The great advantage of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is that the results are nearly instantaneous.
You can engage in a PPC campaign in the morning and refine the campaign based on stats in the afternoon. You can know very quickly if you are making more money than you’re spending – or vice versa.
As long as you are making money, all is wonderful. But, it would not be unusual to find that you begin a PPC campaign by losing money and will need to burn through some amount of cash in the testing and refinement process to determine if you really can make money or not, with PPC, for your given product/service and market.
Of course the irresistible allure of generating traffic via search engine optimization (SEO) is that you don’t have to buy the traffic at all. And the downside to SEO is that the results are not as immediate and not as exactly quantifiable.
Two Primary Criteria for Estimating SEO Results
1) Competitiveness of the Market
2) Age of the Domain
If the market is really competitive, then it can take a while before satisfying results are realized. On the other hand, if you are optimizing a website for a specialized niche market with nominal competition, then it is much easier to push a website up the search rankings.
An older domain has more search authority than a new one, so if you are working with a brand new domain, you’ve got a tougher battle ahead of you. When dealing with a brand new domain, it may take at least three months, but often closer to six to nine months, to gain the necessary “trust” for rankings for broad competitive terms. With a more established domain, you should start seeing results much faster.
Further, if you are optimizing a website for a brand name that is well established in an industry, then the opportunities for higher rankings will be more readily translated at a faster rate.
The main point to respect is that SEO is not as immediately satisfying as PPC, in terms of results, and it’s difficult to accurately assess how quickly SEO work can be translated into profit. However, the advantage is that once your traffic increases as a result of your SEO activities, the traffic continues. And of course with PPC, your traffic only continues while you’re paying for it.
In an ideal world, you would incorporate both an SEO and a PPC strategy into your marketing efforts.