Investing in Internet marketing is a must for almost every business with an online presence. However, deciding whether to invest the bulk of the budget in PPC advertising or organic search engine optimisation can leave many people scratching their heads.

Both SEO and PPC have their advantages and drawbacks. Ultimately, SEO is a long term strategy. It is best thought of as an ongoing strategy that progressively improves the credibility and status of a website, allowing it to rank for more and more competitive terms as time goes on. The notion that SEO is superior to PPC because it is free is nothing short of ridiculous. You are not paying for every visit to your website but SEO takes time and (as Benjamin Franklin will tell you) time is money. That being said, it is generally considered that SEO gives a better ROI than PPC in the long term.

The great advantage that PPC advertising has over search engine optimisation is that it provides instant results. For a new online business, investing solely in SEO is not a viable option as it can take months for the listings to be established and the orders to start flowing. This is where PPC comes in. An effective pay per click campaign can generate a steady stream of targeted traffic, which is needed for all online businesses to succeed. Furthermore, using conversion tracking and the reports provided by Google analytics can show you exactly how beneficial your advertising is. Within a matter of days you can see whether investing in PPC has been worthwhile - the benefits of SEO are never as immediately apparent.

So, should you invest in SEO or PPC? Generally, the answer to this question is “both”. PPC is excellent for start up companies where natural listings are yet to mature. However, it is equally beneficial for larger long standing companies. It should be thought of as an investment rather than a cost and as long as it makes you money, there is no reason to stop using Pay Per Click advertising. With organic search engine optimisation, it can take a long time before the work pays off. However, when it does, SEO gives unbeatable long term ROI.

An important point to make is that although SEO and PPC are separate marketing strategies, they are intrinsically linked. Landing pages are a factor of quality score in PPC campaigns. This means that a search engine optimiser or web designer that edits the content on your website, can inadvertently effect the position (or actual CPC) of your PPC ads for a given keyword. Therefore, I would suggest that you have all of your Internet Marketing handled by a single company.

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