When you’re a small business it can be confusing what marketing techniques you should be investing in. When it comes to search engine marketing, the main two components are SEO and Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords). They’re extremely both valuable tools when you’re running a digital marketing campaign.
They do, however, have some differences and similarities, and some times it can be more appropriate to use them both individually as opposed to together, it depends on your business and marketing goals. For many small businesses, it’s not very easy to decide whether Google Ads is worth investing in, and when it’s the right time to do so.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads doesn’t suit all industries and may only be appropriate for use for others when they’re in a promotional period. For example, Google Ads can be brilliant for a retail business especially when using Google Shopping as a tool, but for a manufacturing business SEO might be a better fit.
Google Ads is an advertising platform that has been created by Google. Anyone who is looking to advertise can use this platform to have their ads appear in Google search results pages, on YouTube, Gmail and thousands of partner websites that have signed up to the Google Adsense program.
As an advertiser, you have the choice between paying for when people see your ad, known as CPM (cost per Thousands of Impressions) or when someone clicks your ad, known as CPC (cost per click). Ads works like an auction where, as an advertiser, you compete for available advertising space, this can make it highly competitive meaning that for a small business using specific and refined SEO techniques could be more effectively than PPC (pay per click) marketing.
What is SEO?
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation; it’s all about achieving a better ranking in the search engine results of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other major search engines. Ensuring you have a dynamic website that is search engine friendly will mean you have a website that can easily read and categorised by search engines. The aim is to have your website as search engine friendly as possible by populating the page with keywords, headings and links that show a search engine that your website is relevant to a particular search. One of the best ways to boost your SEO is to create unique content that offers a great experience to your users.
Google Ads vs SEO?
So, now we have a basic idea of what Google Ads and SEO are, now it’s time to see how they compare.
- SEO can be used on all search engines, whereas Ads is for Google sites and the websites that use Adsense, Google’s advertising partner program, some sites that use this sort of system include TradeMe, 7 Times (a Chinese language financials services website), The Hits (radio station) and many more. In New Zealand, Google is the number one search engine by a gigantic margin. However, Bing, Yahoo and Ecosia all get a reasonable amount of traffic.
- You have to budget for Google Ads as it is a payable platform, but SEO produces free organic traffic. This is a key difference. With Google Ads you’ll be paying a management fee to whoever runs your campaign and a click through fee to Google for every click but with SEO you don’t need to pay the search engine. Because of this, SEO works out to be a cheaper longer term strategy.
- Google Ads can work well if you’re after instant results. Under certain circumstances you can grab one of the ad positions that appear at the top or bottom of Google search results and start reaping the rewards immediately. With SEO you have to work much harder to achieve this, however, it is possible. This means that Ads can work well if you have a promotional offer that you’re trying to push.
- SEO can take while to get good traffic and ranking, Ads is a more immediate. This could be an excellent way to produce traffic for new websites.
- Google Ads can be seen as more straightforward when it comes to calculating the ROI while SEO can sometimes be a little more complicated because there can be a lot more factors that contribute to the results.
- Ads enables you to target more keywords; with SEO, you need to have a focus on fewer keywords to achieve the best results. Of course, if your business sits within a niche market, likely, you will only have a few keywords that you will focus on anyway. Therefore Ads could be seen as an unneeded expense for some businesses.
What Will Work Best for You?
Many new companies find it extremely useful to start with Google Ads; this is because it can immediately create traffic. However, as a small business, you should spend some time becoming familiar with the importance of gaining organic traffic through the use of SEO. Ultimately you’ll need to decide if Google Ads fits within your budget or whether focusing on SEO long term will provide the best results.
With different businesses being in different niches, it’s not surprising that Google Ads doesn’t always work for everyone. However, when a business needs quicker results than what they are able achieve from SEO, Ads is a great way to start generating instantaneous results.
That is the most significant advantage of AdWords over SEO; the pure fact that the results are faster. This doesn’t mean that you should forget about SEO entirely. In fact, as a long term strategy SEO provides a higher return on investment, especially if you want organic traffic that isn’t going to come to a sudden halt if you stop using a service.
If you can justify the investment, AdWords could be an excellent place to start with your online marketing. If you’re planning on short term promotion, are a new company, launching a new product or service, want to find new customers or nurture your relationship with existing customers then Google Ads could be your ideal digital marketing strategy.
You should also be aware that it can be possible to make a loss using Google Ads just as much as make a profit. If you don’t have the right monitoring and control tools, it can be very easily done. It can sometimes be seen as a gamble; this is because you’re paying for a service that doesn’t guarantee a return. But with experts, like Mars Digital, managing and actively monitoring your campaign you can see exactly what’s happening with your investment, where it’s going and the results you’re getting.
While it can be a good idea to start with AdWords, you should never forget about SEO. SEO is your long term investment when it comes to online marketing. So, yes Google Ads is good, but in my opinion using SEO is a much more sustainable way to achieve a long term return.
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