One of the questions I get asked a lot is for a small business “should we be investing our budget in SEO or in Google Ads?” It does not seem like a hard question, but the short answer is that you could be doing both and it depends upon your situation.
First let us recap on what they both mean.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is when you put some effort into getting your website to rank in higher positions on search engines, such as Google and Bing. The key to it is to ensure you are using the search words or phrases that other people might be using to find your business. Some people call these your organic search rankings and it doesn’t cost you if someone clicks on your link, however sometimes you need to invest some money into SEO consultants to help you move your website higher on the results page. Primarily you want your webpage to show in the first 10 positions to really be getting good volume traffic from your keywords (search words or phrases).
You also want to be focussing your SEO to ensure you pick up searches from your local area – called Local SEO. For instance, if you owned a wellness studio in Wynnum, the intention of local Brisbane SEO could be to get your internet site to show at the top of Google when people look for keyword phrases such as ‘sore neck’, ‘massage’ or ‘wellness’ inside your vicinity.
I am going to delve into Keywords more in another blog, but this is an area in SEO that you really need to think about carefully – what do people really search for when looking for my business. Usually it will not be your business name, it would likely be the result of what you do or your products. SEO consultants can help you work out the keywords for your business, and more importantly work out which ones bring in more volume and the ones that you have the best opportunity at targeting.
Using Google Ads, however, is when you pay to advertise your website to show up at the top of the search engine results. In most cases you are paying each time someone clicks on your website link.
You would think straight off that investing some money into an SEO consultant is the better option as you then get long term value from ongoing free clicks to your website, and that is mostly the case. But there are some reasons to divert some funds into Google Ads.
The first reason is that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to improve your SEO you may never get to the top positions. Consider the situation in superannuation where the ATO has many appropriate pages, there might be a keyword phrase that the first spots are all taken by the ATO. As Google prefers those with expertise or authority in an area to show in search results, it naturally gives precedence to government sites or education sites. In this case, you may never rate for that keyword, no matter how much effort you put into it. Google Ads would then be your option.
The second reason that you may invest in Google Ads is timing. As SEO improvements can take 1 to 6 months to make an effect then you might invest in Google Ads as a temporary measure to get initial traffic, whilst you are building your SEO.
The added benefit of Google Ads is that you can not only target with your ad copy and key phrases but you can also target your perfect demographic to get the best value you can from your advertising campaign. For example, if you wanted to run Google advertisements for your massage wellness studio in Wynnum Brisbane, then you would create custom ads aimed at when people look for “sore neck” or “neck massage” inside a 5km radius of Wynnum.
The third reason is that you may not have built all your website yet, but if you have an initial landing page you can start running your Google Ads to market your products and services.
But remember Google Ads cost per click and that cost varies depending upon the competition of the keyword phrase you are focusing on. Some ad costs can be extremely expensive, and it will depend on the profit on your goods or services as to whether it is worthwhile to you. If your ad cost is $14 a click and you make only $20 from a sale, then it would not be worthwhile. However, if your profit was $1000 on each sale then $14 of advertising would be worth it your budget. Although they do attract about 12% of the total clicks on Google’s search results pages, the research has found that more people will click on the organic searches, as they do understand that they are paid advertising.
Therefore, I approach SEO as a strategy with my clients. We do a SWOT approach to work out the best opportunities for them and identify if SEO investment or Google Ad investment is the preferred option with each keyword targeted.
I do not know how many businesses start up and just think that as their website exists that they will get people seeing it and ringing them. But if a keyword phrase might get 200 searches a month and you are on the 2nd page then it is unlikely that you will even get 1 website visit from that search. Unfortunately, that is the reality. However, if you can make it onto the first page, and as you move up the rankings your visits go up exponentially.
No matter what, search engine optimization is critical to your business and one of the main funnels for small businesses to get new prospects and therefore SEO investment should be high on your small business’s budget. But make sure you do it as a strategic, targeted plan. And if you need any assistance then please contact us or see our SEO packages. Want to understand SEO a bit more then see my video here.