When it comes to deciding where to best spend your advertising dollars, with so many directions you can go it can get a bit confusing. To make things worse, there are tons of marketing companies and if you spend some time talking to various reps you might inevitably get various recommendations with some conflicting information.

Know The Basics So You Can Be Prepared

You don’t have to be an expert, but you can get an understanding of the basics relatively quickly so that you can be prepared when looking at various marketing agencies or deciding if you want to give it a try yourself.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is different than AdWords in that it focuses on increasing exposure for organic search results (search results that are not part of paid advertising). Search Engine Optimization as a whole entails many aspects which can sound pretty complicated when explained in detail. We can divide the different aspects into two categories, on-page SEO and off- page SEO.

On-page SEO is the very beginning and foundation to any proper optimization. It starts with in-depth research on the industry, company and clientele. Research is a critical phase as it allows us to lay the foundation of our SEO campaigns which must be solid. This foundational work involves identifying keywords that have a historical precedence in converting to clients and keyword phrases that have search volume within the geographic areas being targeted.

The next major step is placing these keywords on your website in the areas that count. Google has a certain way of reading websites and choosing which ones move up in page rank and which move down, and making sure from a developer’s perspective that the website’s HTML is written for this intent is very important, this involves weaving keywords in markup tags within the website’s code with a strategic schema. This initial on page SEO development is vital because if great effort is made to promote the website off-page (off-page SEO), with these foundational issues, the effort will largely be a waste of time and resources.

Off-page SEO involves any content that is published outside of the website, such as social media, external blogs and so forth. It’s important that this is a part of the strategic plan as well, using relevant keywords and utilizing links to point back to the website to a page with keywords in common.

AdWords: Paid Online Advertising

AdWords involves paying to show up for search results. Every time someone types in a word or phrase (keywords) into a search bar, ads that were designed and set up with those specific keywords are triggered and how up. In search results these are known as search ads, ads that show text only, and typically show up on the top and bottom of page search results on Google. AdWords also offers a lot of other options including graphic ads, retargeting, adjusting audience, location, and much more.

Adwords, like SEO, is focused on keywords to an extent, but also runs ads that cost per click and must be created for strategic targeting and be closely monitored and adjusted as needed to increase performance, add or change products or services offers, and so forth.

There’s a lot of information available online about AdWords, and other advertising platforms as well, such as Bing, which is very similar. Google has recently created an Academy For Ads to learn about various aspects and get certified. Follow this link to check it out.

Which Should I Choose? SEO or AdWords?

There’s no inherently right or wrong answer to this question, it really depends on your circumstances. Consider the following questions when deciding.

What is your goal? Is there a long term goal, such as to increase website visibility and online presence? SEO would be great for that. Do you have a short term goal? Sell x amount of inventory within a certain time frame? AdWords might be great for that.

What is your budget? If you want to advertise, have a low budget and are competing in an expensive industry, it might not be feasible. Doing some research with Google’s Keyword Planner can give you a great idea about your industry keywords and cost per click. You won’t know for sure unless this gets researched.

As always, if you’d like help in your journey to grow your business, just reach out.