In your search for online marketing for your roofing business, you’ll have heard these terms: SEO and PPC. What are they and which one works best? In our newest video, we explore this to show the pros and cons of each.

If you’d rather read than watch the video, here’s a transcript:

Hi, this is Ross Taylor of Alameda Internet Marketing and In this video, we’re going to take a look at the difference between pay-per-click advertising and Search Engine Optimization, when to do which one, which one works better, which one is going to give you better results and where should you put your marketing dollars. So let’s start off by defining what PPC and SEO is.

Well, to put it the most simplest way possible, PPC relates to pay-per-click advertising. Businesses can pay Google to get an opportunity to show in the search results at the top of the page. Now, they don’t have to pay to be found, they don’t have to pay to be seen here, they don’t pay for the impressions, they pay only for the clicks. A click can cost anywhere between 15 and 25 bucks for a roofing contract depending on where you are in the country and depending on what time of year, if maybe you just had a storm and the other guys come out and they advertise, but depending on who you’re up against, the cost can vary.

The idea behind SEO is getting your business found in the map results or in the organic search results below. You can get a click here or in the maps or wherever and it does not cost that business any money to get that click. So based on that, let’s start with why SEO is better than PPC. Reasons, well, number one would be brand awareness. It’s a great way to get your business known, get your name out there and if you are seen every time someone does a search, let’s say you’re a roofer in Denver and every time someone looks for a Denver roofer, Denver roofing contractor, roofer with insurance or whatever, and they see your business every time that search happens, that’s going to resonate with that person.

You can generate a lot of authority for your brand as well if you’re findable in organic search results. There’s a lot of people out there that just skip past the paid ads. They have internal ad blockers built in, especially the younger people and they recognize that the businesses are paying for that position and they’d rather go with the business that Google thinks is the best result so they would just bypass those paid search ads and trust more the results that are at the top of the organic search results. Now, that doesn’t mean at all that the pay-per-click ads are not getting clicked, they definitely are, it’s one of the biggest things that Google makes money off of. The perceived authority is definitely there if you’re visible in organic search results.

With organic visibility, the clicks are free. Now, it’s not free and it’s not easy to get there but once you’re there, you get free clicks. You can be the first result for a high volume keyword and get clicks all day long and it will not cost you a penny. Meanwhile, the guys who are doing the pay-per-click are spending a ton. There’s a big ongoing return on investment. During the SEO campaign and after you finished and maybe you give it a pause for a while and you’re no longer spending any effort or time on SEO, you’re going to have an ongoing return on investment.

The results are going to be long term with SEO. So what I mean by that is if you spend a lot of time working on your SEO and you’re getting ranked for relevant keywords locally, your blog posts are ranking, you’re getting more and more traffic to your site, if you suddenly decide to stop tomorrow, it’s not going to go away overnight. As your competition ramps up or just generally your content kind of gets a bit older, you will lose your ranking but for the most part, you’re going to keep that authority that you’ve worked on all that time. With pay-per-click, if you stop an advertising campaign, you flip that switch, the ads go off and you’re back where you started.

Another advantage is the competitive advantage. Let’s say you start advertising and six months to a year down the line where you start working on your SEO, there’s a competitive advantage. If you’ve put in the time like Arnold on the right and you’ve put the work in to get your site ranking in organic search and let’s say you’ve put two years in and you’re ranking well and everywhere you look online for a roofer in your town, your city, your metro, it’s inescapable that you’re there. Well, that’s great. You’ve got an advantage there, because even if the guy on the left decides, “You know what, I’m going to do this SEO thing too,” well, they’re like two to three years behind.

All that time and effort that you’ve put in, they’re not nearly going to be able to catch up. On the other hand, if you set up a pay-per-click ad, the competitor can just basically spend more and they’ll be seen right away. So SEO definitely has that advantage there where the time and effort that you’ve put in really goes a long way.

So, is SEO the winner?  Not so fast. Pay-per-click can be seen to be better than SEO. Pay-per-click is going to give you top rankings in an instant. So just like what we’re just talking about, let’s say your competitor’s been at it with SEO and they’re getting all kinds of business from organic search, that’s great. But you can come along and you can be first in the search results, at the very, very top just by putting your ads up. Google ad results will afford you something that organic search just can’t. Google has the control over what it shows in its index and search results pages.

So you may not rank for a page that you want to rank. You may not have the message that you want to get across on that page. But with pay-per-click advertising, you can send the visitor to the exact landing page you want them to see with the exact message you want them to see on it or offer or whatever. So if you’re a roofer, you’re going to have your offer for a free inspection or maybe a $500 coupon off of a new roof or something like that, maybe free gutters. So you can send someone to that page with your phone number in clear view, with just a nice precise message and a real clear call to action. Where as, an organic click might result in a page that isn’t as clear. It might be set up a bit differently or you may end up landing on an internal blog page or something like that if the site hasn’t been optimized properly. There’s a lot of work to try and get your visitors to the pages you want to get them to, even if you are ranking. But with AdWords, it’s a snap. You point them exactly where you want them to go.

Your message of your ad is also very precise. You can say in your Google ad exactly what you want to say. You can say, “We’ve got a deal happening,” or, “There’s a special going on this month only or for a limited,” or whatever you want. In that search result page, you can have all kinds of information and you get to direct within reason exactly what it says. Whereas on your Google organic results, you don’t have that same kind of freedom. Sometimes, Google will even change what you’ve set up carefully to show on the search results page. So, it’s really quite valuable to be able to direct that message and direct to that landing page.

With Google AdWords, Pay-per-click, you’ve also got, basically, guaranteed results. If your goal is traffic to your website, you can get traffic tonight. With an SEO campaign, it might take a while and this might work and different strategies are going to happen and if the competitor is just really killing it with their SEO, it might be a real struggle to get ahead but with PPC, you’re guaranteed that traffic and within reason, you’re going to be guaranteed results. If you’ve got your landing page set up right, you got your message set up right, you’re targeting the right keywords, you’re going to get leads. Now again, at a cost, but generally, you’re guaranteed results right away and you’re going to start getting traffic to your site tonight.

So which one should you go for? That’s not an easy question to answer and it really depends on your roofing company. Do you need leads tonight? Do you want to get the phone ringing right away and you’re not really worried about how you’re perceived or your position as an authority in your neighborhood, your city, your metro? If that’s the case, then pay-per-click works out. You can get started right away and start getting the clicks as long as you’ve got the budget to pay for them, you’ve got them.

With organic SEO though, the authority that comes from being ranked well in organic search really speaks volumes about your business. Once you do get the results and you are ranking at the top of search or near the top of search, you’re going to get those leads as well. So, it’s really a tough call but I would argue that a combination of the two working in tandem has the most value. If you want to talk about SEO, you want to talk about Google AdWords, I’m happy to help. You want more videos about SEO and pay-per-click and everything else for your roofing company and the world of online marketing, please subscribe below and please feel free to comment with any questions or comments that you might have.