When it comes to getting traffic to your website, you’ve got two main options: Google Ads or SEO. Both are effective at directing and encouraging website traffic, but they are also both easily misunderstood. As search engine marketing tools (SEMs), they also provide both advantages and disadvantages for website owners.

As you know, here at Indeed We Can, we like to make things easy by giving our clients a virtual helping hand. So, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you decide whether Google Ads or SEO are the right SEMs for your business.

Choosing the Right SEM Tool: Google Ads or SEO

As far as SEM tools go, both Google Ads and SEO are worth investing time and money into. Often though, especially in start-up businesses, finding the time or cash to do both isn’t practical. To make the right decision, you need to have a solid understanding of what each are, along with their pros and cons.

Google Ads, which used to be called Google Adwords, is a paid traffic generation tool. It is run through the Google search engine, and on other Google partner sites. Once you have set up your Google Ads account and created your ads, they are displayed on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Depending on your budget, they will appear either at the top or bottom of a page, with the 1st ad on page one of Google being optimum.

As mentioned, Google Ads requires ongoing payments to show your ads on its SERPS. The benefits to this:

  1. As long as your budget is realistic for your industry (your bid is above or equal to others), then there’s a high chance people will visit your website through your ads.
  2. Results are almost instant. Once your ads are set and running, you can receive targeted traffic that very same day.
  3. Easy to calculate the ROI of Google Ads campaigns.
  4. You can target multiple keywords at once.
  5. You can advertise on Google, plus other Google websites (and some partner sites).

The disadvantages of this are:

  1. When you stop running the ads, the traffic from them stops too.
  2. Paid advertisements can have a low conversion rate if not set up accurately, and there is a poor landing page.
  3. You are competing for ad placement. If your bid is low, chances are your competitors’ ads will be in a more prominent position.
  4. Can be very costly.

SEO or search engine optimisation refers to the things you do both for and on your website to increase the number of visits you receive from a search engine user. SEO can be broken down into three main aspects: off-page, on-page and technical.

Off-page SEO refers mostly to backlinks, which are links from other sites to yours. Along with technical SEO, this is one of the hardest aspects to control and implement. The theory is that a search engine places a value on each link from a website. A link from a higher quality and relevant website receives a higher ranking, which in turn improves your off-page SEO. A bad or spammy link can cause your website to plummet in SERPs.

On-page SEO refers to the content you add on your website. The headings and subheadings, meta tags, keywords and written blocks of text all play a role in your SERPs. By following good on-page SEO practices, you can significantly improve your rankings and receive more organic (free) traffic from search engines.

Technical SEO refers to the way your website has been built. Like off-page SEO, it is difficult to do and most website owners simply use what their website platform has present. WordPress, for instance, has a well-built platform which has strong technical SEO properties.

The advantages of using search engine optimisation include:

  • It is a long-term traffic generation tool, so you can expect to see results for years to come.
  • It can be done at little to no cost.

The disadvantages are that it:

  • Can take a significant amount of time and effort to implement.
  • Is not instant, and results can be months away.
  • Each web page targets only one keyword at a time.
  • It is difficult to measure the ROI with SEO.

If you’re leaning towards one over the other, hang on a minute before deciding. Because next, we’re going to share our tips on using each one to market your business.

How to Use Google Ads to Promote Your Business

Google Ads have the biggest advantage of directing instant traffic to your website. This makes it perfect for new businesses. If you haven’t used the Google Ads platform before though, it can be a huge learning curve. The best thing to do is initially, hire someone to create and manage your Google Ads account. This can save you plenty of time and money in the long run. It also ‘teaches’ you how to create and manage your own ads for the future. This is a service we can help you with: send us a message to learn more.

If you’re going to take the DIY route, here are our tips for Google Ads success:

  • Decide on a budget – what can you realistically afford to spend per day? How much are you prepared to spend per individual click to your website?
  • Identify what devices your target audience will use to view your ads – desktop, mobile, tablet. Each of these can host your ads, and you have the choice as to which ones you want to use.
  • Identify your keywords. What are the phrases, words and terminology your target audience uses to find the products or services you sell?
  • Make sure you are tracking and monitoring the success of your ad campaigns. It’s easy to spend money and receive little return, so keep an eye on how things are going.
  • Create custom audiences to remarket people who are interested in your social media pages, plus have visited specific pages on your website.

Let’s take a look as some SEO implementation and marketing tips next.

How to Use SEO to Promote Your Business

SEO is a long term website traffic generation strategy. It’s also something that you need to develop knowledge and experience with, in order to fully reap its benefits. As on-page SEO is the easiest to implement, here are our tips for success in using it.

  • Give your images and graphics a useful and relevant file name. Search engines do not read images, but they read file names.
  • Aim for between 350-400 words per page. If there are limited amounts of text on a page, a search engine cannot identify how relevant it is for a SERP user. There has been significant research in that longer word counts rank highly in SERPs now too.
  • Use heading tags on each page. The more important the heading, the higher up the page it goes. An h1 heading should be at the top, followed by h2 and h3 (depending on page length).
  • Include your keywords and their synonyms within the heading and main body of text on a page.

Now, which one of these SEM tools will you use?

Should I Invest in Google Ads or SEO?

Ultimately, the decision is yours. We’ve explained what these two types of SEM tools are, how they work, the benefits and the consequences of each one. After having weighted this information up, and read our tips on using each one successfully, you’ll be well placed to make the right decision.

If you need help implementing either a Google Ads or SEO campaign, get in touch; we can help!