Everyone wants more website traffic, after all it’s the driving force of all successful online businesses. But getting more traffic isn’t easy — there are all kinds of information out there, but it can be confusing to navigate the differences if you aren’t from a technical background, and like many, you can end up spinning your wheels (and wasting time and money) on strategies that won’t get you if you don’t understand key the differences.
If you’re overwhelmed with the variety of digital marketing strategies, and unsure what will work best for your business, we hope to cover the basics here. We will help you identify which of the top two digital marketing strategies (SEO and PPC) would work best for you, as well as touch on the other digital marketing tools you can use to generate more traffic for your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is the process of making your website more visible (rank) on search engines. The higher your site ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs), the more traffic you will receive from those searches.
Google and other search engines use complex algorithms that determine what websites are relevant to users’ queries, and what websites should appear at the top of their search results pages. If your website isn’t search engine optimized, it won’t be found by users searching for relevant keywords.
There are different layers to SEO – what happens on your site (on-page) and what happens off your site (off-page).
On-Page SEO Offers The Best ROI
On-page SEO refers to all of the elements within a web page that impact its ability to rank well on search engines (including text content, images, keywords, site architecture, page speed, and internal linking).
On-Page SEO has some of the most reliable ‘return on investment’ of other digital marketing techniques because it is relatively low-cost with long-term benefits, but it takes time and ongoing effort to be most effective. Although there are only so many parts of your website to initially ‘optimize’, On-Page SEO relies heavily frequently new published content.
Relevant and Memorable SEO-optimized Content is Key
One of the most important aspects of On-Page SEO is creating ongoing, fresh content such as publishing blog posts or articles. Writing high-quality articles that target the exact keywords that your potential customers use in search engines and using your products and services as the answers to their questions, can dramatically generate more leads.
In fact, 81% of businesses say that their blog content is critical in their lead generation efforts. This is best done through ongoing keyword and search term research, and then planning and publishing content geared toward that.
Off-Page SEO Shouldn't be Ignored
What happens on your website is only one part of SEO, and even if you don’t want to host a blog or frequently produce content, it’s still possible to get great results from ‘Off-Page SEO’.
Off-Page SEO is the process of optimizing everything outside of your website to build links and credibility back to your website. There are hundreds of online directories where links can be added back to your website. Ensuring you have identical business information and that the listing contains keywords, is critical in building your ‘domain authority’. This process takes a lot of time and ongoing effort, but it can pay off in consistent and predictable website traffic.
Google MyBusiness (GMB) Is The Most Effective for Local SEO
If you have a brick-and-mortar business or if you serve a local market, optimizing your Google MyBusiness page is an excellent way to get more customers into your store or to your website. You can add photos, videos and other information about your company and location, frequently asked questions, collect reviews, as well as post regular updates like you would to social media. There are some tricks to making these updates most effective, such as geotagging images and using keywords.
The goal is that when someone searches for a product or service near your business location, they will see your location on Google Maps, along with contact info, reviews and details about what you do. An optimized and regularly updated GMB page, makes a big impact on Local SEO and presents big bang-for-your-buck for small businesses.
PPC or ‘pay-per-click’ advertising is a way of paying for ad placements on different platforms, such as Google ads or Facebook ads. With PPC, you target your ads toward a specific audience and keywords and pay every time someone views or clicks on your ad. Ads can start to drive leads almost immediately but it’s important to continue to refine them, so they will become more effective over time.
Google and Facebook ads operate in very different ways, however. Google ads are typically more expensive, but usually have a better return on investment as the user is already part way down the buying journey. What that means is that they have decided they want a certain product or service and have typed that into the search engine. They have already considered making a purchase, and are now doing their initial research to find one that meets their needs.
Facebook or Instagram ads on the other hand can present good value if targeted well but are considered ‘interruption’ marketing. This means the customer wasn’t specifically looking for your product or service, and your ad must try to entice them into considering a purchase. Facebook ads can be very specifically targeted however, using custom audiences – such as people on your mailing list, those who have visited your website in the last 30 days or have specific interests.
SEO vs. PPC – Which will work better for your business?
Both methods are effective in generating more website traffic but work in very different ways. Depending on your current situation, one may work better than the other for your business. Choosing between SEO and PPC depends entirely on what you aim to accomplish, how much you’re willing to spend, how competitive your marketplace is, and how your prospective customers use the web to look for a company like yours.
SEO will work better if…
- Your budget is limited.
SEO is cheaper than other digital marketing strategies, because there isn’t ad budget on top of the service. You’ll also target people who are already interested in what you offer. Plus your marketing dollars aren’t wasted if someone accidentally clicks but is uninterested.
- You want consistent results.
If you keep up with your SEO efforts, your website will continue to rank well and improve, and won’t immediately stop getting traffic if you stop maintaining it like it will if you cut your ad budget.
- You want to build authority.
Having an authority site means being the first website that users click on whenever they want a question answered about your industry. You do this by creating original, clever content boosted by smart SEO planning.
- You have patience.
Experts say they expect results in as little as 3 months, but it can take up to 12 months depending on how competitive the niche is, which is the drawback of SEO.
PPC works better if…
- You want immediate results.
It will only take a few days to see more traffic to your website. As long as your bids are high enough to get priority placement, your ads are the first thing that users will see.
- You’re introducing a new product.
Digital ads work great for product launches. PPC can expand your reach quickly, by increasing your product’s visibility to people looking for similar or better products than the ones they’re buying.
- You’re promoting time-sensitive offers.
If you’re racing against time to market products, services or events, PPC will deliver visitors to your website who are interested in your promotions.
- You have a strong budget.
PPC works best if you have a strong budget (we recommend a minimum $500/month) to compete in your niche market place, against your biggest competitors.
Other Ways to Get Traffic
Social media is a great way to connect with people, and it’s also a great place for people to find products or services they are interested in. In fact, according to statistics from Statista, social media users spend an average of 2 hours per day on Facebook and Instagram combined. That’s a lot of potential customers!
If you’re looking for a way to get more website traffic, then building a social media presence and frequently linking back to your website is a great way. You can use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to market your products or services in a way that will appeal directly to consumers or potential customers.
Here are ways you can maximize social media to get more visitors:
- Post unique and useful content frequently.
- Reply to customer comments or repost a post they made about you and tag them.
- Use relevant hashtags. Find which hashtags are effective by searching for keywords in the social search bar, and saving a list of popular ones.
- Update the link in your bio and change a cover photo whenever you post new content on your website.
- Tag influencers who might be interested in reading your new content.
There are over 29 million Canadians who have email accounts, and 85.2% of them say that they made spontaneous purchases based off an email. In fact, email marketing has one of the strongest ‘conversion’ rates of any other digital marketing method because the audience is already ‘warm’ and has agreed to receive your businesses promotions. These customers know, and are interested in what you have to offer, so are much more likely to make a purchase than any other audience. Email marketing is also one of the most cost effective forms of marketing.
You can stay in touch with your customers by sending them regular newsletters, typically monthly. This would provide useful tips, lead them to new and blog posts, detail new products or services, or provide them with exclusive or time bound offer.
However, before getting those leads to purchase, you must first convince them to sign up to your newsletter. To do so, you need to make the signup easy —only ask them for their email addresses—, and provide something of value in return, like a coupon, limited time promotion, or download. Don’t forget to automatically subscribe customers during the checkout process on your e-commerce website, and add multiple spots to sign up throughout your website.
Convincing people to read, open, and digest email marketing requires research and creativity. Here’s what you need to do to convince people why your email newsletter is worth the click:
- Use a catchy or enticing subject line.
- Avoid anything too “salesy” since it might come across as spammy.
- Keep the subject lines short, sweet, and easy to read.
- Ensure the email content provides some kind of value and isn’t always just for sales.
- Use your personal name as the “From”. Using your company name might get your email categorized as spam; hence, people might delete it immediately.
Get All Benefits by Integrating Them
Integrating SEO, PPC, Social Media, and Email Marketing into a blended approach is recommended to really boost your business online. Each have their own uses and target audiences. You can target difficult to rank for keywords using PPC, and build ranking for easier keywords using SEO. Then you can use social media to find out what relevant topics are on everybody’s radar at the moment, then write blog content about it, and send out email marketing to draw customers back to your website to read about those topics – for example.
Knowing which approach will work better for your business will take some time and proper research on your competitors, industry, keywords and target audience. A great way to start that process is by developing a digital marketing strategy to best determine your goals.
For any of them to work, though, you need to work with an expert digital marketing agency that is up-to-date with the ever-changing SEO methods, can create effective PPC ads, and come up with attention-grabbing content for your social media and email marketing efforts. Contact us today if you are interested in boosting your business online.