In today’s post, we at StoreYa are finally answering the questions so many of you have asked: Should I be spending my time and money on SEO or PPC, and when is the best time to be using both.
eCommerce owners’ number one goal is driving traffic to their stores, because as we all know: driving traffic means driving more sales. The two leading sources of traffic are SEO and PPC. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the ongoing tweaks you make to your site to ensure your site shows up on SERPs (search engine result pages), while PPC (Pay-Per-Click) is paid advertising that brings traffic to your store. The most effective PPCs are Google AdWords and Facebook ads.
Before we get into the comparisons, there are two questions you should be asking yourself before diving in:
What is My Budget?
Budget has a big influence on what SEO and PPC initiatives you should be concentrating on. Although PPC has obvious cost implications, in that it is paid advertising, you need to consider the costs of SEO as well. Good SEO optimization can be as cheap as the time it takes to tweak your site or as costly as the bigger expense of using a third-party expert to optimize your store whenever Google does an update.
What is My SERP Competition
According to SearchEngineLand, Google handles at least 2 trillion searches per year. So if your store is in a highly competitive niche, there is a big chance that you’re facing some stiff SERP competition. Analyzing where you currently stand and who your biggest threats are will clearly indicate where and how you should exert your efforts and spend.
Each of these traffic sources have their own disadvantages and knowing how to counteract them is also important in determining which traffic source you should be using when.
The biggest disadvantage of PPC is that constant monitoring and optimization to ensure you get those higher conversions; however, with the help of apps like Traffic Booster, you can take all the work out of this approach without having to outlay for expensive experts.
The biggest drawback of SEO is that it can take months to start seeing more traffic, but the payoff means building a continuous stream of traffic for very little cost.
Let’s dig deeper into the advantages.
PPC Advantages for eCommerce
Because you only pay when a potential shopper clicks through to your link, PPC will only cost you if it brings in traffic. Additionally, this makes budgeting easier to track and manage. You are able to set budgets and control the costs based on what you want to spend daily or overall on your campaigns, and decide what a sale is worth to you.
Highly Targeted Traffic
PPC targeting, whether through keyword or interest-based target audience segmentation, means you are able to specifically target ads to the right type of consumer at the right time. This type of control over which ad is delivered when and to whom, ensures the traffic you get is highly targeted. Highly targeted traffic, as we know, is more likely to convert.
From the time you launch your AdWords or Facebook PPC campaigns, you will start to get results from as soon as within 24 hours. This makes targeting for time-sensitive promotions or peak holiday shopping days possible. This also allows you to see quickly whether your campaigns are performing, and then rectify them in real time, if need be -- unlike SEO, where corrections take time to correct.
SEO Advantages for eCommerce
SEO results may be long term, but they are very cost-effective. With SEO, you are ensuring you organically land on SERPs where potential shoppers are actively looking for what you’re offering. Couple that with the access to an abundance of Analytics data, and over time, you will be able to track every rank and conversion increase to see the fruit of your labor.
Better User Experience
By working continuously to ensure your site is SEO optimized, you are ultimately ensuring that your site is both easy to navigate and user-friendly -- that searchers are getting what they expect when they click to a landing page or homepage. This means that the effort you put into improving your SERP standings will not only make it easier for search engines to crawl through your site, but also make your store easy for potential shoppers to find the information they need to make the purchase.
Building Brand Awareness
Good SEO practices ensure that your brand is high on SERPs, which not only builds overall brand awareness to new potential shoppers, but instills a feeling of trust with visitors. Plus, with the better user experience mentioned above, you then have a higher chance of converting brand new shoppers for minimal spend.
An SEO vs PPC Comparison
To really decide which is better for your eCommerce store, we need to compare when each will bring you the best ROIs and conversions. Here are the two main points of comparison:
ROIs and Ad-Spend Comparison
With SEO, your overall cost can be very low. If you’re not outsourcing to an agency, your biggest expense would be time. If you are targeting a unique niche, climbing up the list will take longer, but, in general, the drawback is that SEO is a long game and you won’t get instant results. PPC costs you a lot more than site optimization, but the rewards of quicker conversions can be good, especially if the keywords or interests you are bidding on don’t have tough competition.
Sales Conversion Comparison
Short term, PPC will bring you a lot more traffic instantaneously. SEO, however, will bring you traffic constantly over a longer period of time. This means PPC can bring in sales soon after launching, while SEO will ensure you get a trickle of constant traffic, and therefore sales, which grow over time. As a general rule, though, with the right targeting and optimization, PPC has the potential to be the higher converter, because you are able to show the right ads to the right people at the right time.
As you can see, when looking at your budget, SERP competition, ROIs, and conversions, there is a time and place for each. So, when to use each?
When to Use PPC
- When you want to target very specific buyers based on interests and/or keywords
- When you want/need instant conversions
- When you have a time-sensitive promotion or sale
- When you need to build traffic for a new store while building SEO
- To ensure you feature on SERP pages that have stiff competition
When to Use SEO
- When you want to build long-term, constant traffic flow
- When you want to build brand awareness and trust
- When you want to increase the value of your online store site
“But I want all of those things,” I hear you saying. That’s the thing: it is not a matter of choosing one over the other, but being able to use both constantly to ensure you are getting the best ROIs for your business.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the perfect strategy regardless of your budget size is to be building and using both PPC and SEO effectively for the best ROIs. Smaller business should start with PPC as it much more powerful than SEO: it's fast and provides instant results as we mentioned. You should be using PPC to ensure you have instant presence, brand awareness, and traffic to timely promotions, all while using SEO best practices to build authority, trust, and long-term constant traffic streams. You cannot have one without the other, as both ensure the other source’s success.
The key is to ensure your website and your campaigns are optimized correctly. That’s where we, and the Traffic Booster app, come in -- we take all the hassle out of getting targeted traffic and leaving you the time to build your SEO, while you enjoy instant conversions.
We are offering a deal to all Seller’s Choice blog readers on our app, Traffic Booster.
Get the “Basic” plan for $50 (normally $100)! We will add $50 for your first month.
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Nicole Blanckenberg is the content writer for StoreYa. StoreYa offers a suite of marketing and advertising apps which help SMBs increase sales, leads and social following. We support more than 160,000 business owners from 186 countries.