Posted on 18 June 2009.
Websites are generally present because people have put them out for a particular objective. In some cases, people are interested in putting out their views to the general public through web logs that are commonly known as blogs. A lot of celebrities and media personalities like to interact with their fans and propagate their ideas through websites. This is also true of many professionals as well as religious leaders who want their views as well as sermons to reach the largest audience possible in order to spread their views far and wide. The objective of a website is to garner the maximum number of eyeballs in the best interests of the website. There are other sites also that are geared towards e-commerce or online marketing. These websites have been created with the express idea of providing means to advertise goods and services that can be used by the public to make orders and buy online. These online marketing sites generally have online forms in order to enable people to make online purchases and increase their revenue. A good example of this is companies like www.amazon.com or www.traverus.com in the realms of online sales.
However one needs to keep in mind that just having a website is not enough. Whatever be your goal – brand building, information distribution, advertising, lead generation, sales or service – a website needs visitors. Without visitors a website is a waste resource.
If you are a big brand like Google, Yahoo, CNN etc people may type your URL in the web browser and reach your site, else you may need to advertise your site.
There are two major ways to get visitors – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC). Both these methods involve money and time.
The way most sites reach out to a wider audience is by way of search engine optimization (SEO), which essentially refers to the effective use of keywords. A majority of web surfers get to websites through search engines like Google.com as well as Yahoo.com. These sites crawl up or look at various websites that have the particular keywords, which the surfer has used to search for information online. These sites have certain complex algorithms or Meta search formulae that are used to assign specific ranks to the websites based on the usage of the keywords. For instance, if you look up the terms “Indian curry recipes”, you will find a listing of various sites that have these keywords. The reason of such a result is search engine optimization that helps sites get better ranked on basis of how well certain key words or phrases have been used in their web pages.
It is said that websites ranked 1-10 or at most between 1-20 have a much better chance of attracting traffic, which is why SEO is indeed such a great business as well as training proposition. SEO experts are indeed in great demand as they can influence immensely the way a website is ranked and thus the amount of traffic that a site is able to garner online. It is indeed no wonder that there are so many sites and online groups that are quite dedicated to ensuring better SEO knowledge and information dissemination to SEO enthusiasts and students.
SEO is an exciting field of work and study in today’s context. A lot of researchers are working day and night to come up with new strategies to enhance SEO effectiveness. There are whole new companies that have mushroomed with the express objective to provide SEO related services online. If you are looking to outsource SEO services you must be very careful before doing business without knowing about the history of any SEO company. Google has also written some questions you need to ask before hiring an SEO. I quote:
- Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
- Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
- What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe?
- How do you measure your success?
- What’s your experience in my industry?
- What’s your experience in my country/city?
- What’s your experience developing international sites?
- What are your most important SEO techniques?
- How long have you been in business?
- How can I expect to communicate with you?
- Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
Good SEO experts critically look at online content and revise it based on keyword research as well as HTML editing with a view to enhancing search rankings. While no one can guarantee that their services will surely give you a number one ranking, it is true that an optimized site will have a better ranking than the one which has not been search engine optimized.
The concept of pay per click (PPC) is also linked to the objective of increasing traffic to a website. In very simple terms, pay per click means that an online marketing company would pay to the website a particular amount based on the traffic that the site brings to the site of the marketer. For instance, if you have a tie-up with Yahoo.com and have agreed to pay them $0.10 per visitor that you get on your site through yahoo, you would have to pay up $1.00 for 10 clicks ($0.10 * 10 = $1).
Pay per click can also have various levels and different kinds of arrangements with various sites based on the kind and volume of traffic that you get from the site that is more visible and well known. You could also differentiate between sites by paying more for sites that bring greater effectiveness into the traffic on your site as compared to less effective ones. PPC is a very effective and quite commonly used means of getting targeted traffic.
While SEO does show results, you can rest assured that targeted PPC is much more effective in attracting web traffic. When you go about further incentivizing your customers to view your website, you will find an exponential increase in the web traffic and that too so fast that it will belie your wildest expectations. No wonder the whole world is going absolutely gaga over PPC and its results. The moot point here is that both in SEO as well in PPC, one cannot underestimate the utility of keyword research in driving traffic. The only difference is that with PPC, one cannot depend on two word keywords. You will need a set of long word keywords that are not being searched up by competitors so that your position is unparalleled and unmatched as compared to what the competition is up to.
PPC keyword research is quite an exact science. You have to know a lot about which words to pair and which to eliminate in order to achieve the most optimized and suitable results. Of course there are many tools available to help you do keyword research. Apart from the tool, a lot of this also happens with time and through trial and error, meaning that the results cannot be quick fix or ‘in-a-jiffy’ answers. One also has to be an accomplished PPC keyword research expert and not just an SEO expert in order to bring about the very best results. For instance, if you have a client who is selling various computer products including accessories, peripherals as well as software products, it would not be possible to actually run a PPC on each and every one of the computer products as that would be too wide a net leading to diffused results. The PPC keyword expert would do the keyword tests by using the word computer in conjunction with various other words like accessories, peripherals or software in order to achieve the best results and thus eliminate those combinations that are sub-optimal. So, there lies the essence of researching PPC for SEO purposes.
One interesting fact is that SEO is more popular than PPC. One of the major reasons why I think SEO is more popular than PPC is that the human nature of thinking that free is good and better. I do agree through SEO one can get free visitors, but it may take a long time before someone sees results. Compare this to PPC – it can bring instant traffic, though you may have to pay for every visitor irrespective of whether there is a sale or not. In the long run may be SEO is profitable, but it can be debated whether each and every site can generate that much traffic required to stay in business through SEO only.
Website owners who realize this therefore “try” both SEO and PPC to generate traffic and track results to invest more time, money and energy where the returns are the most.
Its debatable whether SEO is better or PPC. If you ask me I would suggest first try PPC. Get to know the keywords that can bring good returns for your site and then concentrate on only those keywords for SEO purposes.
1. SEO vs PPC Whitepaper
2. SEO vs PPC – Cases
What do you say? SEO or PPC?