Search engine marketing is better than Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing on almost every occasion. However, there are many times when the search engines are not your friend, in which case the SEO vs PPC argument starts to apply. Here are the answers to the questions you haven't asked yet but should and which will guide your marketing strategy.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Ranking up the search engines is just as important as being seen on the search engines. Nevertheless, your main priority should be to get yourself on the search engines like Google, Bing, and Ask, (Yahoo uses Bing's index). Once you are on those search engines, your website will also become available on every app, online crawler, and search website that uses the same indexes.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
If you are paying for clicks so that people land on your website, then you need to get value for money. Sometimes, the value doesn't come back via a profit, but through brand dissemination, social validation, or whatever marketing goal you are trying to achieve. For example, you may want to promote your YouTube video. You pay for clicks to it with the hopes that people clicking "Like" will help improve the video's position in YouTube's search engine results.
Can PPC Power a Website's Traffic on Its Own?
PPC can power a website on its own, but you have to be very good at it. You need to be able to convert your traffic on a regular basis, and you have to make a profit on your sales on a very consistent basis. If your PPC is not paid for by the profits it produces, then it is not powering your website--it is propping up your website.
All of this brings up the question as to if SEO can power a website on its own, and in many cases, it can, and it can do so without the help of Google. You may be result #140,000 on the Google search engine results, but there are many web crawlers, online tools, and mobile apps that use the Google index. Your site may be last on Google's results, but first on an app's results.
Is It Always an SEO vs PPC Issue?
Let us not forget that search engines and PPC are not the only methods for getting traffic. There are many ways to generate traffic, but SEO and PPC are the most consistently dependable. For example, you could generate epic amounts of traffic via Twitter, but once you stop posting, or once you start losing your Twitter followers, you suddenly (and sharply) lose your web traffic. That is not to say that PPC and SEO cannot let you down, but not as often or as devastatingly as other traffic-generation methods.
Search Engine Marketing Wins
PPC can open many doors that search engines cannot, however, in terms of broad reach and long-term success, search engine optimization wins in most cases. Yet, do not forget that some websites and some online businesses simply cannot profitably function using search engines to generate traffic, in which case the SEO vs PPC question comes into play. A ready mixture of both may help your website grow at a steady rate.
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