Search engine optimization is crucial to accounting firms because there are 5.6 billion searches per day. Many people are searching for your firm’s services, so accountant SEO is something you need to continue doing. However, it takes time to rank highly on Google. Today, we’re going to talk about SEO versus pay-per-click ads.
Both SEO and pay per click ads will:
- Generate traffic to your firm
- Provide targeted leads
However, search engine optimization takes longer to see results, and pay per click provides fast results.
Let’s take a look at both of these traffic-generating methods to learn which one is the right choice for your accounting firm.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) works to improve your firm’s rankings for specific search terms in the search results. For example, if you type “accounting firm in New York,” SEO can help your firm rank in the search results for these terms.
Ideally, you’ll rank on the first page of Google to generate the most traffic possible.
Through on-page, off-page, and technical SEO, it’s possible to rank for local and worldwide keywords. The leads from keyword terms are high-converting forms of traffic.
What is Pay Per Click?
Pay per click (PPC) ads are purchased on websites or search engines. For example, when you search the term in the last paragraph in Google, you’re sure to see ads from firms that aren’t ranking on the first page or two of Google.
They’re paying for this privilege. Google makes most of its money from ads, and you can pay for each time someone clicks on your website instead of ranking organically in Google for free.
Roughly 2-in-3 businesses use PPC campaigns to land new clients. Your firm should use PPC, too.
SEO versus Pay Per Click Ads
SEO and PPC ads are two great ways to land new clients, but there are major pros and cons to each that you ought to know.
Pros of SEO
SEO campaigns can help your firm attract potential leads in all stages of the buying cycle. For example, you can target people:
- Researching tax preparation basics
- Wanting to hire an accountant
- Comparing accounting firms
- Interested in tax planning
Through SEO, you can target very specific keywords to generate organic traffic for your firm. While you’ll likely pay for expert SEO services, PPC is typically much more expensive than search engine optimization in the long run.
SEO allows you to build and grow your brand, authority and reputation.
Cons of SEO
SEO sounds like the ticket to success (and it can be), but there are a few drawbacks and reasons why you may want to consider PPC a little further. First, SEO does require:
- Long-term commitment because you’re competing against hundreds of others, and it takes time to rank for competitive keywords.
- Content is necessary to perform SEO, so you’ll need to invest in a strong content plan.
- Variability exists, especially when Google pushes new algorithm updates. Your rankings may go up and down, but the right SEO team will work to manage this volatility for you.
Since SEO takes a lot of time to be fruitful, it’s important to consider using PPC if you need an immediate boost in site traffic.
Pay-per-click traffic is one of the fastest ways to start generating leads to your site.
Pros of PPC
PPC is the action of you paying to be listed on search engines in a designated, optimal space to encourage clicks. If you have the marketing budget or are just building your firm, PPC can provide you with fast results.
If you pay for each click, you’ll remain at the top of the search results almost instantly.
Additionally, you benefit from an:
- Optimal position in the search results above even the organic results
- Easy option to refine your audience using filters to target specific people or groups
In fact, search ads can increase business awareness by as much as 80%, according to one report.
However, there are also some blemishes on PPC ads, which may help you make a more informed decision on using SEO or PPC to market your firm. Due to the laser-targeting options of PPC, many firms will have their own PPC campaign while an SEO plan is being implemented.
Marketing intelligence can be learned along the way, too. The campaign will alert you to high and low competition keywords. You can use this information to find keywords to add to an SEO campaign.
Cons of PPC
PPC is very enticing because if you pay, they’ll come. However, PPC ads can be costly, and you must perform in-depth keyword research to ensure you’re targeting the proper keywords. They also require an an ad expert to manage, test, and tweak ads. PPC is a great short-term solution for firms, but it can be a major expense, too.
Firms should sit down with all stakeholders and discuss PPC marketing with them. You’ll often find that if you have the budget for it, PPC can be effective. Every $1 you spend on PPC can generate $2 in return. You will need to have a manager who will create, edit and monitor your ads to maximize your firm’s leads.
We recommend that your firm not focus too heavily on SEO versus pay per click ads and use both. Paying for each click can help you generate many leads to your site immediately, but SEO will provide leads organically.
In the long-term, SEO often provides sustained rankings for longer and cheaper, but it does take time for an SEO plan to provide results.
Using ads while your SEO campaign is in full swing will provide immediate leads while building your SEO plan. Over time, you’ll begin ranking for competitive keywords and can lower your paid advertising budget if necessary.
Do you need help with your SEO or paid advertising? Book a call with us today to discuss marketing your firm.