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Google Ads or SEO – What to choose?

Eternal question! Google ad or website positioning? Which strategy to choose to boost traffic and increase profits? There is not any single answer to this question. Each of them is very specific. Taking this into account, you can, however, choose the solution which best suits your needs. See each of these services in 5 points.

SEO in three words: durability – stability – long-term nature (Joanna Michalska – SEO specialist)

1. SEO is a time-consuming process. This results from the nature of the service which is divided into stages at time intervals (Google must have time to index changes made by the SEO specialist). After the website audit and review of previous links have been conducted, the SEO specialist creates a work plan for the specific webpage and specifies initial delivery time of stages. During the term of the positioning agreement, the plan may be subject to changes forced by the website (a need to supply more content or links, add a new subpage, etc.)  and reactions to previous actions taken by the SEO specialist. In effect it is assumed that you have to wait a few months to see results of positioning (it is a very general time scope). Therefore, positioning is not an optimal solution if you care about fast promotion. You cannot expect results of SEO specialists’ work overnight. For this reason we do not recommend positioning if you prioritize fast, seasonal promotions. This solution supports a long-term visibility of the website in search engines. SEO requires you to wait longer for results and durability of results (if you stop positioning, it does not mean you lose your position on another day).

2. SEO is related to website optimization. Positioning requires specific knowledge and actions which are rarely considered when creating any website. It does not mean these webpages are poor – they are just not optimized in terms of SEO. In effect one of the first SEO specialist’s actions is to optimize the website or online store. The scope of actions in this respect depends on many factors (e.g. technology used to create a website). Website optimization takes weeks after the contract has been concluded. It must be considered as an indispensable foundation for further works. To demonstrate the significance of the solid optimization, let’s see cases of webpages which move from 100th to 25th position (it is not a rule, though). A need for Google network boots to optimize and index it shows that positioning is not an instant service. Optimization is, however, something permanent (even when the cooperation is over) and gives an “added value” to the website (optimized websites can record a  better quality result in Google AdWords campaigns).

3. A set of phrases which the website relies on in terms of positioning is essentially constant. Implementation of changes requires both parties to give their consent in the form of the annex to the agreement. It therefore requires a good plan and analysis of the website content. This regularity is related to technical aspects of web positioning which is based on specific phrases. A change of the set of phrases means the need to initiate positioning from scratch. The website does not need to be visible through new phrases instantly. By changing the list of keywords every 2-3 months, your results may not be satisfying. You should change keywords in justified cases only, for example when you terminate cooperation with some manufacturer or remove something from our offer. Interestingly, when you do positioning, you don’t promote words which do not exist in the content of the website. The issue of regularity of keywords to be promoted differentiates the positioning service from Google AdWords campaign with regard to which changes of words used to promote are not problematic. Longer work on a specific set of phrases in SEO translates into durability of results, though.

4. The results of SEO are relatively durable and may sustain for some time, even when the agreement is terminated. The visibility of the website upon a specific phrase does not depend on the budget. A well-optimized website with an attractive link profile will be visible also after the SEO specialist finishes its operations. Google remembers actions on the website and takes them into consideration when creating its own ranking list of search engine results. It is kind of a two-edged weapon – similar to good positioning actions which pay off in the future, even after the end of the agreement, a badly positioned website records a “negative history” which translates into effectiveness of further SEO operations in the future. SEO specialists sometimes encounter instances of SPAM linked pages (too much, too intensively, extensively in terms of keywords) with poor history which in effect are not prone to their actions (briefly speaking: Google remembers previous actions related to the website and fails to trust it).

5.SEO price is fixed – prices valid on the day of signing the agreement apply. It is therefore a predictable form of advertisement in terms of expenses. A fixed set of phrases and predictable budget per service are advantages of positioning which is valued by many customers. Read this post to see how much positioning is and what it depends on.

1. Advertisement in Google Ads can be referred to as instant service when compared to SEO – all you have to do is make payment into the account, configure the advertising campaign and start promoting yourself online. AdWords campaigns can let you get visible on the Internet instantly, however, it takes time to collect a suitable amount of data required for proper campaign optimization. Activation is not enough. To result in conversions, the campaign must be properly configured. A proper selection of rates per click, exclusion of unsuitable keywords, setting the cost per click for particular devices, locations, and times of the day will require time.

Google Ads performs well in seasonal services, allowing fast update of adverts during promotions/sales. The campaign can be suspended at any time, and consequently, when there are no more products or when the website acts up, you can feel free to pause it. As opposed to positioning, AdWords lets you pay for clicks, which allows displaying ads for free and charging only when there is interaction with the advert. With regard to too low position of adverts, AdWords allows raising rates and in effect getting higher in the list.   

2. Virtually every website can be advertised via Google Ads without any modifications on it. The exceptions are websites with wrong design, sites unavailable to users, or webpages of businesses which Google prohibits in terms of advertising (e.g. alcohol, drugs or crypto currencies). When it comes to Google AdWords, you don’t need to optimize the website. It is, however, important that you take care of its quality, especially in terms of content because high advert and site quality results may guarantee lower prices per click and better positions of ads. The websites to which particular adverts are directed should be strictly related to the product/service advertised and filled with keywords which let displaying the advertisement.

3. During the term of the campaign, you can easily change the set of keywords or advert contents. The advertisement in Google AdWords is very flexible – it lets you exclude phrases which do not generate conversions or are no longer up-to-date and simultaneously allows adding new keywords fast. The contents of advertisements – similar to keywords – can be modified instantly. Thanks to the possibility of editing advertising texts, you cannot only update the message, add information about special offers or new offers, but also take an important step in optimizing the campaign. It encourages Internet users to interact with the advert via a well-selected call for action (e.g. Buy now! Call and learn more! Download a free app!). What is more, you can also change the texts that Internet users do not react to. AdWords allows you to add a few various texts under one group of advertisements, and after you have selected a suitable setting, displays the most effective ads more often. The statistics in the account panel show the number of clicks and displays per advertisement, and therefore let you identify the best clickable one.  

4. Advertising budget is flexible – it is possible to adjust the campaign budget to current demand. This feature lets you increase expenses in the important period, e.g. pre-Christmas craze, or reduce costs after the shopping frenzy. When the traffic is high, AdWords system allows spending up to 200% of the daily budget (reducing it on “weaker” days in order to balance the total expenses). It is important that you remember to control how fast you spend daily funds, and supply your advertising account with cash on a regular basis. If the budget is badly adjusted, the funds may be used up too early, which will cause the adverts to vanish before the end of the day. If you fail to feed the AdWords account, your ads will be suspended until you do so. It is therefore necessary to inspect the account status regularly.

5. Cost per click (CPC) may change. When you carry out an AdWords campaign, you set the maximum price you can pay per click. Before you launch the campaign, you just know average costs per click (presented in the keywords planner). The final amount can, however, be different from the one presented by the planner due to the type of campaign and general ad quality result. CPC may also change depending on the season, interests of Internet users, quantity and competitors’ activities. You are therefore likely to raise your budget at a certain moment, if you wish to keep the previous share in displays and ad positions. Also there is a high likelihood of reducing initial expenses related to advertising – suitable campaign optimization results in high ad quality results, which translates into lower CPC rates. Lower CPC will let you decrease the monthly costs of campaign or boost traffic on the website within your budget.

Summary (Krzysztof Masłowski – CEO Verseo)

So – Google Ads or SEO?

I cannot give you a straight answer. It often happens that agencies which have adwords only, claim that SEO does not work and the other way round. Every industry and business is different so it is important that you choose relevant tools. If you prioritize “instant” results, the only form of advertising is Google AdWords, but if you wish to boost the traffic and have time, you are advised to choose website positioning as an extra.

Highly reputable and highly developed companies invest to be present in paid results (Google AdWords) and natural results (positioning). The presence on the 1st page of Google search engine influences the prestige and strengthens trust of users who look for information about the service or product.

Some customers don’t click paid results, others click just adverts. Another group clicks both kinds of search results. For this reason, it is very important that you act with double force. Additionally, you have an opportunity to climb via local results and Google shopping campaigns.

Double presence in results is also additional protection to your business. When one channel fails, you can take advantage of the other, alternative.

Do you wish to learn more or need help? Mail us! We will evaluate your campaigns for free!

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Author of the article

It’s been 8 years since Maciej took his first steps in the world of marketing - especially the one related to content. So far, he has worked for politicians and the b2b and b2c industries. A fan of content marketing in the digital strategy and its influence on customer navigation and brand reputation. He is also interested in the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility and sees this topic as a springboard for the communication development of many businesses. Responsible for marketing in Verseo. In his free time Maciej reads reports from the world and scientific + sci-fi literature. :)
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