SEO vs. PPC Which is Right for You?



In the digital marketing landscape there are many different options to ensure your hotel website is visible to potential guests. When marketing your website through search engines you can attract a wide variety of potential visitors, all at different stages of making a purchasing decision. The goal of any search engine marketing strategy is to find ways to target visitors at a particular point of this travel journey, to give you the opportunity to attract qualified and interested guests.

Millions of people visit search engines every day to try and find information to make a buying decision. There are two ways you can take advantage of this to ensure search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo are bringing visitors to your website. Organic search, commonly known as SEO, is the art and science of optimizing your content to fit within what search engines look for in specific queries. Paid Search, also known as PPC, is the strategic development and bidding of ads with the goal of appearing at the top of specific queries. When planning out a marketing strategy you should ideally be working with both, as their influence allows for a robust, and fully optimized search engine marketing strategy.

What Are The Differences

Before determining your best course of action for a search engine marketing strategy, it is vital to understand the key differences between the two fields of SEO and PPC. Both can provide extraordinary results from search engines but they go about this in unique ways. This can allow you to determine where your priorities should lie when figuring out your marketing strategy.

How SEO Drives Success

The primary factors of a robust SEO strategy are the quality of your content and the links pointing into and throughout your website. In general, how well or poorly you rank in search engines are entirely determined by that engine’s algorithms. Developers often update the code that search engines use in a constant effort to eliminate spam and improve search engine results. Because of these updates, different factors of your page can create more or less authority for your site, leading to changes in your rankings. It is important to stay up to date on SEO trends to ensure your content is up to the latest standards so that your rankings do not fall.

For a website to reach its full potential in organic search it will take time and frequent updates and changes. It can take months for a new SEO strategy to see tangible results, and even longer if you did not have any sort of strategy beforehand. The benefits of SEO are solely related to the amount of time and energy you are willing to put into it.

When your website is fully SEO optimized you can see many more visitors from long-tail searches, oftentimes with significant local intent.

How PPC Drives Success

Similar to SEO, the success of a paid search campaign relies heavily on the quality of your on-page content. However, PPC success is very much determined by deliberate keyword targeting, ad spend, and the relevance of your ad copy and on-site content to those keywords. Google Ads. Your content is judged based on a quality score that judges the relevance of your website content to your targeted keywords. It does not matter how much you are willing to bid on different keywords throughout your campaigns if your website cannot be determined as relevant for those terms your ads will not appear. Alternatively, if your website is highly relevant for the terms you are targeting, you will perform better than less-relevant competitors that may be spending more (however you must still maintain a competitive spending strategy).

In short, your paid search ads are placed in an auction whenever they are able to appear. Whether or not your ad will appear is determined by your Ad Rank, a metric that is a combination of your bid, the quality of your ads, the context of the search, the expected impact of your ads, all mixed in with score thresholds that determine if your ad is eligible for the first, second, or third page of their search results.

Similar to SEO, your PPC strategy will be heavily affected by the quality of the content you produce. Unlike SEO, PPC has much more immediate effects, making the effects of any changes you implement much more apparent. Your performance is much more influenced by the efficiency of your bidding strategy and your ability to identify opportunities and take action.

Note: Many people think PPC campaigns are simply the act of purchasing the top placement in search results. This is patently untrue. The Google Ads Auction takes a variety of factors (including but not limited) to your ad spend into account.

Combining Your Strategies

Even though elements of your SEO and PPC strategy are separate, you may have noticed certain on-page factors are highly relevant to both. As you determine which service may be ideal for you, you should also consider how you can maintain good practices that will assist the other down the road. At the end of the day, the concept of content quality is what connects SEO and PPC in a way that allows you to develop a fully optimized marketing strategy.

Keyword Targeting

In order to achieve success in both SEO and PPC, you will need to conduct effective keyword research to help create content that will effectively reach your goals. You always want to look for relevant, high volume keywords to target; however, there will be unique difficulties in achieving your ranking goals.

For both SEO and PPC it is vital to consider how competitive the keyword is to rank for, and what kind of content is currently appearing in the top spot. With quality content and relevant ads, your paid search campaigns can reach that top spot, but results will be inconsistent depending on the number of searches and how much you have already spent.

You still want to find a balance between what you have an opportunity to rank for, as well as what has high search volumes. Your keyword strategy for a page should be very similar to SEO and with well-written content google will see you as more relevant. If a search engine doesn’t see you as relevant for a term at all, you will simply not rank for it. No matter how well designed and unique your site is, no matter how many links you have you will not rank organically. And no matter how much money you throw at the problem you will not rank for paid search.

Conversion Optimization

When visitors complete actions on your pages and/or remain on your website Google sees this as a strong factor no matter what. When working on a page you should ensure that visitors have ample opportunities to complete an intended action. You should consider the purpose of the page and the type of visitor attract and shape your copy to get them to do what you want them to do.

The pages driving revenue for you are your money pages and are most likely the pages where you are sending a majority of your visitors. You should be tracking the events indicating a visitor is making a purchasing decision and counting them as a conversion. This information holds significant sway in how search engines determine the quality of your website. If they can see that visitors are taking purpose-driven actions and making purchasing decisions then your website will be determined as more successful where visitors leave and continue to search about relevant topics.

Bounce Rates and Campaign Performance

The effectiveness of your website will also be judged by search engines based on your overall bounce rate. If a visitor comes to your website via a paid ad or an organic listing and immediately leaves it can lead to search engines determining your page is not valuable. This is only the case when that visitor returns to their results and clicks on more pages of that same SERP (an action called “pogosticking“.

It is important that you minimize interactions, where guests visit and then immediately leave your website by providing visitors with actions to take that are valuable and relevant to their experience. If your website consistently sees high bounce rates, you may want to evaluate the terms you are targeting and ranking for. It is very possible that your website can be generating traffic that is not interested in what you have to offer, and it would be wise in these situations to pivot your strategy to generate traffic that may be lower in volume, but is more likely to stay on your site and make a purchasing decision.

Alternatively, if you are gaining traffic for terms you are relevant for you can evaluate if your page is effective for that searcher’s intent. For example, if a particular question is often searched and is generating traffic for your website, ask yourself if the page is answering that effectively. When you optimize your pages to match the intent of your visitors, their behavior on your site will reflect your own value and relevance.

Combining Your Marketing Strategies

The core elements of your SEO and PPC strategies can help compliment one another in inventive and exciting ways. Ultimately, putting time and energy into making sure both elements of your strategy are fully built out and effective can turn your hotel website into a digital marketing powerhouse. By ensuring that your website is properly organized and optimized you can ensure long term success through organic growth. By utilizing those efforts with a savvy bidding strategy, you can achieve immediate success in Paid search auctions.

All of this can be difficult for one hotelier to manage. Fortunately, Blue Magnet Interactive has a dedicated team of SEO and PPC professionals to help you take your hotel to the next level of search engine marketing. Get in touch with us today and learn more about how to reach your full potential in the digital landscape.