Is search engine optimisation (SEO) enough to get website traffic?

Digital360 on 27 September 2017

Long gone are the days when customers discover your company through the Yellow Pages. Today, if anyone is searching for businesses or services now, the first place they check is Google. But how can you get your website listed on Google? And do you have to pay?

There are different tactics to get website traffic from Google search. They are search engine optimisation (SEO) and Google Adwords.

SEO is the practice of getting your website ranked higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs) to maximise the number of visitors to your site. This method is an organic process, which means you can get your website to the top of Google without having to pay for advertising.

Adwords, on the other hand, is a type of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Google. You can find these ads on the top and bottom of the results page with clear ‘Ad’ labels on them. How much you will have to pay for an ad is dependent on the keyword you are bidding on.

If SEO is free, why should you even pay for Adwords? Each has its advantages and can make more sense in certain situations. So, when should you use which strategy?

Search engine optimisation: the pros and the cons

SEO can get your website to rank higher on the SERPs of not just Google, but Bing, Yahoo and other search engines as well. The process mainly involves making your site search engine friendly.

The search engine crawlers can then quickly gather information about your website so they can better match search queries.

To achieve this, you will have to work at it. You might not have to pay directly to perform SEO, but you will need to put in a lot of time and effort to get one of the top positions in the organic search results. Because of how frequent the algorithms change as well, you need to always be on the ball about how you can improve your site’s interactions with search engines.

However, this effort will be more long-lasting. If you manage to rank for the keywords you want and maintain your position, you'll be rewarded with a continuous flow of traffic. On the whole, SEO is an ideal search marketing strategy for the long-term.

Adwords: the pros and the cons

When you use Google Adwords, you only pay Google when your ad gets clicked by a search engine user. And if your ad is high quality and your bidding strategy optimised, you can even outrank organic positions.

You can create and run an Adwords campaign almost immediately, but when it ends, so will the traffic to your site. It is a great way to boost traffic immediately, but it won't last unless your pockets are bottomless. Depending on the keywords you bid for, and the quality of your campaign and website, you might end up paying a lot for the campaign. The more in-demand the keywords are, the more expensive they become.

But the costs might be worthwhile if your ads are highly targeted. You are more likely to get conversions through a successful Adwords campaign than you would through organic traffic. Measuring the returns on investment (ROI) on Adwords is also more straightforward to calculate as you would only need to consider advertising spend and revenue.

To pay or not to pay, that is the question

When you need immediate traffic to your website, Adwords can get you the visits you need. Many new businesses pay for campaigns to quickly get targeted traffic for sales or finding new customers.

But it is most important that your profits can justify the ad costs. If an Adwords campaign does not run well, you will be wasting your advertising dollars. A search marketing agency can run your Adwords campaigns if you don’t have the knowledge or experience to do it yourself. In addition, an agency can also increase organic traffic to your site with a long term SEO strategy.

Want to find out more about working with an SEO provider? Talk to a digital marketing specialist about your business needs.