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A lot of Internet marketers are not sure which SEM (search engine marketing) method they should use, SEO or PPC, when promoting their websites. There are some who think that SEO is more effective while others prefer to use PPC.  This debate is an ongoing one.

The truth, however, is that no single solution is going to work for everyone when it comes to SEM.  What works best for one party will depend on the individual’s goals, needs and circumstances.  People need to explore the benefits and drawbacks of each option in order to determine the ideal fit.

The Benefits OF SEO

With search engine optimization your website will appear in search engine results pages as part of the organic results.  You do not have to pay for the clicks that you get from organic search results when people click your SERPs listings.  This, however, does not mean that SEO is entirely free.

You will have to invest both effort and time as well as some money when optimizing your pages for search engines.  More often than not, however, the amount that you spend on your SEO campaigns will usually be less than the costs of PPC.

You can increase the value of your website through SEO.  A well-organized site for search engines is going to have a lot of valuable content that is applicable to the website subject and its targeted keywords, plenty of high-quality backlinks and a user-friendly design as well as many other aspects that Google and other major search engines tend to favor.  These SEO factors tend to create a much better website overall.

authority websiteSEO is also helpful for establishing an authority site.  With high-quality and comprehensive content being posted to optimize your pages.

You can establish the reputation of your website as a topical authority.  Authority sites rank well with search engines, but they also rank well with actual web users.

The above-mentioned SEO factors can actually make human visitors find your pages more appealing and this makes people want to return to your pages frequently and give good word of mouth advertising and recommend it to others either by linking back to it or by simply telling people about it.

Given that you can gain more authority and value through the use of SEO, it is capable of producing long-lasting and consistent results.  A strong site is a strong site, end of story. If SEO is done both judiciously and properly, the ranking for your site will go up and stay there, bringing along the many benefits of a top ranking website such as increased traffic and conversions.

The Drawbacks

outsource seoSEO requires a lot of labor.  You will have a lot work to do and this includes creating content, researching keywords, building links, social bookmarking and social networking.

Creating content will use a lot of your resources all on its own.  Choosing to outsource these efforts has helped some people to save time, but this obviously requires a bit of cash.

Apart from the work that you have to do, SEO requires continual effort.  This means that you will have to labor on your campaigns continually.  While these activities may be reduced over time as you rankings improve, you are always going to have to keep working at it.

After doing a lot of SEO work you will find that there are no results that are immediately quantifiable.  It is going to take a while before you can recognize returns.  SEO requires a tremendous amount of patience and it is definitely not for those who are seeking immediate returns.

SEO doesn’t always bring in results that you can measure easily in terms of specific amounts of traffic or numbers of clicks.  The results will make themselves apparent, even spectacular results at times, but this is not going to be on a quid pro quo basis.

The Benefits Of PPC

Compared to SEO where results can take a while to show up, PPC is capable of producing much more immediate returns.  You get to bid on the keywords you choose and then you’ll have ads appear when people perform searches using these keywords and then they’ll click on your ads and pop right over to your site.

How can that be?  When searching on Bing or Google, there are always sponsored listings at the top of the page.  On Yahoo! these same listings are on the top right of the page.  The prominent placement of these ads quickly attracts the attention of web users and thus, these ads are likely to get clicks.

You can use PPC to target specific keywords, allowing you to draw targeted traffic in.  Although keywords are additionally targeted in SEO, this does not mean that sites are certain to appear in a specific place on the search engine results pages for these same keywords.

With PPC, however, people are basically assured of getting a top page placement.  If you decide that different keywords need to be used, then your PPC campaign can be retargeted.  It is simply about changing the keywords that you have bid on.

There is also no need to worry about changes to search engine algorithms when relying on PPC.  Simply make sure that your landing page for you PPC campaign is in line with the guidelines for quality and you are good to go.  This means that you don’t have to strive for backlinks for your PPC landing pages.

The Drawbacks

The major drawback of PPC are the costs of these campaigns.  You will pay a price for each click that you get.  Competitive keywords are the most expensive per click, given that they are also the most profitable.  It can be difficult to manage your expenses and this means that they can spiral out of control fast.  PPC can sometimes be a money pit, especially if you don’t know how to run your campaign.

Selecting keywords for a campaign can also be tricky given that you won’t have the ability to bid on every keyword that comes to mind.  While it is certainly good to target competitive keywords, there are greater costs in using these as stated above.  The goal is to locate keywords that are sufficiently competitive but that are still budget-friendly and this is more challenging than it might seem.

One of the most important things to remember about PPC is that it does not have long-term effects in terms of traffic generation.  As soon you stop a campaign, the results are going to stop coming in.  This is due to the fact that your ads won’t be on display any longer.

SEO has long-term benefits while PPC is for short-term and immediate results. If you can wait more and want to spend less and get results that last, choose SEO.  If you need immediate returns and can pay more, opt for PPC.

SEO And PPC Together

It doesn’t have to be SEO vs. PPC.   You can have both PPC and SEO together for maximum traffic generation.  Use SEO to get your website to rank better in search engine results and use PPC for promoting short-term endeavors such as a new product launch or a limited-time special.  A number of marketers have used these two combined to significantly boost their bottom lines and improve their page rankings.

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