At Avatar, we often get asked, “Is paid or organic the best way to generate website traffic?”. Our feature article talks this through and gives some suggestions. We also have our usual assortment of other goodies.
Should Websites Use SEO Or SEM?
Everyone wants more website visitors. In particular, high quality traffic from your target market. If you’re an accountant in Christchurch, and someone types in “Christchurch accountant”, you know you want to be at the top of the Google search results page.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is about optimising your website so that it ranks for keyword terms related to your target market. It’s free traffic (also called ‘organic’ traffic) and, for most topics, it’s where the majority of people are clicking.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is where search engines, such as Google, will charge per click for your website to be positioned in a prominent part of the search engine results page (or on their other partner websites).
There’s no simple answer to what option is best. It depends on your target market, your competition, your product value, your website and a range of other variables. Here are a few typical scenarios that we explore and provide some suggestions for:
New Website. If you have just launched a website, under a new domain, SEO is going to take at least a few months to kick in. It’ll take even longer to rank well if you have stiff competition. So, if you’re hungry for quick traffic then SEM could be the first port of call. Otherwise you just need to suck it up and wait for the SEO traffic when Google recognises how wonderful your site content is.
Low Budget. To get reasonable traffic volumes with SEM, you’d really need to spend at least $300 per month. In reality $500 to $1,000, per month, would be the typical minimum for most businesses. You can train yourself up in SEM or pay a consultant to help get the best out of your campaigns. For SEO, you can invest time to upskill yourself (and even then it’ll be hit or miss) or you can pay an SEO specialist to help optimise your site (typically a starting point of $500 to $1,000 per month).
Medium To High Budget. Go for gold. We’d suggest you consider both SEM and SEO. Each month, you can progressively measure what channel is giving you the most conversions then allocate your budget accordingly. The great thing about online marketing is that it’s extremely measureable so you know exactly how much it costs per conversion.
Low Product Value. If you’re selling a bunch of items under $25 then it’s going to be hard to make SEM work. Even if you have a 10% conversion rate (which is high) and are paying $2 per click (which is low) then it’ll cost you $20 per sale so you’re not likely to even pay for the cost of sale. Focusing on SEO could be the best option for this type of scenario.
High Competition. Some keyword topics are hyper-competitive where you’re going up against canny online operatives who know their stuff. In this case, SEO is likely going to be a long, hard slog or you’ll need to come up with a top-notch online marketing strategy. SEM may be a viable option though it’s likely to be an expensive cost per click.
There are also nuances between targeting desktop users and mobile device users. You can have a different SEO or SEM strategy for each. Need some online marketing help? Get in contact with Avatar and we can assist.
Top Value Pick
SEO Tools. If you want to dabble in some DIY search engine optimisation, then take a look at The Essential Guide To SEO Tools. It includes an extensive list of useful tools with brief summaries on each.
Big Google AdWords Updates. Google has a ‘mobile first’ strategy since that’s where the usage trends are going. Here’s a good summary.
Getting Bored With Your “To Do” List?. Maybe think about making a break list. Planning mini breaks, along with your usual to do’s may help with productivity and inspiration.
Like Mike. On the lighter side of life, we’re a big fan of Like Mike. Episode 17 on Foreign Trusts is particularly amusing.
Sites Of Interest
Lots of web design and web marketing projects in progress but no new websites launched this month. Here are a few sites we’ve been working on recently.
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