Organic SEO or PPC? What’s best for marketing?

There are many digital tools available for marketing a smaller law firm, but which can make the biggest impact?

It is a well-established fact that traditional methods of marketing are increasingly ineffective for SME law firms. A study by First4Lawyers in 2017 found companies were getting minimal returns for their investments. The conclusion that new approaches were needed was inescapable.

Having got that far, of course, is just a starting point: in a digital age when online marketing offers all sorts of new possibilities, many a firm will wonder just what the best way is to go about it. After all, there can seem a bewildering array of options, from social media management to content marketing, branding to influencers. Some beginners may also blanch at the apparent alphabet soup of terms such as SEO and PPC.

For the marketer, it is always wise to ensure they set out in detail just what the different options include, as well as some general jargon-busting.

What does the choice between organic SEO and PPC involve?

A key question when planning a marketing campaign is whether a firm needs organic content enriched with search engine optimisation (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Essentially the difference is this:

Content marketing with organic SEO is:

  • Blogs, news and other written content
  • It is ‘optimised’ to give it the best chance of appearing on the first page of search engine rankings pages
  • Optimisation includes relevant and popular keywords, relevant content, authority, the use of good images and videos, good backlinks (hyperlinks to relevant and frequently viewed external content) and more.
  • This comes about ‘organically’ with your ranking building up as you produce more well-optimised content
  • If done well, you can reach the first page of the rankings in around six months (page 1 matters because few people search beyond the first page)
  • The chief benefit is it raises awareness of your firm, its services and your story
  • There is no extra cost to it

PPC, however, works in a different way.

  • You bid for ad space on the first page of search rankings, or on a social media site
  • You pay a certain fee every time someone clicks on the ad
  • This makes it very effective for gaining leads
  • You can set a budget by limiting your spend on a daily or monthly basis
  • You still need optimised content such as relevant keywords
  • You can establish a presence on page one of the search rankings right away
  • It fits well with other marketing tools like an email marketing campaign to follow up PPC leads

How can you make the best choice between organic and PPC?

Deciding on the best option in a campaign depends on priorities. Organic SEO is ideal if you have a smaller budget, regard awareness as a high priority and are not in a huge hurry to bring in new custom. PPC is ideal for bringing in leads, but you need to have sufficient funds available for a good campaign.

For this reason, companies choosing organic SEO are likely to be:

  • New firms with little profile or brand recognition, who need awareness
  • Have limited budgets
  • Not in a rush

Those using PPC, however, will have a larger budget, and are either new firms keen to hit the ground running, or more established firms looking for a fresh boost.

Can you use both?

Of course, there is always the option of combining both tools. One way this can work for a firm with a small or non-existent online presence to start with is through using PPC to gain leads at an early stage, while at the same time gradually building up SEO ranking. That way, the PPC budget can be focused on the first six months and then organic SEO can be the primary tool thereafter.

How can BeUniqueness help?

At BeUniqueness, we know every firm is different and their needs vary. The fact that different options exist and can be used individually or together in different ways shows that, whatever a firm’s marketing needs, there is a combination out there that will be just right to provide the best returns on investment. We can help firms do just that.

See also: How to get the best marketing return for a limited budget