The Sarky Type – content with more bite

SEO vs PPC. Do you have to pick one? Can you choose both?

I hate making choices, especially when the options provided will give me the same outcome. Like taking crystal meth or crack, I’m still going to feel that soaring hit of dopamine eventually.

Disclaimer: I don’t do drugs and I do not condone the doing of drugs.

Something weird went down recently (I say recently, weird happenings are increasingly more commonplace).

An online conversation escalated pretty quick (I know, that NEVER happens). The vitriolic bite-backs from my antagonist were unexpected, and you might agree, particularly when you consider the subject matter: SEO vs PPC.

I know, what madness is this?

Looking back, the conversation (it was more of a rant on this person’s part) was pretty funny because it was ridiculous. And it’s inspired me to write this useful post. Do you realise what I go through for you? You’re so damn lucky!

Wait, what is SEO and PPC?

For those of you totally in the dark, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the organic way to getting website traffic, or the free way (well, unless you think your time is free). PPC (Pay Per Click) is the paid ads route.

This belligerent private message convo with ‘man on internet’ was also pretty frustrating.

Here he was, telling me how SEO “doesn’t work”. This dude was mansplaining in the true sense of the word. He was schooling me on a subject I knew pretty well, and one that he admitted, knew nothing about.

Bonkers.

Because let me tell you friends if he understood even the rudiments of SEO, if he’d bothered to look on Google, he’d know that SEO is kind of a big deal.

He’d also know that this combat between SEO and PPC is imagined, and not one digital marketer would agree it exists.

Both methods live alongside each other because they offer different things. So before you say shit like this:

“I get piles of cash from paid advertising. You’d be better off telling your punters which paid options to go for.”

Or my favourite: 

“I can treat every day like it’s Saturday. Why? Paid ads.”

And finally:

“Organic SEO is how no one sees your stuff. Organic or paid? Hmmm… let’s go with paid.”

By the way, “Organic SEO” isn’t a thing. It’s not cheese. “Ooh let’s get some Organic, outdoor reared SEO as a treat. That would be like saying ‘SEO SEO’.

I couldn’t be arsed to argue (very unlike me) because sometimes, just sometimes there are better things to do like pull your frontal lobe through your nostrils.

SEO or PPC?

SEO vs PPC

Ok, let’s play that game, just for a moment. 

The short answer: it depends on what your goals are. 

Both approaches can and do work together. Let’s suppose you take your SEO very seriously but you have a product to sell, for a set period of time. You create an ad for that product and voila!

But focusing only on paid ads, without knowing your markets’ search behaviours could be money down the drain.

Eh?

Well, users are searching on Google with different kinds of intent

If Lucy wants nipple clamps, she’s looking on the web with transactional intent (intent to buy). PPC, in this scenario, is a great option. Getting in front of your customers quick, with a tailored, precision-focused ad, makes bloody sense. 

And Lucy gets the thing she wants, sore nipples probably. 

But if Lucy is keen to know how to reduce nipple chafing, she’s looking on Google with informational intent (intent to find answers to a problem) and a paid link with that information will likely be avoided. 

Why?

Because we TRUST organic links more.

We actively avoid the paid ads. Especially when we’re seeking information. We (rightly or wrongly) assume organic website links contain trustworthy content. Ads make us feel icky so we leave them alone.

I know I don’t like them and that was long before I got into SEO content writing.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with a paid ad, they have their place.

And SEO takes its sweet-ass time to yield results so a new business might rely on PPC to speed the process up but it will be for nothing if they don’t have an SEO strategy to fall back on.

A website cannot survive on PPC alone

Neglecting SEO is an FBI (Fucking Bad Idea).

If you don’t bother with organic reach and only favour PPC it’s because, like ‘man on internet’ you have no idea what it means. SEO should be something you do for your overall, site health.

The traffic you gain from targeted ads will dry up, and unless you’re going to keep ploughing money into them – all the damn time, you’ll have nothing sustainable.

SEO is a huge industry for a reason.

We LOVE the taste of organic

We do, around 70% more, that’s huge. 

“Organic links have 20 times more traffic potential than PPC on mobiles and desktops.”

Moz

SEO is my kind of sexy.

No, it isn’t tall and Scandinavian but like the A40 around 3 pm, it builds more traffic over time. 

Unlike the short term gain of PPC, SEO brings forth traffic for much longer. Just like blogging, SEO is the long game to attraction. Building a website full of relevant, beautiful, trustworthy content takes more effort but it pays long term.

Guess what, nothing is free

Even love comes at a price, so don’t start giving me a list of things that are, on the face of it, free.

You’re going to need to pay, one way or the other. A small fortune on regular ads or invest time, building your websites’ SEO. But avoiding SEO isn’t a choice you should be making so don’t be like ‘man on internet’ and think it’s one or the other.

If you can’t get enough of me, see how we can work together.

There are different types of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for everything you publish online.

Most things in life are rarely straightforward.

SEO is sort of the same. It’s an area of marketing that has different aspects to it. You might want to find out about those aspects before booking someone for something you don’t know much or anything about.

I often get DMs that go something like this:

“I notice you do SEO. I really need someone to audit my website”

Just hold up there partner, you’ve misunderstood my occupation. Either I’m really bad at marketing my business, or you’re really bad at reading. I do offer a Website Review but it’s not the kind of thing you’re thinking of. 

For those in doubt, I’m not a technical SEO. Nothing in my spiel says I tinker with the arse-end of websites. I’m an SEO content writer, that’s it. In all honesty, this misunderstanding doesn’t happen often. Most of you lovely lot know what it is I do.

SEO is a broad church.

It has many denominations so if this is you: 

“I want an SEO guy”

I suggest you’ve not grasped what it means to want, an SEO guy. You’ve heard people making noises around the subject, so you think it’s something you should invest in.

And you should but you should know WHY first.

SEO is about being seen by your target market

So, you want to be visible. Sadly, there isn’t an ‘enable SEO’ button on your website. Nothing in life is that easy and if someone says it is (and they suggest all it takes is a plugin) run for the fucking hills. This is a long-winded way of saying, there isn’t just one thing to do.

So let’s av a look at some of the different types of SEO shall we.

1. Content 

This baby is so important it gets its own subcategory.

When I’m not thinking of Michael Fassbender in that scene from Shame, content SEO is always on my mind – it’s my thang. Content is also pretty broad, and it literally refers to anything you dump on your site pages. So, video, images, and text. It’s all about optimising your content for some Uptown Top Ranking (thank you Anthea & Donna for that reference). And how do we do that? We create engaging, brilliant, compelling, on-brand content for your desired humans to consume.

2. On-page 

I’m a copywriter but I have my fingers in a few SEO pies. One of those pies is the on-page pie.

I do love pie, sadly I no longer eat red meat and offal. Oh, how I miss steak and kidney.

This area of search engine optimisation will often deal with HTML (code) aspects of individual pages. Also, stuff like site architecture (website structure), meta tags (page snippets that show up on a Google search) and page formatting (headings and subheadings, internal/outbound links, and CTAs) are all things that an on-page SEO person will fiddle with. Is your brain hurting yet?

3. Off-page 

When you promote your website or blog on social media you’re doing some off-page SEO.

Your purpose for doing that is to drive direct traffic back to your website or a specific page. We build backlinks for the same reason. A link building strategy will target high-traffic websites that will include a link, back to your URL. So, a link to your blog for example. There are many different methods to gaining backlinks, a lot of them take time and consistent effort. Like all SEO, you need to keep it up.

4. Technical 

Hearing that word strikes fear, doesn’t it?

Technical SEOs are so mysterious. Well, they’re not, they’re usually just geeks. They like to tinker with the back-end of websites and optimising your site’s infrastructure. They’ll check out how well your permalinks (permanent link addresses) are geared for people searching for your content. They feel the need for speed (Top Gun reference) in terms of how quick your pages load, along with general site health and performance. They also keep their beady eyes on algorithm changes. What you once ranked well on, might suddenly take a dive, and you need a techie in your corner before that happens.

5. Analytics 

Those data-driven SEOs love a graph!

This is pretty self-explanatory but I do love to over-explain. This aspect of SEO is measuring a website’s performance. Using monitoring and webmaster tools (Google Analytics, Bing, SEO plugins – RankMath and Yoast) to assess and track how well a site is doing on the traffic front. Data is collected to see where improvements can be made.

6. Mobile

Most users are looking at your website on a mobile device.

That’s why you need to consider, when you design your online home, how your site performs on mobile devices. Most themes and templates will, these days, accommodate mobile and tablet view. BUT don’t presume that’s the case. Ask yourself, how often are you accessing sites via your desktop? It’s probably not that often so make sure mobile SEO is at the top of your list with any new or existing build.

7. Local

This is the kind of optimisation that focuses on a region or locality.

If you’re a shop that relies heavily on physical trade, local SEO is really key to figuring out what you need to be doing to attract that footfall. You can’t get your hair cut remotely (not yet anyway) so you need to understand how you pull in potential customers in your geographical area. That’s what local SEO is all about. Small shops and businesses likely won’t have an online store. And pubs, you have to actually visit them to buy what they’re offering because virtual beer is rubbish.

8. eCommerce

Brands like Amazon and eBay have huge, eCommerce websites.

These organisations sell tons of online goods, internationally. They will throw absolutely everything at making sure their listings show up on the SERPs (search engine results pages). Because of the massive buying potential, it stands to reason there’s an area of SEO dedicated to online shops. But it isn’t just for the big boys. If you sell stuff you offer, online, you should maybe consult an eCommerce specialist to get the best out of your website.

In conclusion.

So, SEO is about being visible and you do that by being accessible. Create simple, easy-to-follow websites and pages full to the brim with targeted, high-quality content.

I really hope this helps you understand SEO in more detail, and focuses your mind on what you need for your business. If it doesn’t, I’ve probably wasted a lot of time when I could have been watching the rest of season 11 of Grey’s Anatomy.

If you want to know more about how I can help, hit the button.

Stuff your goddamn face with the all you can E-A-T principle of SEO.

And yes, I seem to love dull subjects. Perhaps I view it as a challenge, a sort of, “how interesting/funny/rude can I make this boring topic?”. Sadly this has nothing to do with food, which is a shame because I love to eat.

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T is a Google algorithm. It relates to the stuff we dump on our website pages and here’s what it stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

And now you’re really fucking bored! Please don’t leave. This will be helpful and easy to understand. And that’s what we all want, right – easy to consume information that we can apply to our life and/or business?

If you haven’t read my blog before (firstly, you’re an arsewipe and secondly – welcome!) you might not know much about SEO content writing but the E-A-T principle is at the heart of what I write, for you, my audience, and it should be the same for you too. 

Let’s make like fräulein Maria and start at the very beginning (a very good place to start, I mean, we’re not going to do the acronym backwards – that spells T-A-E).

Expertise

You probably don’t think of yourself as an expert, so let’s think of you like this – you know shit, and that shit is about the work you do within your industry.

The more content you create about the knowledge you’ve gained, the more your website and social profiles become places to visit for certain information. People will see you as that person who does, [insert applicable title here] and that’s what you want.

Some experts have formal qualifications, others have years of lived experience (you, of course, can have both).

If someone pops a search query into Google about wanting advice on the legalities of divorcing a bastard of a husband, chances are they want the info from a family law solicitor. But let’s say they want to know about the repercussions of divorce and how it impacts family life, I put it to you they’d prefer to find a post from a person who has lived experience.

Both sources are valid and would be considered expert knowledge.

Google not only wants your content to be relevant, but it also wants it to be correct

Google sounds like a really picky bastard but it’s for your own good because it’s all about building authority and ultimately, trust. When you make a claim you want to be able to support it. You could do this by adding some anchor text that leads to an outbound link that points to a reputable source.

This plays into something known as YMOYL (Your Money Or Your Life). It’s assessing how your words/content affects your audience. If you’re selling products that promote wealth, health and happiness, you want the impact to be positive – and the claims you make, credible. What you absolutely don’t want, is to cause harm to your potential clients, and Google doesn’t want that either. A lawsuit is not your goal.

Personal brand.

I hate to sound like every other marketing wanker but we all have a brand, even if we don’t think we do. There are those among us that purposely create a brand identity, and that strengthens our expert identity… I’m sorry, a little bit of sick came into my mouth, I’m even creating my own fucking buzzwords – ‘expert identity’, christ. 

Authority

When we’re talking websites, there’s such a thing called domain authority.

That’s the ‘rank strength’ you get over a period of time. Older, more established sites rank better purely because they’ve been around longer. When you add consistent, relevant content you’ll be helping to improve and build on your domain authority. You can check out how you’re currently doing with the MOZ Domain Authority Checker

Such fun!

All this is great but what you also need is people who rate you.

Because when you have other humans that value what you do, they will recommend you, and they will cite your content. They might be good enough to pop a backlink on their (hopefully) reputable, well-established website that creates traffic to your online yard. What’s really sexy is when people who work in the same industry as you, regard you as a quality source. They look at you admiringly and think, “You are great, and you make me want to be a better man”, or something. 

Trust

We’ve touched a little on this already, but when we look at your website, we need to make sure that it’s doing certain things that make the visitor feel confident you’re not an idiot. Google likes to know the author of your content (nosey bastard – like they don’t know that already). If you’re the sole content creator then make your About page easy to find. If you use guest bloggers, pop a little author box below each post. 

Secure site.

It amazes me how many websites are not secure. You should have a locked padlock symbol in the top left of your sites’ URL, if it reads ‘Not Secure’ that will impact negatively and people will lose a little trust along the way. If you take payments on your site you better bloody sort that out – you need to look at fixing your SSL Certificate.

GDPR.

Complying with the correct data protection standards is also, a must. We are all collecting personal data and we need to be clear on how we’re using it. Enable your site’s cookie pop-up, even better, tailor it to your requirements. Think about adding your terms of service and a privacy policy to your site’s footer.

Navigation.

Looking at our own website is hard, it’s difficult to be objective because we know them so well. Go and ask someone to test how easy it is to find information. If it’s too busy and too confusing, you’re not only losing interest but you’re losing trust.

Contact.

Google wants to see your contact information. If you don’t display your address, people feel a little twitchy and they’ll wonder why. Are you a criminal hiding from the law? This is tricky for me because I live on a boat, and I’m hiding from the law.

I talk a lot about legal stuff in this post. 

Final thoughts

How bored are you right now? If you fucked off ages ago, sorry. I do love all this stuff though, don’t ask me why. Actually do ask me, in fact, I’ll tell you why, it’s because with no technical SEO know-how you can make huge improvements to your content and ultimately your online space.

Hit the button to find out how I can help with your content.