Content SEO strategy or PPC (pay-per-click)?

It takes time for a new website to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs) but with concerted effort with SEO best practice it will happen. To get a website high on a SERP, some site owners opt for PPC (pay-per-click) advertising such as Google Adwords, but this quick fix isn't necessarily the best way if you're aiming for your site to have a strong presence in search engine result listings.

PPC can be an expensive. PPC might be worth the investment for some businesses. But don't discount the importance of addressing 'slow cook' SEO principles to contribute to your website's long-term success as a marketing tool. It's a long term investment that yields results. It involves developing content, meta data, schema markup to develop your organic rankings.

 Smart phone displaying a ecommerce shopping site with 3 items in the cart.

SEO and organic traffic

Organic traffic is the opposite of PPC traffic. Organic traffic is referred to your site via a search engines, not by another website or by clicking on a ad.

For website owners, SEO that yields organic high ranking on SERPs means addressing factors like:

  • targeting researched keywords (but not cramming keywords) in content and metadata
  • using semantically-related keywords in content and tags — Google is sophisticated enought to make the connection
  • writing great content that informs (and therefore offers value) — what visitors hope to find when they click to your page
  • structuring your content so that information is easily found
  • sharing useful information on social platforms
  • your site’s authority.

What’s site authority?

Site authority is earned when visitors interact with your content because your site is useful, engaging, meaningful; they revisit your site again; visitor numbers grow. Back links to your site from credible and authoritative websites build SEO strength and contribute to your site's authority.  Search engines love site authority. The time it takes a new site to rank highly in organic searches is connected to how long it takes a website to gain authority.

Having backlinks from reputable sites to your site contributes to your site's authority.

With sustained attention to SEO principles, your website will maintain valuable strength in organic search results — which is great for a long-term online marketing strategy.  Your customers will likely come back for more and recommend your site. Nothing like word-of-mouth as a great marketing tool.

PPC ads

PPC is paid advertising —site owners paying for specific targeted keywords so their site appears high on SERPs with an ‘ad’ note attached. PPC ads are inorganic search results. Site owners pay for every click to their site from the ad.

This can be helpful for new business websites in a competitive market to get noticed high on search engine results pages. With increased traffic to your site from people clicking on the ads, PPC can go some way to contributing to your site's SEO.

But without great content, will visitors come back? Will your site gain 'real' authority? And importantly, without great content, your page's bounce rate will likely be high — visitors leaving the page without much of look — and this works against you and your intent for SEO strength.

Is PPC worth the money? 

Research into eye tracking and how searchers interact with SERPs has suggested that organic result listings on SERPs capture the most clicksnot the inorganic PPC ads. However, since about 2015, PPC listings have been getting better results with the click-through-rates from AdWords increasing.

This statistical increase, according to a MOZ post from October 2017, is due to:

  • users linking from PPC listings for specific products
  • PPC listings for products also increasing in numbers over recent years.

The stats will probably continue to increase because of return on investment — PPC for specific consumer products seem to be working.

Summary

  • Attention to a content strategy for organic SEO best practice is well worth the effort and investment in the long term.
  • PPC using targeted keywords is an option that could work to get new websites noticed on SERPs. But depending on what your ad is for, it might not yield many clicks. (So you don't pay that much, but you don't get much traffic to your site either.)
  • PPC could have SEO value — if visitors via PPC engage with your content, remember your brand, and revisit your site because you have great content!

If you decide PPC is worth the money, don’t ignore the importance of ranking high in organic search results. Content SEO principles offer a long-term solid foundation for your website's strength as a marketing tool.