Two of the most prominently used methods of internet marketing are pay per click advertising and search engine optimization. How do they compare? When should you use either? Knowing how to properly use each can make a big difference in your ROI and traffic results.
- Speed of results. As much as some extreme cases for SEO may be flaunted, on average search engine optimization takes a while to have full effect. This can be a few weeks, a few months, even as long as a year to get desired results. Pay per click on the other hand will have results within a day. If you're interested in getting immediate results with a marketing method, PPC is your choice. You'll find out what keywords are more effective much more quickly and can adjust them almost real-time. SEO is better used for a researched keyword list using keywords you know will have desired results.
- Cost, immediate and long-term. PPC is very fast to produce results. You pay for the amount of traffic you want. If the traffic that searches for those keywords or browses the sites you advertise on exists, you can potentially pay thousands of dollars a month. For SEO, you generally will pay a large amount up front to get initial SEO work done, then a monthly amount to continue the SEO services. (This varies heavily, depending on where you pay for your SEO services.) On average, this is a higher cost than PPC for the same markets. If your PPC costs are high for every cost per click, chances are your SEO costs will also be high, and the same for markets with lower competition – both PPC and SEO will have costs relevant with the market value, and SEO is usually a higher cost.
- Results, long term value. PPC is good because it can provide instant results, and you can get immediate return on investment. SEO will not produce results immediately, but the long term value is much higher. The traffic growth on a good SEO campaign is exponential, and growth for a PPC campaign (if any) is usually linear. The difference between an organic position on page 2, position 9 on page 1, and position 1 on page 1 is immensely different. For PPC, the response for difference in positions is quite different, but the it is not as large as those from organic results. SEO will cost more but will provide a bigger long term result, if the keywords being optimized for are quality ones.
Knowing these details, it's recommended that you use PPC to do keyword research fully and test which keywords convert best before pushing into SEO. That way your costs can be adjusted quickly for different keywords, and the commitment to SEO can be done with tested keywords that have verified results. This will save you large costs and help produce definite outcomes.
Searching on Google is one of the core elements of good SEO research. Find your competition, see who’s listed for certain keywords, and more. But if you know some of the tricks to the Google search query parameters, you can learn a lot more.
Here are 6 Google search query tips to help SEO:
1) “intitle:”/”allintitle:” Using this followed by your keywords will show you who’s strongly targeting these keywords by putting them into their title tag. Using just “intitle:” will show any of the keywords you’ve queried in any order, but not necessarily all the keywords. Using “allintitle:” will show all results with every keyword you’ve listed in their title tag, in any order. Putting your keywords in quotes after “intitle:” or “allintitle:” will show only listings who have all the keywords in that order in the title tag. By doing this, you can see who’s got at least the basic SEO down to compete for this keyword.
2) “inanchor:”/”allinanchor:” This query will show you who Google has found that has the highest number of links with these keywords as the anchor text pointing to these pages. The top listing has the most links pointing to this page with that anchor text, and it goes from there. Again, using quotes will show who’s using the exact phrase for their anchor text. By dusing this query you can see who you have to beat in anchor texted links (according to Google) to rank higher for that keyword.
3) “intext:”/”allintext:” This query isn’t as important as it used to be, since good SEO doesn’t weigh so heavily on keywords in on-page content (more on title tags and anchor text), but it can still be useful. This shows which pages are using the keywords most in their content. PageRank does affect the order of the listings for this query, so a site with a higher PR value will show up higher than another page even with the same keywords used a similar quantity on their page.
4) “link:” This fits well with the “inanchor” query for backlink research. If you put a domain or a page address after this, you’ll find out what other pages are linking back to this page. There are other tools that some people prefer to do this job, but it’s a quick way to find out what backlinks somebody is using.
5) “site:” If you don’t know this trick, this is one you really need to have in your arsenal. Using this followed by a domain name will show all pages in that domain that Google has crawled. If you add keywords after this, it will show only the pages in that domain that match the query. This can be used to find out how many pages from a site Google has in their server cache, as well as looking for specific information within a domain. This trick can even be used to find all sites of a particular class about a certain keyword phrase by typing in something like “site:.edu” with your keyword.
6) “info:” Another trick that is often missed. This will basically give you shortcuts to find out more about a domain or a specific page that you put after this tag. From the results page on this, you can find the cache (which will display the last time the page was crawled) as well as a few of the above options (“link”, “site”) plus pages that are similar to the indicated page (the “related:” tag) or even just a pure query on who has that specific term listed on their site. It’s a mix of the Google query tricks in one place, but if you know each of them uniquely you can do each separately on your own.
Learning how to use each of these can make for very powerful tools to use for your SEO research and goal-setting. It can help find out who your competition is and how effective they are at different SEO elements.
Of all methods for doing solid search engine optimization, link bait is one of the most alluring (yet mysterious) methods. Good link bait will grab attention and gather links from various pages across the web, but bad link bait won’t grab much attention and will not have the SEO effects desired. Keep in mind that bad link bait and bad attention are two different things – bad attention is still attention, and for the goal of link baiting, this is still accomplishing the desired result.
photo credit: psyberartist
To get good links and grab solid collections of links, here are 3 link baiting tips to try:
- Strong research on a popular topic. This is especially functional if you can find a valuable topic that has yet to be covered. This is also more effective if you can be specific. For example, in a market about dog care, doing a study on which species of dog sheds the most (with actual figures, quantitative values) is something that anyone who cares about a canine impact on their home interior would be interested in. And if it’s solid information, they’d be happy to share it with a link.
- An instructional guide. Showing people how to do something that is not naturally intuitive is a contribution to the web that is appreciated by both humans and the search engines. The more detail that is put into such a guide, the better. This can be done for all sorts of things, from how to operate machinery to how to practice a skill. Again, being tightly specific will help – a guide on how to properly shoot a pool ball (including the proper way to hold the cue stick, with pictures) will likely get more attention and links then a guide on how to play pool.
- Setting up a contest or a competition. This can be of particular value if it’s set up with some sort of reward, specific to the market. Putting a competition up to find the 5 best horror stories about blind dates would be great on multiple levels. If giving something away of relevant value to each winner (free movie tickets, a free dinner at a nice restaurant), it will get good attention from people wanting to win the prizes as well as getting great reception when you post the results. Who wouldn’t want to read the 5 best stories about horrid blind dates? And as the result can also be solid link bait, you can get a double effect from putting together a good competition on your site.
But not all methods of using link bait that are known are good. Be careful about spending time on things that are not really worth the effort. Here are 3 areas to be careful with, when it comes to link baiting: