AdWords vs SEO – what really works?
10.07.2012 by Kristjan Raude
Google AdWords and SEO are essential factors for website visibility. Positioning on the first page of Google brings new visitors and clients. As much as 90% of users never watch beyond the first page of Google. This is why it is so important to be visible online.
Google AdWords and SEO help your webpage to be on the first page of Google. AdWords is a paid advertising in Google search engine that will display your ads according to keywords bought. SEO represents organic search results that are displayed according to optimised content. AdWords and SEO are very different from one another with their own advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages of AdWords
- Simple – no specific changes needed to be implemented.
- Get results now – AdWords ads are shown right after choosing desired keywords. This brings traffic right after activating the campaign. AdWords is perfect for short campaigns due to fast results.
- Pay for results – AdWords works on pay-per-click i.e. PPC principle which means Google charges you only when you receive traffic.
- Precise targeting – Your ads are shown only for chosen keywords that ensures reaching desired target. In addition, you can control the geographical area and time limit when your ads are shown.
- Budget control – You can set your budget for a specific time limit. The process of stopping or restarting the campaign is easy and can be time any time.
- Buy position – PPC enables you to buy the first position in Google if desired, being visible for each person who searches for a specific keyword.
- Different formats – You can use different ad formats in AdWords like text, photos and video content. Of course, the last two options are much more expensive.
- Statistics – AdWords displays you instant statistics which gives you a good overview of what works and what doesn’t. It’s easy to test different ads and to make adjustments according to figures.
The disadvantages of AdWords
- The price of a keyword depends on competition – The actual price per click is automatically determined by Google bidding system taking into account different factors like the maximum cost per click, keyword relevance, webpage relevance etc. Keywords are available for a minimum of 0,01 dollar. Most expensive keywords can be as expensive as 50 dollars per click (look at the graph). Popular keywords limit the abilities of smaller companies to be visible in Google search, as using them may be extremely expensive.
- Difficult to measure ROI – To calculate the return on investment many aspects must be considered. How much is your product or service worth compared to the cost of a click, how much visits you need for one sale, what should be the budget for desired results etc.
- Lost independence – Doing only Google AdWords your webpage will become dependent on it. If you do not want to use AdWords any more your webpage will not be visible in Google without organic SEO. The cost of keywords will grow over time making AdWords an expensive marketing tool.
- Only 25% of clicks – People trust organic search results more than paid ads. 75% of all clicks are made on SEO results. Paid ads tell people that your webpage is so mediocre that you have to pay to make it visible.
- Bigger bounce rate – Doing only AdWords without concentrating any activity on good content and SEO your webpage will not hold visitors. What is the point of well-paid ad when the content brings no results?
The advantages of SEO
- Cost effective – To become on the first page of Google you don’t have to pay for it. Google positions your webpage automatically where it thinks you belong taking into consideration the page content, quality links, credibility etc (read, what’s important to Google). Good SEO requires good content not tons of capital.
- Create good content – SEO requires good, fresh and relevant content. A good content creates value for visitors which makes them want to visit you again and creates credibility.
- Credibility – 75% of Google searchers click on organic results. Being represented in first positions of search results you gain credibility automatically. This is something that you cannot buy for money.
- User friendly – Part of a good SEO is creating user friendly webpage that will attract visitors and potential clients. A well organised homepage will make finding information quick and easy, leaving the customer with a positive experience.
- Best position – Organic results are displayed on the left side of a page where 70% of internet users look (look at the picture below).
- Long-term results – Achieving the position on Google first page it is quite easy to stay there. This doesn’t mean that you can rest on one’s laurels, vice versa, you must keep updating the content to create value for visitors.
- Statistics – The results of SEO are easily followed by Google Analytics. The analytics show you the most important keywords for you. What content is most relevant, what links bring visitors etc.
The disadvantages of SEO
- On-going process – Search engines change their algorithms often. Google does it more than 400 times a year. The last updates from Google were Panda and Penguin bringing considerable changes into SEO. The aim of Google is to provoke unethical SEO makers and to emphasize on good content. Those updates are important to follow to be updated with the latest trends.
- Time consuming – SEO is a time consuming process compared to AdWords which brings instant results. Fresh and good content, quality links, keywords, meta tags etc. take time to make results. It may take a few weeks or even up to half a year to get considerable results. SEO is a lot of work that may require some extra resources.
- Adjusted webpage – To start with optimising a web page some requirements must be fulfilled. A page should have an ability to determine keywords, meta keywords, meta descriptions etc. A page should be user friendly, relevant and may include a blog that keeps the content fresh.
Both AdWords and SEO have their own advantages and disadvantages. In reality they are often used together. AdWords is essential in the start-up period and for short-time campaigns. SEO is necessary for longer perspective creating value, good content and user friendly page.
If you are looking for the best internet marketing strategy for your company please contact us and we will achieve your goals.