SEO vs. PPC – what’s best for your business?

head to head

There has always been this silent debate about which one is better for businesses, SEO or PPC. SEO or search engine optimization builds up your presence on the internet search engines to help consumers find you, while PPC or pay per click advertising provides sites or businesses with the means to position themselves where the clients appear.

Both will bring in good business when done properly, so if you can only choose one, which one should it be? Here’s a short comparison of the advantages of SEO and PPC, to help you determine which one is the best for your business.

  1. SEO vs PPC: Budget

 

Obviously Pay Per Click is going to cost you, especially if you want to reach a large number of customers and potential buyers. SEO on the other hand, is something that you can do yourself for free (although, since you are using your own time and resources, it’s not really free). Therefore, if you’re tied to a small budget, the more attractive option would be to go with SEO. There’s budget PPC however, and depending on your budget, this can also be available to you.

 

  1. SEO vs PPC: Consumer Trust

 

A lot of internet users (and not just internet users, a large percentage of the buying public, whether online or offline) don’t trust ads and have trained themselves to ignore the ads that they see while they are browsing. What’s even more surprising is that they don’t only ignore these ads, they are also very untrusting of them. And when you compare it to SEO results, which are viewed as very trustworthy by the people of the internet. Everyone holds Google in high regards and believe almost everything that Google says.

 

  1. SEO vs PPC: Consumer Conversion

 

SEO brings a lot of traffic to a site, especially if the campaign is done properly and continuously, but the thing with the traffic that a successful SEO campaign brings when compared with the traffic that a successful PPC brings is that the PPC crowd does more buying than the SEO crowd. And of course, while a large number of visitors to one’s online store is great, what’s even better is a good chunk of visitors that actually buy something from your site.

If you have the budget and you want to make some sales, you are probably going to seesaw between using either PPC or SEO for your business. As mentioned in this article, both SEO and PPC have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they are both pretty good at bringing in the crowd to your little party on the web. In an ideal world, you should actually be using both. Maximizing your budget and getting your money’s worth when it comes to PPC or SEO.

If you can choose only one though, it’s going to have to be the one which works the best with your marketing strategy. Determine what’s important for your business goals and choose accordingly, as both, when executed properly, will increase your ROI.

SEO on a limited budget

limited budget2

Not all of us are backed by a big budget or are working for a large company who can invest in their SEO campaign. Many websites are owned by simple folk like you and yourself. But do not fret; there is a way for you to still do your SEO campaign even with a limited budget. Here’s how:

  1. Make a blog

 

Writing a blog is a very powerful means of conducting an SEO campaign. Search engines love blogs. Blogs also add another level of dynamism to your site. You whole site can be static, in fact, but still get a lot of movement from your blog.

 

One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to making a blog, a good one, is the content. For some people, creating content is extremely hard. But it shouldn’t be. Well, since you have limited SEO budget, hiring a copy writer to provide copy for you is out of the question (although there are sites that offer outsourced copy writing services at a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house writer and the sites are worth checking out), then what you can do is to rewrite content and curate and aggregate content.

 

There are tons of sources in the internet, don’t be shy about learning from these sources and using the input that they share to your advantage.

 

  1. Write for other blogs

 

Quality inbound links or links that come from authoritative and important sites do a lot of good for your SEO rankings. Normally, you can wait till one of the big, high ranking sites takes notice of your humble site and like you enough to put up a link that points to you.  There’s one rather quick and easy way of getting some nice inbound links from a site in your niche and that is by guest blogging.

 

 

  1. Ask for pro help, strategically

 

Professional SEO help can cost you, but there are ways that you can get professional help without throwing all your money at the SEO expert. Rather than hiring an SEO manager full time, or subscribing to their services and packages, what you can do is to contract with an expert or agency in a very specific or strategic way.

 

One example is to get an SEO audit. Let them go through your site and give you a list of improvements that you should do. That way, you don’t have to pay them for fixing your site’s SEO, but just for the audit. You can then do the changes or improvements yourself.

 

You can also get monthly phone consultations from an SEO expert. This way you get to keep tabs on your SEO standing and also get some valuable insights. Many SEO experts do phone consultations for different individuals and companies. It is much more cost effective for the clients.

 

There are a couple more budget SEO techniques that you can do. The internet is replete with such tips. Just make sure that your source is an authority in SEO and that you keep on doing the changes that you begin. Continually improving on your site is also a good SEO practice.

Common SEO mistakes

mistake

Everybody who owns and manages a website is doing Search Engine Optimization whether they know about it or not. The problem with some SEO mistakes is that a lot of so called SEO experts and some of the more average, everyday type of guy who is running his website doesn’t know he may be committing these mistakes in the first place.

Here is a list of the more common SEO mistakes. Take a look at the list and see if you aren’t committing one or a couple of them.

  1. Poor or Duplicate Content

 

In the internet content is king. It trumps design, baits and whatever else webmasters are putting in their websites to attract more visitors. The simple truth is that if visitors find what they are looking for in your site, in updated and in quality quantities, then they’re bound to return to your site.

 

The opposite happens when your site has duplicate or poor quality content. Bad content drives away visitors like the plague while duplicate content will earn you a bad rep from Google, who values original and high quality content over copy pasted material.

 

  1. Targeting the Wrong Keywords or Not at All

 

A lot of people don’t know that they have to target keywords and that the ones they do should be the right ones for their site. Panda is an update released by Google and one of its main missions is to find the best high quality and find the most relevant content on the internet. If you are a dentist site and you are targeting “portable air compressors” as your keywords, then there is a very obvious chance that you aren’t providing the right content.

 

Another problem that stems from choosing the wrong keywords is that while you have your own set of keywords that you target for your site, your potential visitors just might be using a different set of keywords in their searches.

 

  1. Keyword Stuffing

 

This is a mistake when websites overstuff their pages with different kinds of keywords, to the point that their copies don’t read like copy at all but unnatural sounding text that borders on gibberish. Of course, you need to focus on keywords, but overcrowding your site with them is going to harm your rankings even further. It’s not going to help with Google Panda and it’s not going to help your visitors, so make sure you aren’t committing this mistake.

 

  1. Be an authority

Some sites just plain write about everything and anything under the sun. Google Panda isn’t actually impressed with that. What Google wants are sites whose authors are the authority in that particular field or niche. For instance, if you were a motor biking site, then you should focus on things that are related to your field, like: driving right, motorcycle models, helmets, road safety etc. Writing about cakes and proper building engineering isn’t going to help your rankings.

 

There are a lot more common mistakes that SEO people are doing, and it’s reflecting on their ability to deliver their service. So make sure you aren’t committing these mistakes.

How do you become an SEO Expert?

expert

We’ve all heard and read that being an expert SEO is what you should aim to be if you want to be the one your clients will call if they want their websites to rank. Maybe you’re convinced by the promise of wealth or the promise of a luxurious lifestyle, but whatever it is, then you’re probably wondering how to become an SEO Expert. Here are a couple of steps to help you become an SEO whiz.

Get Copy Writing Skills

One of the steps that you need to take to become an SEO expert is to be able to write copy as well. You’re probably wondering why you need to get or practice your copy writing skills, right? Well, some people might say that you don’t need writing skills to be an expert at SEO. If they mention that to you, mention the fact that in the internet, content is king. Content is important for a successful site, so make sure you know even the basics of providing copy.

Learn SEO

Like many things in life, learning how to become an expert SEO is as simple as Googling your query. There are tons of information available on the internet regarding how to understand and learn SEO, so it is a good idea to capitalize this and start reading up on how to become an SEO expert. Also keep in mind that there are good tips and bad tips, so learn early on the difference between white hat and black hat SEO techniques. Remember to

Like What You Do

Providing SEO solutions is providing service to others. One way to become an SEO expert is to like what you do. When you think you just want to do SEO because there is the promise of tons of cash, then you are probably not going to become an SEO expert because you will get tired of providing SEO services. But when you like what you do and when you like helping people out, then you are going to love SEO and will soon become an SEO expert yourself.

Be honest

An SEO expert is honest. When you hear someone say that they know the secret on how to get number one ranking in search engine results, overnight, then they are obviously not SEO experts and don’t know what they are talking about. So learn and start to provide honest feedback regarding a site’s search engine rankings and you’ll be both known as an honest SEO provider as well as an expert one.

There are tons of information on the internet on how to become an SEO expert, and it would benefit you greatly if you started capitalizing on this fact. Aside from that, you should also hook up with other SEO experts and start discussing SEO. Listen to what others have to say and what they experienced. If you keep your eyes and ears open, and if you love what you are doing then there is no doubt that you can become an SEO expert.

How do I evaluate SEO companies & their services?

inspect

There are a lot of SEO companies providing, what they claim, are the best Search Engine Optimization services and solutions in the industry. With all of these experts claiming to be the crème de la crème when it comes to upgrading your site’s SEO rankings, how are you going to weed through all these so-called experts and find the one who will actually deliver?

Here are a couple of ways that you can evaluate SEO companies and the services that they offer:

  1. If they SEO their own

 

One surefire and very quick way of determining if the said SEO expert is actually an expert, is by looking at their site. If the site doesn’t look organized, or if they don’t appear search engine optimized, then why are you bothering even speaking with them. If these guys can’t even clean their homes, why are you going to hire them to clean yours?

 

 

  1. Promise fast results

 

It’s just not possible to determine when or what the results will be for every particular SEO campaign. So if they are claiming that they will be able to deliver the results fast and within this particular time frame, then run away and never look back. The real experts know that there is really no way to predict the outcome, much less when the outcome will occur. The real SEO will probably say things like, it’s not possible to determine results or they will have to observe your site as the SEO campaign progresses.

 

  1. Use just one software

 

There are many fantastic SEO software available on the market, but no one particular software will be able to do all of the work that an SEO needs. So real SEO experts use a couple of tools and software and don’t just rely on one. If you’re SEO expert says that he or she is using just this one software because its great or if they are using a secret software then it’s time to run away again.

 

  1. Marketing Call Words

 

Another way to determine whether an SEO company is really worth your money is by looking at their copy. Do they offer FAST RESULTS at VERY AFFORDABLE RATES, WEBSITE RANKS NO 1 GUARANTEED? Then you should really look for somebody else. There’s a good chance that these kinds of so-called SEO experts are really just selling snake oils and will most likely just waste your money.

 

  1. If they provide a detailed plan

 

If you’re SEO expert provides you with a detailed plan of what you will have to do to make your page rank, then there’s a good chance that they are a keeper. Most fake experts will just tell you to sit back, relax and wait till your site is magically in the number one spot. A real SEO expert will tell you where trenches will have to be dug and where they plan to aim suppressive fire, or something to that extent. Claims versus plans. Always go with the Plan guy.

SEO Trends 2014

trends

One of the things that you should always be aware of when you want your website to rank, are the trends. Trends have a lot of say to how the industry is going to move, so keeping an eye on the current trends is a great way of protecting and maintaining (not to mention) improving your SEO ranking and techniques.

Do Real Marketing

Search engine optimization is about tweaking your website so it puts your site in a position where there is a high level of traffic. Imagine putting a rock where there’s a stream or a glass under the waterfall. Not the prettiest picture but in a way, that’s what SEO is doing. Moving things about so the site catches visitors.

Now, with the dawn of the death of keywords and multi-screen devices, there’s a real need to actually start doing marketing and finding out where people are searching and particularly what they are looking for.

Be creative

How many times has everyone read or heard about “How to get the best deals” or “How to choose the best” whatever or whatnot? The internet is full of this stuff. It’s practically flooded with it. Now it is time to be a bit more creative and find a different angle on how to attract buyers and costumers. It’s now the time to be more creative, and that’s creativity that doesn’t just make pretty user interfaces and sites, but creativity that actually links with traditional marketing and advertising.

Multi-Screen Crowd

Today is the day of the multi-gadget and multi-screen crowd. One out of every person in the world owns a smartphone while one in almost every ten owns a tablet. It’s a staggering development, and one that’s easy to see. Just take a look around you, people are carrying their gadgets with them and doing all sorts of things with it: playing games, watching shows, connecting with family, and making purchases.

If your SEO or marketing campaign does not address this current development, then you’re going to have a hard time catching this crowd of gadget owners. Your consumers or audience are changing the way they connect to the internet, it’s time you changed your techniques and adapted to this development.

Pay Attention to the Social Channels

Now, it is more important than ever to have a well-connected presence in social media, across all key platforms. Sure Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all very popular social media networks, but they aren’t the only social media networks that your target audience is probably using. That’s why we’ve reached a point in SEO history that putting up a visible and high quality social media presence is important.  You should also create quality multimedia material that your visitors can share in their social media networks.

Now that you know all about these trends, you can do something about it. Just imagine what could have happened if you weren’t aware of these trends. You would have done the same old thing and not realize that you were doing more harm than good for your site’s SEO ranking. Learn the trends and do the necessary adjustments to keep your site in tiptop shape.

10 Popular Questions (and Answers) about SEO

Many People Thinking of Questions

What is SEO? 
Some of you might be rolling your eyes at this one, but is actually still an enormous number of organizations that know little or nothing about SEO and the come to us to find out what it is and how it can help them.  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is used to describe the ways that website owners manipulate their website information so that it achieves better rankings in search engine results. The higher your website ranks in search engine results, the more traffic your website will get and continually using SEO techniques can help your website to be successful.

Is SEO worth my time?
That depends entirely on who’s doing your SEO for you. SEO is a consistently changing industry and because of that it’s good to find specialists with a strong background in SEO who are up to date on the most recent best practices, but it will also depend on the keywords you’re targeting and your industry.  When your SEO is done correctly by a knowledgeable expert it can be highly effective in increasing website traffic but SEO done incorrectly will mostly be just a waste of time and resources. Our Advice? Make sure you choose your SEO consultant with care.

Why is my website ranking poorly?
SEO is a constant process because the rules for it are constantly changing. If you haven’t kept up with current best practices or aren’t using SEO techniques properly, you may not be ranking as well as you could be. Here are some of the main reasons why websites rank poorly:

  • Missing or incorrectly used Title Tags
  • Keyword stuffing (overusing your keywords excessively)
  • No Alt Tags on your images
  • Poorly written content that is missing naturally occurring keywords
  • Very few pages or content that isn’t regularly updated
  • Not enough relevant backlinks

What makes a link relevant?
Links are one of the most important aspects of SEO because they act like a “vote” for your website. Links from credible websites (ones that search engines deem reliable and authoritative) that have relevant anchor text (the text in the hyperlink confirms what your page is about) will help you to rank better because it proves to search engine crawlers what your website or page is actually about. There are many scams that claim to help you get relevant links, but please, for us, don’t get sucked in. These link “farms” or “exchanges” can lead to heavy penalties in search engines which will actually erode your rankings.

What is duplicate content and how can I avoid it?
You have duplicate content when you have multiple pages on your website that contain a significant amount of similar content to other pages and search engines will penalize for this just like for link farming. This is actually very simple to avoid: just write new content for each page! If your pages are relevant to specific topics and you’re writing according to what your page is about, it shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid this penalty.

Why is content important for SEO?
Your website’s content (blog posts, webpage copy, resources etc) is one of the best tools that you have to help improve your search engine rankings because it allows you to emphasize your keywords, build links and supplement your demand generation initiatives, but remember: you can’t just have any old content. Your content needs to be valuable to your audience for it to help you build links and bring traffic to your website.

What is an XML sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the URLs on your website. This type of sitemap is used to inform search engines about the URLs on your website that are available for crawling so that they get included in the search engine’s database.

How many keywords/Keyword phrases should I target?
That is going to depend on your website and your audience because your keyword choices should be derived from the terms that your users are utilizing to find your website. It will also depend on the size of your website and what products or services your company or organization provides to your audience. Having said that, the best practice is usually considered to be 2-5 keywords per page.

How can I figure out which keywords to target? Choosing your keywords carefully is on the most important steps when determining your SEO strategy and there are several different tactics for narrowing down the best ones. Brainstorming is a good way to get started, but after that there are plenty of free and paid online tools to help you generate keywords and determine which ones you should choose. You’re analytics are a good place to start as well (if you have them set up). Understanding what people are already using to find your website is a good way to narrow down your keyword strategy. Make sure when you choose your keywords you choose based on relevance and achievability. Just because a keyword is relevant for your website doesn’t mean you will necessarily rank for it. The more popular the keyword is, the less likely you will rank highly for it.

What is black hat SEO?
Pretty much everything we’ve already mentioned not to do is considered black hat SEO. Basically using black hat SEO techniques means that you’re doing things that break search engine rules to try and get higher rankings and are generally considered to be cheating and unethical (keyword stuffing is a good example).