Should I invest in SEO or AdWords?
We get this question a lot and there's really no one answer to fit every situation. They both have their place and they do complement each other well. But most small businesses in particular have a tough time fitting Google AdWords into their budgets. And yet they're eager to see quick results. (If your primary concern is immediate results, then AdWords is your best bet. It's typically much more costly, but the process is faster.)
SEO is always our first choice for a small business with a local market. Many times people will ignore ads and look for a website in the organic search results (the links that appear beneath ads on a search results page). And SEO is just a better investment because you don't have to pay every time someone clicks on your website when it ranks well in organic search results due to SEO. Plus once your daily budget with AdWords has been spent (which could mean just a couple of clicks if you have a very small AdWords budget), then your ad stops running whereas if your website is ranking well due to SEO then you can get hundreds of clicks a day and it just keeps on going. So for the same amount of marketing spend, SEO will put you in front of more people for a longer period of time.
So then why bother with Google AdWords at all? If you don't have a local market, then AdWords can get you ranked well more quickly and can be more targeted. Let's say you want to spend more in a particular part of the country or on a particular day of the week, with Google AdWords you can specify when ads show and what types of keywords you're willing to pay more for. And you'll learn a lot from your AdWords campaigns that can be useful in defining your SEO strategy. But if you have a fairly limited budget, you'll likely find that AdWords is very ineffective because you're just not getting in front of enough people.
Think of SEO as a longer-term investment so if you're looking for a quick-hit (e.g., short-term promotion), then Google AdWords is definitely for you. But if you're looking to stretch your marketing dollars, especially if you have a local market, then SEO is generally your best bet.
If you're not sure what makes sense for your business, contact us for a free consultation and we're happy to advise you.