I was reading the Click Consultants Forums and someone asked the question, Should I be using PPC to drive traffic to my affiliate pages or should I be using SEO? This is a question that I get a lot, and I see a lot of people ask on other blogs and forums, yet I never really see a definitive answer and a list of the benefits and cons of each. That’s why this post has been born, to help you decide which is best for you and for your situation.
First, let me come right out and ask you all a question. Why would you only do one or the other? Now you may have a very valid reason for doing so and I’d love to hear it, however, I personally use both PPC and SEO to my advantage in my affiliate marketing career. Thus, this is what I recommend you do and I’ll explain why in this post.
Let’s get started with PPC first.
Advantages to using PPC (pay per click):
- Instant Traffic! Your ads are visible and clickable within minutes. Visitors will be to you site within minutes of setting up a PPC campaign.
- Extremely targeted customers. Since you choose the keywords you know your visitors will be looking for exactly what your selling/offering.
- You Control Everything! Unlike SEO, you decide where your ad is placed, how it looks, what it reads, the price you pay, the amount of time it runs, etc.
- You only pay for Clicks! You don’t pay unless a visitor actually clicks your ad when your advertising via PPC.
Disadvantages to using PPC:
- It’s Not FREE! Unlike SEO, this traffic costs you something and you have to be careful about going over your budget or spending more than you make!
- There is a Danger of Losing Money! While it’s easy to setup a PPC Campaign, it does require time and experience to learn how it works and how to use it effectively.
- Requires a lot of Tracking. When your using PPC you need to track everything!Â You should be tracking landing pages, ads, and keywords to see which is converting better.Â This means you should be split testing your landing pages and ads.
Now, let’s move onto SEO:
Advantages to using SEO (search engine optimization):
- Completely FREE Traffic! Unlike PPC, the traffic that you receive via your SEO efforts is completely free.Â Doesn’t cost you a penny.
- Can Lower PPC Costs! When used in conjunction with PPC it can help you increase your quality score in Google Adwords thus reducing the amount you need to pay in order to secure top positions in PPC.
- Excellent long-term Potential! Although SEO takes a while to rank for certain keywords, the benefits can last for years to come.Â With PPC you will always pay for clicks, with SEO, you will always receive those clicks for free.Â So, its a great way to build a long-term campaign.
Disadvantages to SEO:
- Requires Time! Unlike PPC, SEO can take some time to rank for certain keywords, as much time as a month to several years!
- Requires Extensive Knowledge: In my opinion, learning SEO will take you a lot longer to learn than PPC.Â There are tons of factors to SEO, whether they be big or small, so be prepared to spend time learning!
Now to wrap up this post!Â The reason I listed the advantages and disadvantages to each is because well, there isn’t a right or wrong answer as to which one you should be using.Â That’s a decision you need to make.Â As I said above I personally use both methods and in the next paragraph I’ll explain why I do and why I think you should as well.
PPC and SEO go hand in hand the more intelligent algorithms become.Â Google Adword’s Quality Score looks at tons of factors to consider how much you should pay for a top spot in their PPC engine.Â Some of these factors include things like Ad CTR%, Bounce Rate, and Relevancy.Â However, it also includes things like how many sites are linking to yours using relevant anchor text, if the keywords on your landing page match those in your PPC account, etc.
As you can see, not only do they look at PPC factors when they decide your Quality Score, they also look at things that would be considered SEO factors.
Also, as mentioned above, SEO traffic is free!Â So even if your not a die hard SEO person, like myself, it still makes sense to at least try it out in order to receive free traffic.
Personally, the way I do it, is to first build my PPC campaign and after I have it up and running and making a profit I’ll start doing some SEO work to my site as well.Â Again, as I said above, it’s a great long-term strategy.Â As more and more people use PPC, prices are going to continue to rise so what would be a feasible amount to pay for traffic now, may not be feasible in 2 years from now.Â However, if over those 2 years you’ve used SEO to your advantage, your campaign will still be receiving tons of traffic thus it could still be quite a profitable campaign even if you stop doing PPC on it.
Let me know what you guys think in the comments and if you have any advantages or disadvantages to using either PPC or SEO.Â Also, let me know what method you personally use and why!