Corporate Team Discussion

How to Do SEO and PPC. A Practical Guide for Growing SMBs.


As a small to medium business owner, it can be difficult to make sense of all the marketing options.

Even more confusing for many is how they should approach SEO and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns.

The truth is SEO and PPC are two very different strategies. SEO is a long-term organic marketing strategy. Its goal is to optimize a website and its content to rank higher in search engine results.

Implementing SEO in a website takes work. Contual iterations with quality content and great user experiences for your audience.

But you're probably asking yourself, "How much is SEO?" The short answer is that it is many multiples less than an average search campaign.

PPC is a paid form of advertising used in conjunction with other marketing strategies. It involves creating campaigns to advertise on search engines. It can be optimized for a number of

Both strategies can be effective. They can help you reach your target audience. However, it is important to understand how and when to use each one.

This guide will help you understand the basics of SEO and PPC. You can use them together to create an effective digital marketing strategy. Understanding these fundamentals is essential for success.

With many digital channels vying for your marketing budget, allocating your resources wisely is crucial. Choosing SEO before launching paid media campaigns can yield better long-term results and save money. This guide will demonstrate why.

Expensive Keywords and Cost Per Click in Paid Search Campaigns

Paid search campaigns can often be a tempting choice for quick results. However, these campaigns are not always the most cost-effective solution, particularly for SMBs. Marketing expenses in paid search campaigns can be driven up by the cost per click (CPC) of various keywords. CPC is an important factor that affects the cost of campaigns.

For example, let's consider some of the most expensive keywords across some common industries:

Legal: "personal injury attorney" - $210 per click

Insurance: "car insurance quote" - $150 per click

Finance: "mortgage refinance" - $100 per click

Education: "online MBA program" - $75 per click

Healthcare: "drug rehab center" - $65 per click

For example, running a paid search campaign can be expensive if you are a new personal injury attorney. It can cost over $2,000 USD for just ten clicks, with no guarantee of any clients.

This can be quite sobering for many new to paid media and busy trying to manage their business.

Moreover, the average CPC across industries can be quite high:

Legal: $50

Insurance: $45

Finance: $40

Education: $35

Healthcare: $30

Paid search campaigns can be expensive for small businesses. This is especially true when targeting competitive keywords. The numbers above demonstrate this. Keep in mind that these are rough averages.

Many keywords will be more expensive. Your competitors may bid on the same keywords, driving up the price. This could be a disadvantage for you.

What's even worse, your competitors may have a larger marketing budget and start a bidding war with you. Bidding wars in PPC campaigns can immediately deplete your budget without proper oversight.

The SEO Advantage: Organic Results for Long-term Success

While SEO may take longer to show results than paid media campaigns, the long-term benefits far outweigh the waiting period. By investing in a solid SEO strategy, your business can enjoy the following advantages:

  1. More cost-effective: SEO strategies generally require a lower upfront investment than paid media campaigns. Executing an effective SEO plan can improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). This will lead to higher clicks and conversions without the continual cost of pay-per-click campaigns. Over time, this can be very beneficial.
  2. SEO allows your business to achieve and maintain high SERP rankings. This result is long-term, unlike paid campaigns which stop delivering results when the budget runs out. SEO drives organic traffic and conversions over an extended period.
  3. Enhanced credibility and trust: Organic search results are often perceived as more trustworthy than paid ads by users. Choosing SEO can build credibility and trust with your target audience, improving brand reputation and customer loyalty.
  4. SEO has lower costs and sustained results, making it a better business choice. This leads to a higher return on investment (ROI) than paid media campaigns.

Exceptions to the Rule: When Paid Media Campaigns Make Sense

SEO should be the primary focus for most small and medium businesses. However, there are times when paid media campaigns are either necessary or more effective.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Promotions with time limits can benefit from paid media campaigns. These campaigns help to create visibility quickly and can drive sales or sign-ups in a short period of time.
  2. Testing and validation: Paid media campaigns can effectively test messaging, offers, or landing pages before investing in long-term SEO efforts.
  3. Niche markets offer an advantage. In certain industries, there is less competition for paid search ads. This makes paid search more cost-effective than SEO. It is a great way to increase visibility and conversions.
  4. Paid media campaigns can offer advanced targeting options. These options can help businesses target specific customer segments when SEO alone may not be enough to achieve this alone withouct substantial research.
  5. Brand awareness campaigns are helpful for new businesses or products. Paid media campaigns can help build brand recognition and reach potential customers. These customers may not be actively searching for your offerings.

Optimizing Your SEO Strategy

Given the many benefits of focusing on SEO before paid media campaigns, it's essential to understand how to do SEO effectively. Here are some key elements to consider when building your SEO strategy:

  1. Keyword research: Identify the most relevant and valuable keywords for your business. This process involves analyzing search volume, competition, and user intent to target keywords that will drive organic traffic and conversions.
  2. Optimize your website's content and meta tags. This is called on-page optimization. It ensures that search engines can crawl, index, and understand the purpose of each page. This includes optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and body content with targeted keywords.
  3. Technical SEO can help improve your search rankings.
  4. It involves addressing technical issues on your website, like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and site structure.
  5. Content marketing: Create high-quality, engaging content that appeals to your target audience and aligns with their search intent. This can include blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, and more.
  6. Off-page optimization: Build a strong backlink profile by earning high-quality backlinks from relevant websites. This can be achieved through guest posting, influencer outreach, and content promotion.
  7. Analytics and reporting: Use tools like GA4 to regularly monitor your website's performance, traffic, and conversions. This will help you identify areas for improvement and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.

The bottom line: Although ads might seem like the quickest way to acquire customers, SEO is essential. It's often the first step in driving potential leads to your business. Beyond this, a strong SEO strategy has much better long-term benefits.

Consider the cost of all those keyword clicks and their average cost within your industry. Each of those clicks to your website you pay for is one and done. While you can use remarketing to website visitors, this will cost you more to run another campaign.

Now consider using SEO. While SEO won't yield results overnight, you'll have a long-term plan to reach your audience. Plus, you won't have to watch your money go down the drain.

Paid media campaigns may offer quick results but can also mask problems in your search traffic, particularly for SMBs. Choosing SEO can help your business succeed in the long term. It also saves you from having to pay for ongoing search campaigns.

It is essential to recognize that each business has its own objectives and requirements. But if you plan to build your business the right way, choosing SEO first is usual the smartest option.

In certain cases, paid media campaigns may be more suitable. For most small and medium businesses, investing in SEO is a more cost-effective and rewarding approach than paid media. Focusing on building a strong SEO foundation is the best way to achieve this.

Start your SEO effectively today. You will be on the path to positioning your business for long-term growth and success.

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