Both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) are elements of search engine marketing (SEM), one of the tools you can use as part of your overall Internet marketing strategy to drive traffic to your website. The primary difference between SEO and PPC is that traffic coming organically from SEO is free, while traffic generated from PPC has a direct cost (as the name implies, you have to pay a fee per click).
You may wonder why anyone would pay for website traffic when it can be accomplished at no cost. The answer is twofold: SEO isn't exactly free and SEO can take a long time to produce results. Although, organic search traffic to your website is free there are costs related to acheiving a good search engine ranking. It takes many months, even years of diligent effort to achieve any kind of decent ranking. This could be done by yourself or you might need to hire SEO experts. Either way, there is a cost. On the other hand, PPC adverstising can drive traffic to your website immediately and the costs can be contained, reasonable and provide good return on investment. A good strategy is to do concurrent SEO and PPC, at least during the initial years.
Whether you choose SEO or PPC or employ both to drive traffic to your website, you will need to use carefully selected keywords to ensure your success. Using the wrong keyworrds will end up being a colossel waste of your time and money.
Keywords are the terms that people type into search engines, such as Google or Bing, when searching for an item. The objective of keyword research is to generate a large number of additional terms that are highly relevant, but non-obvious to the searched term. The key is to find related keywords that have lower competition and yet a high number of searches. You can also use a series of keywords (long-tail keywords) to reduce competition. For example, "furnace repair" is a highly competitive search term. It returns over 22 million results which means that there are at least 22 million entities trying to rank for the same term. While "furnace repair baltimore" returns 600 thousand results. It is obviously still highly competitive, but demonstrates that there is less difficulty ranking for the long-tail keywords than short-tail keywords.
The other advantage to long tail keywords is that they can target users who are further along the buyer's journey. For example, if someone searches for "men's boots" they are likely just begining to look for boots. However, if someone searches for "men's winter boots Sorel Caribou size 9" they are likely getting ready to buy.
Keyword research can be done through several different channels. This research will reveal the keywords you need to use to bring the right visitors to your website. Below are some recommendations:
The Google Keyword Planner tool is likely the most popular keyword research tool. It’s free and it's directly integrated with Google AdWords. To use it you need to have an AdWords account.
- Features: The biggest feature of the Keyword Planner tool is the rich information it offers on the largest of all search engines, Google.
- Limitations: It doesn't provide insight into how your site or a given keywords are doing on other search engines.
Pro tip: Start with Google Keyword Planner. It's a good, basic tool for the early stages of a website’s SEO. If you need a more detailed analysis, you might want a more advanced tool.
Neil Patel's Übersuggest can get suggestions either from regular Web search or from search verticals like shopping, news or video.
This platform allows you to cherry-pick the best keywords from over 95 million search engine keywords.
Their free keyword tool is powered by WordTracker (but lacks their additional keyword research features).
If you would like some help in determing what keywords you should target please get in touch with us. We would be happy to give you a free 30-minute consultation: