Talk to a company selling pay-per-click advertising and they’ll try to convince you that PPC is better than SEO because it’s more controllable and the conversion rates are often higher. SEO companies will compare PPC to renting a home whereas SEO is like paying mortgage payments on a home you’ve purchased.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing one over the other. When managed correctly and with proper tracking tools in place, both PPC and SEO can be cost-effective strategies to increase leads from your website.
Search Marketing Success Is About Maximizing Real Estate
Here’s a little secret—the most successful service companies try to maximize search engine real estate using both PPC and SEO. Generally speaking, there are ~10 organic listings and ~10 paid ads on the first page of the major search engines. Whenever possible, you want your business to come up multiple times on the first page of the major search engines for all keyword searches relevant to your company. Everyone has attention deficit disorder (ADD) online, so having multiple listings gives you a greater chance of converting quick clicks into leads and sales. Getting two listings on the first page is no easy feat because no matter where your business is located, you probably have far more than 20 competitors!
Use a marketing analytics service to determine which keywords drive the best balance of traffic and inquiries. Then, make it your goal to get on the first page of the search results as many times as you can for each of those keywords/keyword phrases. For some businesses, just identifying the right keywords can be a multi-year project. Recognize this when you’re just getting started—this is a marathon, not a sprint.
A Pay-Per-Click Tip
Many new PPC advertisers send their PPC traffic directly to their website’s homepage. This is a gigantic mistake—don’t do it! For most service companies, the homepage is a “jack of all trades, master of none.” It’s the last place you want to send PPC traffic—people that (in all likelihood) don’t know you and are in “shopping” mode.
At a minimum, you should send the visitors to a page on your website that is specific to the keyword/keyword phrase searched (also known as a “landing page”). Some companies build completely separate websites specifically optimized to convert PPC traffic into leads/sales. Again, you can use marketing analytics tools like Google Analytics and screen recording software to decide what to change/test on various landing page language and designs.
The Basics of SEO
There are three components to SEO:
1) Code & Site Structure
2) On-Page Factors
3) Off-Page Factors
For local/regional service businesses serving a single market or small region (e.g. the Baltimore-Washington metro area), the single biggest factor for ranking well organically is on-page content. Search engines are constantly reading the content on websites and trying to identify the sites that, depending on the search query, deliver the best information to their readers.
However, the best content in the world will be virtually invisible to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the others if it is sitting on top of a poorly coded/structured website. Do yourself a favor and hire a professional web design company to run a quick audit of your website to assess your site’s HTML code and site structure. Things to avoid include:
Flash – Flash banners are ok, but significant content in Flash files should be avoided
Text as images (instead of plain HTML content) – search engines cannot effectively read images (yet)
If your website’s code/structure passes the test, focus on creating web pages that target 2 – 3 keywords per page (max) and include at least 400 – 500 words of relevant copy per page. Make sure that your page title tag, meta description tag, headings, and top paragraphs all include the keywords you are targeting.
If you do this consistently, you should rank organically for at least some of your target keywords. You can always hire a qualified SEO company if you need some additional horsepower or help.
Come back soon to read the final part and conclusion of this blog series or subscribe to our blog and get future updates automatically!
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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