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Search Engine Optimization or Google Adwords Marketing? Which is better for local businesses?

In this video I cover some of the key considerations to choose whether a Search Engine Optimization or Google Adwords Marketing campaign is best suited to your business based on your objectives, timeline and budget.


Hey guys. Calin Yablonski here from Local Academy. Thanks so much for taking some time to check out this video. I hope you find it valuable.

Today I’m going to talk about search engine optimization and Google AdWords marketing and how you as a local business owner can determine which one of these services is actually the best fit for your business at this point in time. So, without any further ado, let’s jump in.

One thing I did want to go through before walking you through my process was to just identify exactly what we’re talking about when we’re looking at a search result. This may be really basic for some people and if you’re new to search engine optimization and search engine marketing, this may be a nice little refresh.

For starters, at the top and across the right-hand side bard, those are actually Google AdWords search ads. As a business owner, you could pay Google a small fee every time somebody clicks on your ad. It’s a technique or a service that’s called pay per click or PPC marketing.

The second thing is what we would consider search engine optimization or, more specifically, local search engine optimization. These are going to be the items that get your business into Google’s Map, as we can see in the top right corner, as well as into Google’s local search results.

These are the search results that typically have local businesses. Businesses with a brick and mortar location in the city in which they serve as well as their business name, a little pin marker and their business’s address and telephone number.

That’s a high level overview of what we’re looking at from a local business’s perspective when we’re talking about search engine optimization in Google AdWords marketing.

Okay, so now let’s jump into the meat and potatoes. When I’m looking at a local business there are three key considerations or three key questions that I’m going to ask to try and develop a better understanding of the service that’s best suited to that business.

The three things that you need to know are what are the objectives? As a local business, what are your objectives for running a search marketing campaign? The second item that you need to know is what are the timelines that you’re working with? Is this something that needs to be in market over the next few weeks or do you have a longer term time horizon that you’re working with?

The third consideration is what is your budget? In a lot of cases, local business owners will come to a search engine optimization or digital marketing company and request what the budget should be. But I highly recommend that if you’re going to engage a search marketing company, come to them with a budget in mind before you actually request their services.

Those are the three items. Now I’m going to break them down into their core components and parts ant talk about them in a little bit more detail.

Let’s start with objectives. When you’re running a digital marketing campaign you’re typically going to have an objective that falls into one of these four buckets, loosely speaking. It could be to generate sales or do some type of lead generation.

It could be to generate brand awareness, especially if you’re a new business. It could be to advertise your promotions or potentially generate sign ups for your newsletter list or to promote pieces of content that you have on your website such as e-Books or white papers.

Now, the reason that this is so important to identify at the beginning of the process is that each one of these objectives is best suited for one service offering over another. Some of which are search engine marketing services, some of which are actually better suited to something like a newsletter marketing campaign or even potentially a social media campaign.

For example, sales and lead generation. That’s a really great objective if you are looking to run a search engine optimization or a Google AdWords campaign because both of those campaigns are going to generate additional traffic to your website which you then have an opportunity to convert into a customer.

Something like brand awareness, on the other hand, is not a great service for search engine optimization alone, especially if you’re trying to get the word out about a new business and you don’t have a long term time horizon to do that. Something like Google AdWords where there’s an immediacy to this service where you can pay that small fee and have your ads online almost instantly is typically a better fit.

One thing that I haven’t talked about is that within Google AdWords you also have the opportunity to advertise your ads on what’s called Google’s Display Network. That’s a network of blogs, media websites all across the world that allow you to show banner ads on the same cost per click or pay per click bases.

Something like promotions is a really interesting one because, again, it’s really difficult to run a promotions based search engine optimization campaign because you don’t know, as a business owner or even as a digital marketing consultant, exactly when your webpage is going to be indexed and displaying in Google search results. Something like Google AdWords is likely a much better fit for promotions as well as running something like a paid social media campaign.

The last item that we have is sign ups. Sign ups is a good fit for something like search engine optimization and it’s also a good fit for something like Google AdWords. That’s because with search engine optimization you could have your page show up highly in the search results and use that to drive traffic to your website, but you could also, on a pay per click basis, drive traffic to that webpage from something like Google AdWords search ads.

That’s a quick overview of how you can think about or start to think about how your objectives will mesh with the service that you are ultimately going to be purchasing.

Now, the next consideration that you have to take into account is your timeline. A little analogy that I like to use is that search engine optimization is a marathon whereas Google AdWords is a sprint.

Running a search engine optimization campaign you can typically expect it to take somewhere between three and nine months before you start to generate tangible results from that campaign. When I say tangible results I mean it will be three to nine months before you starts ranking higher in Google search results and actually starts driving traffic to your website.

On the flip side, you have something like Google AdWords and Google AdWords because it operates on a pay per click or a cost per click basis, as soon as you pay Google a fee, your ads will now start appearing in the search results. Immediately, you’ll start driving traffic to your website.

Last but not the least, we have your budget. When considering your budget and the service that you’re ultimately going to purchase, you have to look at the associated fees with each one of the service offerings.

On the screen you’ll see that I have a few numbers listed there. For search engine optimization typically, you’re going to see a monthly budget, so a retainer, in the $750 to $3,000 per month range.

This is a tough thing because there’s a huge discrepancy, obviously there, between $750 and $3,000 per month. The reason for that discrepancy typically comes down to what is included in the search engine optimization service or search engine optimization package that the firm or the company is offering.

Some companies will offer blogging and content marketing services as part of their package. Others will provide social media marketing management services as well as things like link building and onsite optimization and custom reporting as part of their service offering.

As you can see with Google AdWords on the other hand, you can typically start, I would suggest, in the $500 per month range and that gives you enough budget to more or less test the waters and drive some traffic to your website. The beautiful part with Google AdWords is also that that budget can scale.

The more money that you pay to Google for your media buy, the more traffic you’re ultimately going to drive to your website. That goes back again to that pay per click model where you only pay for your ads when somebody clicks on it, but every time they do, you’re going to pay a little fee to Google.

I hope you found this quick video useful. If you do happen to have any questions, please feel free to tweet me at @calindaniel or you can visit our website, www.localacademy.co for more tutorials, articles and information on how to market your local business online.

Thanks again for watching and I’ll catch you again soon.

Calin is the founder and lead strategist at Inbound Interactive. He is responsible for the development and execution of Inbound's search marketing strategies.

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