Before we dive headfirst into how to compare Google Search Ads and Professional SEO Maintenance, let's get some definitions out of the way:
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Examples of Search Engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Duck Duck Go. Optimizing your website for search engines means that when someone searches using terms related to your business, you are more likely to show up at the top of the results.
What is a Google Search Ad?
Whenever you search for something on Google, there is quite likely to be an ad that gets inserted to the top of the search results. It is clearly labelled as an ad and is often contextual to the search query. When you see this add, you get tracked as an "impression." Companies pay Google for impressions on their Google Search Advertisement. When you click the ad, you are tracked as a "click-through." Again, the company that paid for the ad pays extra for you clicking the ad. It's almost like a cheat code to get put at the top of the search results.
Our journey with SEO and Google Search Ads
When you are first starting a business, you are desperately lacking two things: presence in the market you're entering into, and expendable cash for marketing efforts (or cash for anything, really). When we (Objektiv Digital) first entered our market and began competing with more established firms, we were in the same situation. Luckily for us, one of the things we were trying to sell to others can be used for ourselves to grow our business: digital marketing. If we can't effectively market ourselves in the digital space, why should we even call ourselves a business?
Because we can more cost-effectively do professional SEO maintenance ourselves, going that route is an easy answer. SEO, however, can take weeks or even months to take full effect. It's a long-term game. When you're first starting out, sometimes you need faster results.
As many entrepreneurs know, however, buying digital ad space can be risky if you don't know what you're doing. We often make the comparison of buying digital ads like playing blackjack at the casino. If you don't know how to count cards, the house is always going to win. Sure, you may get lucky here or there, but the risk is too high. This gamble is why it's important to either have your ads managed by a professional or to have regular consultations with a digital marketing professional to ensure your return on investment (ROI).
How to compare Google Search vs. Search Engine Optimization
Whether you're paying for traffic or getting it organically, there will always be effort involved with getting results. The formula for knowing what's best is rather simple. Ask these questions both about paid and organic search traffic:
Paid Traffic (Google Search Ads)
- What are my click-throughs?
- How much am I spending on Google Search ads?
Organic Traffic (SEO)
- What are my click-throughs?
- How much am I spending on SEO?
It's as simple as comparing the numbers. If you're spending $500/mo on professional SEO maintenance and getting 20 organic click-throughs vs. spending $250/mo on Google search ads and getting 43 click-throughs, the answer should be obvious which to invest in when you're on a tight budget.