Is your small business’ digital marketing plan only getting you halfway there? If this is the case, it could be that search engine optimisation (SEO) is the only way to attract visitors to your company website.
While SEO is important for increasing website traffic, it is not enough for a small business to get the number of potential customers it needs to expand further. To achieve this, you need to add a few more elements to your game plan.
- SEO – Eng. Search Engine Optimisation – Search Engine Optimisation
- PPC – Eng. Pay Per Click – Pay per click, otherwise known as advertising like Google’s ADS, where an advertising fee is charged per visitor who comes to the website.
What is the difference between search engine optimisation (SEO) and paid advertising (PPC)?
SEM, often referred to as “search engine marketing”, is a broad word. This is all that can be done to promote your website and increase traffic using search engine technology. SEM includes both unpaid (organic) techniques such as SEO and paid tools such as PPC.
SEO is essential for every SEM strategy. The goal of SEO is to improve websites for both search engines and people. This includes things like using the right code, creating user-friendly website design and navigation, creating metatags and sitemaps with keywords and phrases relevant to your business and website content, providing and updating relevant educational content, and maintaining inbound links to your website from social media, blogs, and other relevant, authoritative sources. If a company is going to invest in advertising and sponsored placement, SEO should be the first step in marketing the site.
SEO is a long-term cost-effective approach. As search results can last for a long time, the initial investment can provide excellent returns in the future. Since more users trust organic search results than sponsored search results, organic search results can improve your company’s reputation more.
However, it must be remembered that search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have changed their commercial search results over time to become more and more like organic search results. This, combined with the constant attempts to compensate advertisers for quality content and ad relevance to on-demand search ads, has led to a higher overall quality of advertising, which reduces the ‘trust’ gap.
One of the most important benefits of SEO is the ability to rank for “long tail” keywords and phrases that you may not be targeting, but which are relevant to some content on your website. Organic search tends to offer such “pleasant shocks”, and you can gradually expand your material as much as you like. Remember that one of the factors that helps you “win” the SEO game is to keep your content fresh.
Increase your search engine rankings and take advantage of PPC
PPC, on the other hand, is more precise – perfect for attracting targeted visitors when you want or need them, as well as enticing those further down the sales funnel (i.e. those who are closer to a purchase decision than those who are still searching). PPC has a higher conversion rate and net revenue per visit than organic search clicks, and the money you spend on your ad is only spent when someone clicks on your ad.
You can also customise your adverts to appear in very precise geographical locations and bid how much you want to spend per click (hence the name). The same day you set up your PPC account, you can start driving traffic to your website, and calculating the actual cost of acquiring a new customer and the overall return on investment is easy.
PPC is ideal for fighting for specific, highly competitive keywords and for targeted advertising. If you have identified the service areas with the highest margins, or which are for some reason the most important for your practice, a sensible plan may be to focus PPC spend on these specific areas and try to minimise the rest through SEO. If you want to quickly build brand awareness in a specific new location, PPC is a great way to do it.
“Pay-Per-Click advertising can increase traffic (PPC)
PPC and SEO should be integrated.
Putting all your marketing eggs in one basket has never been a good idea. A company that only advertises in the local newspaper or spends its entire marketing budget on billboards is just wasting money. Once your website is optimised, the next step is to diversify your marketing efforts across different platforms. They should include the following measures:
Content marketing is any format that shares information with consumers and potential customers, such as blog posts, videos, images (e.g. infographics), webinars and white papers. Adding high-quality content to your website will help it rank better in search engine results. However, you can also distribute the material outside your website. You can disseminate the material, for example, by posting it on social media, by guest blogging on industry websites, or by using “closed content”, i.e. y. content that requires visitors to provide certain information, such as downloading a white paper or attending a webinar. Just make sure your material includes a call to action and a link to a landing page that directs readers to your website.
Paid search advertising: if you’re selling your business on Facebook, you know that it’s getting harder and harder to get attention on the social network through organic posts. To get more customers through social networks, you usually have to pay for advertising. The same idea applies to paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Optimising your website for search engines will improve its ranking in organic search results, but adding PPC advertising increases the likelihood that your company’s website will be seen by targeted customers. PPC advertising has been shown to generate twice as much traffic as SEO. Paid search, like SEO, is keyword-driven, so you’ll need to test different offers, headlines and ad formats to find the ones that work best. You can also hire digital marketers to oversee your PPC strategy and help your ad rank higher.
SEO and PPC are essential components of effective online marketing.
Healthcare marketers usually struggle to understand whether SEO or PPC is more beneficial. Each has its own advantages and both are essential to help doctors and healthcare organisations to be discovered, to communicate with and engage potential patients, while increasing market share in an increasingly competitive market. The key is to understand the differences between the two tools, to consider which one is most appropriate for your unique objectives, and to implement them strategically by testing, monitoring and evaluating the results that will ultimately allow you to modify your resources in the most effective way.
SEO, SEM and PPC aim to make providers more visible on the internet and provide valuable information to patients who are actively seeking it.
Individuals and organisations can become authorities in their fields by providing useful knowledge, which builds credibility and visibility. Consumers are inherently picky when it comes to their health, so it is important for them to know who the leaders are.
While determining the optimal mix of time and money to spend on SEO and PPC can be challenging, an effective online marketing strategy should include both paid and organic initiatives. Putting all your marketing money in one basket is a bad idea. If your strategy focuses only on organic results, you are unlikely to reach the roughly 25-40% (depending on which study you consider most reliable) of searchers who are more likely to click on paid ads, even if your organic ad is ranked in the first place, just below the ads on the search engine results pages (SERPS).
If you focus only on PPC, you may lose the rest (60-75%) of your searchers. In addition, if an unforeseen change in the search engine algorithm causes an unexpected drop in your organic positions and you don’t have a PPC campaign in place, your company could disappear from the targeted SERPS.
An online marketing approach for the healthcare industry
In summary, both SEO and PPC should be used in online marketing. Making sure your website is substantially optimised for organic search is a key component of great SEO, but ultimately it is a large-scale and constantly evolving process. The more time you spend on it, the more likely you are to benefit from it. And while it can be difficult to understand exactly what works and what doesn’t, and to measure the return on investment, your benefits will usually be long-lasting and rewarding in ways you might not have imagined.
PPC, on the other hand, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to drive targeted traffic to websites, which is particularly useful for concentrated efforts. It allows organisations to limit costs by setting a maximum number of adverts, provides excellent analytical monitoring and an easy way to calculate return on investment. Although this may be a short or long term plan, once you stop paying, traffic to your website stops. However, the tracking mechanism and the ability to easily turn it on or off reduces most threats.
Both strategies require a lot of time and rapid learning. There is always something that can be done to improve results, and the rules of the game are constantly changing, so you need to keep an eye on industry trends, test, analyse and learn. It is best left in the hands of competent professionals who have invested the time and money in proper education and training and whose expertise helps them stand out.
Don’t settle for a marketing approach that will only get you halfway there. By implementing the key factors listed above in your digital marketing strategy, combined with solid SEO, your company will quickly see better results, more leads and more sales.