Monday, January 7, 2013

Search Engine Marketing Strategy for Startups: PPC? SEO?Or Both?



These days when Google is introducing various changes in search engine algorithm frequently, most of the small business owners have a common question, whether they should invest in SEO practice or they should invest in Google’s PPC campaign. I am surprised that lots of business owners see it as an either/or situation.
In my opinion, incorporating both PPC and SEO in your search engine  cost effective marketing strategy would be a wise decision in the long run.Both paid and organic search channels should be in synergy for maximizing your online presence.However, the small business that operates with limited resources and budgets often tends to narrow their budget and focus to either PPC or SEO, because they can’t afford to run both.According to the merchant confidence survey conducted among 2500 small business owners by the MerchantCircle/Reply.com, SEO is the preferred marketing channel for the small businesses. The question of the survey was “if you have to choose one marketing channel for your business, what would be it?”  You can see the result below: 



 


It is clearly visible that around 33% of the business owners chose SEO, and around 10% business owners opted for PPC. Collectively, PPC and SEO has outranked other marketing channels with more than 40% votes.

What Is The Best Strategy For Startups, SEO Or PPC?

Since, both PPC and SEO have their own importance and benefits, the business owners should think strategically before they invest their time and money on any single marketing channels.For example, most of the marketers are quick to choose the PPC way, because of the quick results it provides. On the other hand SEO takes some time and lots of effort to show the results, the time and the effort depends on the keywords you are targeting.
According to the benefits, a startup should initially go for the PPC campaign in order to experience quick growth. But you should know that only 30% of the searchers click on the paid search ads while the rest 70% go for the organic results. So you need to strategically and carefully plan your online marketing strategy. Below are few things that you should consider when you develop an effective SEM strategy for your business.

·     Website: For any search engine marketing campaign the objective is to drive quality traffic to your business website, which converts into leads and customers. So your website should be the core of your strategy planning. You should evaluate your website closely and think if your website is suitable for SEO. If you want to focus on SEO, your website should be rich in text content with targeted keywords. You can also add a blog to your website to make it a text content rich website. You should also consider how often you update your website, because search engine rewards the sites that are updated regularly over the static websites. On the other hand, for the website with limited content PPC is the best option.

·    Campaign Objective: Now it comes to the objective of your campaign, if you are considering the long term effect; SEO should be your best choice. Although, it will takes lots of time and efforts, but results will last for longer. On the other hand PPC is best suited for short term goal, you will will able to get on page one in even a few hours, a well optimized campaign will have higher impact on your sales very quickly.

·    Keyword Coverage:For any business, one needs decent keyword coverage to achieve your SEM goals. With SEO you will be able to optimize your website for few keywords, For more keywords you will have to give more effort and time. On the other hand, with PPC campaign you can buy 1000s of keywords and increase your keywords coverage quickly. So best practice would be to use a mix of SEO and PPC to maximize your ROI and traffic online.

·     Keyword Competitiveness:If you are targeting a highly competitive keyword with SEO, it will be very tough for a new website to outrank their competitors that are already ranking for that keywords. On the other hand with PPC you just have to bid higher to get higher ranking. With well targeted and relevant ads, and good website experience you can even pay less CPC than other companies. So pick your fight wisely.
Overall, I will say that your goal should toto use the right combination of PPC and SEO and maximize your profit and ROI. Startups should invest strategically in their search engine marketing to lower the investment and improve the ROI. Whatever strategy you follow make sure that you have considered all these aspects carefully.