Search: Walking Google's Highwire
Search continues to evolve and marketers must adapt to gain the greatest rewards and competitive advantages. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) are both key components of the online marketer's tactical arsenal; however, balancing the use of these two essential tactics remains a challenge.
The basic blocking and tackling stays the same, but savvy marketers must leverage the unique and evolving differences in each tactic.
SEO is a process whereby the visibility of the website in the unpaid results of search engines is affected through activities and actions that optimize for how search engines rank pages and search engine users search. The content, code and even design of the site, and how each interacts with the search engine's algorithms, can play a role in the success or failure of your SEO program. There are a lot of moving parts, and it is time-consuming and requires patience. The marketer must also monitor and respond, as needed, to continuous changes in the search algorithms.
PPC is more direct and immediate. Advertisers pay the search engines to display their content and the traffic follows. The marketer must optimize response and performance.
Both tactics are powerful vehicles for bringing prospects to the site. The line from the Kenny Rogers song "The Gambler" applies to both: "If you're gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right." Marketers must learn how to make SEO and PPC work together most efficiently and effectively within the constantly evolving search ecosystem.
In the end, the marketer's success will be measured against business goals. So, no matter how the traffic is brought to the site, unless the visitor is enticed to take some requisite action, the tactical execution will be a failure. Marketers must not get lost in the tactics, but instead focus on the results.