Pay-per-click ads (PPC) have been around for years now and has proved to be an effective way to increase targeted web traffic to your website. While there are a lot of immediate benefits to using PPC ads - particularly the ability to gather better keyword and search data - there are also some potential dangers to using paid search.
The problem that many marketers face revolves around instant gratification. We all want it - it’s part of our culture - but the risk that we then face is becoming reliant solely on creating a PPC approach while ignoring other long-term opportunities to create more substantial search traffic. The fact is that there is no real equity built in creating search engine optimization (SEO) via pay-per-click ads, once you stop paying you lose your place in line.
Take this analogy, for example, that we often share with our newer clients. Pay-per-click ads are like renting an apartment and building long-term organic search results via blogging and other forms of content creation is like building a home. Sure there are a lot of nice perks to renting - you can move right in, it may be furnished, have great amenities, but the fact still remains. Once you stop paying your rent, your out looking for a new place to live.
Creating content, however, creates ling-term equity - the more pages and content that you create the more you add to the structure. Eventually, you build something that is simply too big to miss when walking down the street. Plus, once you have put in the effort of building it, the bricks stay no matter what, i.e. if you stop paying you don’t lose the bricks you built.
The second danger is based on the fact that PPC ad programs like Google Adwords are built around an auction system where you are constantly bidding for words - and this system can get expensive fast. You may be able to get a few words you like for a reasonable cost, but what happens when your competitors are also using the same words? Then it comes back to analyzing your data to determine the cost per lead. If the ad word prices increase to a level where it simply doesn’t make sense economically to buy these words you miss out.
Additionally, there is nothing to stop your competitors from outbidding you even if you can afford it. You are always vulnerable to the competition for your keywords' demand and the prices will change accordingly based on this competition. Unless you have a real strategy and understand the keywords that work for your customers, you may find yourself throwing money into a black hole with no return.
Our advice is to be careful and to balance your marketing efforts with a combination of the two - particularly for clients just starting out. Building up SEO using content creation takes time, so using PPC can help get you started, but should not be used to replace long-term efforts. If you could create a content powerhouse that created the same first page rankings for a fraction of the cost wouldn’t you want to make the effort?