It’s indisputable that digital marketing is essential to business success today. But what different kinds of Internet marketing strategies are there, and which are the most effective? Below are brief overviews of two of the most popular approaches; both are based on search engines, but work in very different ways.
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Pay-per-click is a pricing model in which you only pay each time your ad or link is clicked on, regardless of how many times it is viewed. The most popular PPC strategy involves placing links in the paid results section at the top of Google search results, a process governed by Google AdWords.
AdWords works by businesses bidding on keywords that will trigger their ad being displayed whenever a searcher types in a query using that keyword. The trickiest part of PPC is knowing which keywords to choose. More popular keywords cost more. However, keyword selection also plays a role in conversion rates, or what percentage of traffic is turned into leads for your business. In 2014, 85% of PPC specialists said they planned to shift their focus from traffic alone to conversion rate optimization.
Most businesses choose to hire a PPC management company to determine, bid on and evaluate the performance of their keywords. Almost 75% of American marketers said they planned to increase their AdWords spending this year.
- SEO and Content Marketing
The other way to use search engines to your advantage is to make your website rank more highly in a search engine’s unpaid, or “organic,” results. This process is called search engine optimization. SEO is important because 70% to 80% of searchers ignore paid links (or “sponsored results”) in favor of organic results.
There are numerous factors Google and other search engines use in the algorithms that determine search rankings. Part of SEO is making sure a website’s structure is conducive to being indexed by web crawlers, as well as making sure web pages have relevant keywords telling the search engine what your business does. One of the best ways to boost your website’s ranking is to host a blog: Companies with a blog on their site have 434% more indexed pages, and indexed pages convert to traffic and leads.
Content marketing can also be used offsite, since search engines looks at how many other sites have links pointing to your website. But to prevent people from manipulating the system by buying thousands of backlinks, these links must come from reputable sites hosting unique content. This is why it’s important to work with a knowledgeable content marketer: Having links from the wrong kinds of sites can actually lead to being penalized by search engines.
There are several advantages to having both of these services provided by a single Internet marketing company, especially since these strategies work out slightly differently for each business. By hiring internet marketing consultants who can handle all these diverse areas, you can trust them to automatically balance their efforts, putting the bulk of your investment toward the strategies yielding the highest returns for your individual business. If you hire separate Internet marketing consultants for each task, it’ll be up to you to assess their success and ask for changes — which is less time you can spend focusing on whatever your business does best.
Do you work with an all-in-one Internet marketing agency, or hire individual Internet marketing consultants? Share your experiences in the comments.