Traffic from search engines can be a significant source of leads to your website, which is why getting on the first page of Google should be a priority.

That being said, there is a lot of incorrect information readily available when it comes to search engine optimization. At Dolleren Designs, I often talk with clients who have a goal of being ranked very well in Google but are unaware what exactly it takes to get there.

When organizations come to me asking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They often have preconceived ideas about what that means. Sometimes they think that scattering a few links around the internet will do the job. Often times they don’t understand that SEO can be an expensive time-consuming process involving external factors as well as on-site factors.

When we get to the root of the question, what most organizations really want is simply targeted website traffic.

There are two ways to bring traffic to your website from Google. One method is to optimize your website for organic search. The other is to use Google AdWords.

Organic SEO refers to the listings in the main area of Google’s search results. These listings are displayed based on Google’s natural forever changing algorithm. These listings cannot be paid for but can be targeted through content and external factors (Social Media, External Links, etc).

AdWords is Google’s advertising program. AdWords listings show up at the top and on the side of Google search results and will typically appear in yellow at the top and in small boxes on the right-hand side. These are listings that can be paid for directly through Google’s advertising program. The nice thing about Google’s AdWords program is that you only pay for direct leads to your website. The only time money is deducted from your account is when someone actually clicks on the ad and visits your website.

So which method is better for your organization?

It really depends on a number of things. One factor to consider is the actual product or service that you sell. Organic SEO is typically an expensive and time-consuming process. Though it can lead to a significant payoff and excellent ROI, organic SEO will typically require a monthly investment to make sure your content stays on top. If organic SEO is done in-house, it often requires many hours of careful planning, analysis, and labor. Either way it’s a significant investment. If the product or service sold has a high-dollar individual sale price, organic SEO might be worth it. For example if you sell jewelry, legal services, laser eye surgery, or vacuum dehydrators, then you don’t need very many additional web leads to see a positive ROI from your campaign. However, if you sell five dollar widgets, then the volume needed to see a positive return may not be worth it when compared to the efforts invested in organic SEO.

Additionally, organic SEO takes time to bear fruit. It’s not uncommon for an organic campaign to start delivering results only after six months (or more) of hard work. An organic campaign is a marathon, not a sprint.

The AdWords program, on the other hand, has some distinct advantages of its own. An AdWords campaign can be up and running in 24 hours. Additionally it can be started with a much lower budget. For this reason, AdWords can be an excellent program for smaller organizations or companies with a lower-ticket sale. AdWords is also a very nimble program. It allows advertisers to quickly tweak, experiment with, and optimize campaigns on-the-fly.

This can also make it a valuable program for short-term campaigns or for companies with a lower advertising budget.

So what next?

For Organic SEO it’s important to start off your website correctly, build the content on your website around searched terms. Remember that Organic SEO takes a lot of time, and a lot of work.

If your company is on the smaller side, has a more limited starting budget, and would like to see results very quickly, Google’s AdWords program can work very well, make sure to brush up on the best adwords tactics first though!

by Britt Dolleren | Multimedia Designer for Dolleren Designs