First Page Placement: Two Paths, One Result

There’s exactly one absolute law in search engine marketing: if your website doesn’t have at least one first page placements on Google, you’re not going to get enough traffic to survive. Even a 100% conversion rate won’t help you if you only get a visitor every five days.

There’s two (white-hat) ways to achieve a first page placement, and they’re both equally effective — only perhaps under different circumstances. The first, organic SEO, is slow, less expensive, more efficient, and lasts a long time. The second, pay per click marketing, is fast, more expensive, less efficient, and ends the second you stop spending money.

Organic SEO
Organic SEO is essentially the art of ‘tricking’ Google into putting your website at the top of the rankings for specific keywords. That’s accomplished through a huge variety of tricks (a complete SEO Bible would be longer than most encyclopedias) most of which involve manipulating the website itself to appear more relevant and authoritative for specific keywords (on-page SEO) or linking to the website in a way that makes the website appear more relevant and authoritative for those keywords (off-page SEO).

Organic SEO is slow because the way Google calculates authority is based, at least in part, on website age and number of incoming backlinks — and if you build too many backlinks too quickly, Google will penalize you for ‘cheating’. So it’s a process that builds up over time. That said, the cost-per-visitor once you reach the top spots is almost nothing, and the authority you’ve built take a long time to fade away.

Pay Per Click Marketing
PPC marketing is basically ‘paying Google for traffic’. All of the “sponsored links” you see when you Google something are people who are paying for PPC marketing. PPC marketing is drop-dead simple in concept and bewilderingly complex once you get into it — that’s why it’s always a good idea to hire a PPC management team to take care of the details for you — anything else is basically wasting money.

PPC is fast because the moment you get your campaign set up, the ads start appearing and people start clicking. However, you will pay at least a few cents for every visitor that comes to your website — so you’d better have the conversions and the profit-per-conversion up high enough that you can afford to do so.