to have your ad linked to the keywords that are most relevant to your business.

Paid advertisements are listed alongside the organic search results in Google and are labeled as ads. Whenever a searcher clicks on one of your ads, you pay for their click, hence the name, pay per click.

PPC is implemented via a service offered by Google called AdWords. With this tool, you identify some keywords that are related to your business and that you think a user may search on Google. Via AdWords and other PPC advertising programs, you are essentially paying for every single visit that you get to your website from the Google search results page.

Organic search results

SEO, on the other hand, involves the steps you take to optimise your website’s ranking in Google’s organic search different types of search results and seoengine results. In contrast to those shown with PPC, organic results are ranked in order of their relevance on the web, not based on how much an advertiser is willing to pay.

Google uses complicated algorithms to scour the internet and determine which websites are more likely to fit what a user is searching for. They do so by looking at a number of different factors, including how closely your content matches the user’s search, how many and which sites are linking to your website, how users interact with your site, etc.

Since listing organic results is more of a guessing game than an exact science, Google is constantly updating and changing its algorithms to more accurately reflect what a user may or may not be searching for.

But any and every change in Google’s ranking methods leads to changes in the SEO world and may influence the ranking of pages on their search results page. That’s why a proper SEO strategy involves a continual effort and SEO experts must constantly stay aware of the most effective practices.

Which is best?

The truth is that it’s difficult to say whether SEO or PPC is a better method for pushing traffic to your website. There are so many different variables, like the user, the industry your business is in, and of course, your internet marketing strategy and goals.

Evidence does suggest that searchers are becoming much more aware of the ads placed via PPC and are ignoring them, meaning that users are only focusing on organic search results. Also, there is a general feeling that SEO delivers more quality leads since users are more likely to trust the website. This would lead us to conclude that it’s best to invest our time and effort into improving SEO.

But in order to have consistent and quality results on the organic search results, you need to stay ahead of changes in Google’s algorithm and constantly monitor each and every aspect of your website to make sure it is optimised for search engine indexing. This requires a certain level of technical skill that not everyone has.

Similarly, PPC may give you an advantage if you are operating in a competitive segment with established leaders. If this is the case, it may be extremely difficult – or even impossible – to get on the first page of the search engine results page, meaning PPC is your best option to get noticed.

Overall, the best internet marketing strategy will use an intelligent combination of SEO and PPC methods. Both SEO and PPC have their advantages and disadvantages, but used together they can create a powerful apparatus for pointing users to your business and converting them into quality leads.

Yet, these tools aren’t useful if they aren’t implemented correctly. If you haven’t run an internet marketing campaign before, turn to an expert or someone knowledgeable in the area who can help put all of your resources to the best use possible.