One of the most popular questions when it comes to driving traffic to your website is ‘what’s best, pay per click (PPC) or search engine optimisation (SEO)?’

By using pay per click advertising options through programs such as Google Adwords, you are essentially bidding with competitors to get your link at the very top of the first search engine page based on specific keywords and phrases. It is fast and almost guaranteed to get you a good ranking but you may have to pay quite highly for the privilege depending on what your keywords are and how many others are bidding on them.

So which is the better option? Well that all depends on your business’s needs and budget. Here’s what you need to consider:

  1. How big of a budget are you working with?

When you are deciding between PPC and SEO, you need to be thinking about how much money you actually have available to spend on them. For a PPC advertising campaign you need to be looking at spending at least £10 a day, and depending on how competitive your keywords are this could be eaten up fast and a higher budget may be needed.

If you don’t have the budget to stretch to PPC, then SEO can be done very cheap or even for free with time and effort.

  1. What’s the average cost of a click for your industry’s keywords?

With your budget in mind, you should look at what other people in your industry are paying per click for their ads. Depending on your industry and the competitiveness of your keywords, your budget may not be enough to make PPC worthwhile for you. In more niche industries however, where search traffic is lower, cost per click (CPC) can be much lower and PPC campaigns more advantageous.

You can determine the average CPC for your keywords using Google Adwords keyword research tool. This will tell you the best maximum price to bid per click and how much traffic you are expected to get from using this price. It will also give you an idea of which keywords and phrases are more competitive and will therefore cost more and which ones will be cheaper but still draw a good amount of traffic.

  1. How competitive are organic search engine rankings for your industry?

Depending on your niche, the search engine results pages (SERPs) may be less or more competitive. Determining how much competition there is for your target keywords on organic search results will help you determine if SEO is worth it for you.

You can determine this using the Google Adwords keyword research tool and checking what the estimated competition level is for your keywords and phrases.

If your industry is a competitive one, you are likely to see the first page of results filled with links to authority websites. These are very difficult to displace and it is often more worthwhile to spend your budget on PPC rather than trying to compete.

You don’t necessarily have to make the choice between SEO and PPC however. Many companies find that combining PPC and SEO to create the right balance can be more cost effective and powerful when drawing in more traffic.

Want to learn more about harnessing the power of SEO and PPC? We’re running a short course on 9th July 2015 in Oxford covering the fundamentals of successful search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising.

To celebrate our 19th birthday we’re offering a 19% discount! Head over to our Facebook page to claim your discount and be entered into a draw to win your short course place for FREE!