We get this question a lot from our clients/potential clients, “Should I choose SEO, Adwords, or Social Media for my business?”. Let us start from the beginning and we will lay out the pro and cons of each option so those of you who read this post can get more informed decision.

Advertising is no longer limited to expensive radio or television broadcasts – which is only slightly effective at best. Today, a business with a small budget, but a creative advertising campaign, can reap much higher returns on investment than much of the traditional advertising campaigns that big companies run.

The advertising medium of the 21st century for businesses includes SEO, Google’s Adwords and social media. But which one should you choose? All three are equally popular, so choosing between these options can be a daunting task, especially for new business owners.

Below, we discuss the pros and cons to each of each advertising medium to help you determine the best fit for your business.

SEO

Search-Engine-OptimisationSEO is a great – and almost always necessary – way to advertise your business. Almost all tech-savvy businesses today have their websites optimised for search engines. The idea is simple; you set up a few highly-targeted SEO campaigns and try your best to rank for the local search terms you’re targeting for i.e. Sydney plumbing services.

Pros

The great thing about SEO is that it gives your business a passive stream of traffic once you get to the top position. Plus, it gives your business more credibility by allowing your search results to appear on search engine giants such as Google. A passive stream of traffic is always nice and generally, once your site ranks for several keywords, other keywords related with your targeted ones will follow as well. So it’s something like a snowball effect.

Cons

You may be tempted to focus all of your efforts on SEO after reading the above. However, to get actual traffic, you have to put in much more effort than just simply building backlinks or have good on-site optimisation. In the good old days, building hundreds of backlinks a day will almost guarantee that your business takes the top spot. Today, other relevant metrics such as social media presence are also taken into consideration, making the task of running an effective SEO campaign considerably more complex and expensive.

Also, SEO is always changing. Since it relies entirely on constantly changing Google algorithms, it’s almost impossible to perfectly master the art of advertising with SEO. When an update comes along – often without warning – your website may lose rankings based on new requirements. We recommend you to look through some of Google’s updates to see how it affected businesses and how they adapted to it, chiefly dubbed “Panda” and “Hummingbird” to get a better idea about what we’re saying.

Overall, SEO is more of a long-term form of advertisement. Normally, you cannot expect a result within days or weeks of implementing SEO campaign. It takes months or even years to achieve a great result, depending on your online competition. Our advice is work towards it, but if you budget allows, don’t put all your eggs into the SEO basket. Set up quality campaigns once in a while to improve your metrics, and always expect to reap the benefits over the long term. If you have want fast, short-term results, then you should skip SEO entirely.

In the end, if you make the top 10 search results, you’re almost certain to get some decent amount of traffic and make some returns. It may take some work to stay in that ranking, but as you invest consistently, you’ll see a slow and steady return on your investments.

We offer SEO management service for businesses which need help to improve their online presence in Google. You can find out more about it in our SEO service page.

Adwords

Pay per clickAdwords is a Google service that allows you to advertise in short blurbs about your business. It shows up on sponsored pages from Google and functions based off keyword searches and cookies, primarily. With a max headline of 25 characters, a few additional lines of around 35 characters and a URL, it’s meant to be short and sweet. As one of the most “clickable” forms of digital advertising, your ad will be displayed right at the top four spots of the search results. Although this form of advertising is brief, it has taken lead of Google’s main source of income. Recently, it was revamped to be more user-friendly to mobile users. This newer format offers a bit more text options, and can be used to get your name out there in a really efficient way.

The recent Adwords Express option targets business owners by greatly simplifying the ad campaign process, and even supports businesses with no website. This also allows for a bit more content in your actual advertisement. If you’re new to online advertising, this may be a godsend.

Pros

One of the greatest advantages to Adwords is that it is (usually) instant. You don’t need to wait long periods of time in order to have your content on the web. If you want guaranteed traffic, Adwords is your best bet. Google has made it easy and streamlined, especially with Adwords Express, so it’s also a relatively simple process that most people can understand. All in all, it’s a great way to get your content out there fast. We normally recommend Adwords for new businesses so they can get traffic fast.

Cons

The only huge and immediate disadvantage in working with Adwords is that you pay per click. That means even if someone accidentally clicks on your ad with no intention to purchase, you’ll have to pay for it. This is never favourable for business, and if your Adwords are set up incorrectly, it can become something that happens regularly. Additionally, advertising on Adwords is not cheap so you’re limited by your budget.

The only other real challenge is that once your budget is up, your ads are too. It’s not as permanent as other ads. It can also take some background research in order to fully utilise the pay-per-click method. In order to keep your advertisements up-to-date and relevant, it will require some regular optimising to sync your content with what’s out there on the internet!

Overall, Adwords is very promising to skyrocket your business’s growth, especially if it’s in the early stage. If you choose to do Adwords, make sure your ad campaigns are optimised and do lots of A/B testing to find out which ads are the most relevant. This way, you’re highly to make much higher returns on investment.

We also offer our management service for businesses who would like to hand over the Ad campaign set up and implementation to us. Please click on our Google Adwords management service page here.

Social Media

social-mediaSocial media is used for so many different purposes, ranging from personal use to advertising your business. People are constantly using multiple forms of social media; it’s well known and offers a wide base. If you want your business to seem “in the loop,” or you want to engage with the public, social media is a great way to advertise.

Pros

Social media advertising can be as complex as you like it to be—you can simply create a Facebook business page and advertise there at no cost.

Some other great things that set social media apart from SEO and Adwords involve the target audience. By using social media, you can not only affect a much larger audience, but you can also directly advertise to your existing customer base at absolutely no cost.

Utilising social media can also greatly boost your business’s image. Since you interact with your customers on a more personal level, it’s a great way to give a good impression to first-time customers. You can learn their thoughts about your business, which gives you impetus to improve or change.

Impressive content is always shared. If your social media campaign is creative, people naturally like, comment, follow, or share your page. This allows your advertisements to reach the farthest ends of the world in a matter of seconds – at no cost.

Cons

The down sides to social media mirror are ironically also its pros. You are engaging with customers on a more personal level. As a dissatisfied customer, it’s easy to leave a nasty comment on your business’s Facebook page and ruin your reputation quickly.

Even though social media advertising is quick and simple to establish, it also takes time and effort to maintain it. If a customer’s negative comments aren’t immediately addressed, it could be bad news for your business, so it’s essential to have someone monitoring your social media.

If you still can’t decide which option would be best for your business, that’s okay, we are here to help. You can call us on (03) 9043 4444 or send us an email at info@projectoptima.com.