U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, May 2011 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

As a website owner or webmaster you are probably looking for more traffic all the time. A few of the tried and true options to find new prospects are PPC and SEO. Now, you may wonder what these acronyms stand for, and which is better?

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click and SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, and both have their place in your online marketing arsenal.

Pay-Per-Click means that you have to pay for all of your traffic. You will probably have heard of the main player in this arena, Google AdWords, but there are plenty of other PPC providers out there. A rising star in the PPC world is Facebook, and its targeting possibilities are great indeed – although a recent survey found that 30% of Chief Marketing Officers found that their ROI (Return On Investment) from Facebook ads (so far) was average at best. But you know what – numbers never tell the whole story… Were the expectations too high, perhaps? Or were the results disappointing because the campaigns were poorly executed? You will have to monitor your campaigns and see whether these targeted visitors are indeed converting into sales, for instance, as the Social Media visitors’ intent may be quite different from that of regular search engine users.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is a way to gain visibility in the normal (free) search engine results. This can be done by optimizing your website, and building links to improve your online reputation and relevancy. As the word “optimization” in SEO indicates, there are a lot of ways to optimize your link-building efforts to improve the results.

So what are some of the Pros and Cons of each?

  • PPC:
    Almost immediate traffic, lots of (often very) specific targeting options, more control over your traffic – you can control where, how and when the ads are being shown. You can influence the visitor’s expectations and direct them to your desired destination page
    But:
    you have to pay for each and every visitor, and once you stop paying your traffic will dry up – 100% of it. And: there is no perceived “authority” linked to paid listings, and many people ignore ads altogether. On top of that: with increasing competition, the cost per click is rising.
  • SEO:
    This is a long-term approach – you are optimizing your site and its online environment. Top normal, organic listings are being perceived as authority links and will bring you instant credibility. On the flip side: if you are NOT found for certain search phrases, people will start to think less of you (“maybe they are not as much of an expert as I thought!”)

By focusing on PPC and SEO you can get the best of both worlds. Make sure you track the results, so you can learn from one campaign to improve the other.

For more information: contact your Webmaster, or contact Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce Director Nardo Kuitert at nardo@ucwebs.com or 519-787-7612.