SEO vs PPC: Which Is Best For SaaS Companies?


Marketing is something that all businesses need to focus on today, and SaaS companies are no different. Competition is fiercer than it ever has been for those in the SaaS sector, and marketing effectively is what is going to enable you to stand out from all of the noise.

With that being said, let’s take a look at two of the most popular marketing approaches in further detail below: PPC and SEO for SaaS companies.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In basic terms, this means using different techniques and approaches to enhance the visibility of your website on the search engine result pages. It is all about making sure that when someone searches for a SaaS business like yours on the likes of Google or Bing, your company features high up in the results.

Search engines like Google will use bots to crawl pages online, going from website to website, collecting data about the web pages and putting them into an index. After this, algorithms will assess pages in the index, taking into account many different ranking signals and factors. This helps them to determine what order web pages should feature for a given search query.

Some of the different factors that are taken into account when it comes to your search engine ranking include vital site architecture factors, like mobile-friendliness and crawlability, and content optimization elements, such as your keyword choice and the quality of your content.

Therefore, SEO for SaaS encompasses many different elements and components, which you will need to master so that you can organically progress to the top of the search engine result pages for the keywords you are trying to rank for.

Just to make matters confusing, Google changes its algorithms all of the time, and so you cannot afford to allow your SEO efforts to go stale. You need to stay up to date with everything that is going on so that you can continue to perfect your efforts.

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The importance of SEO cannot be ignored. It is a fundamental part of all SaaS marketing efforts because trillions of searches are conducted by web users on a yearly basis, and many of them tend to have commercial intent. The more visibility you have, the more likely you will make sales online and impact your bottom line as a consequence.

What Is PPC?

PPC stands for Pay Per Click. This is a form of online marketing whereby you will pay a fee whenever one of your online ads is clicked on.

As opposed to SEO, which is free and organic, PPC represents a way of purchasing site visits, rather than attempting to earn them. As you pay for every click, the thought behind this is that you are only going to be paying for website visits that come from the ad, ensuring that less money is wasted.

One of the most popular forms of PPC is search engine advertising. This gives you the ability to pay for an ad to be placed in the sponsored links section of a search engine whenever someone makes a search for a specific keyword that is related to what your business has to offer. For example, this could be “SaaS software”.

The most popular PPC advertising system is Google Ads. The Google Ads platform gives you the ability to create adverts that will appear on the Google search engine, as well as other Google properties. You will bid on keywords and then you pay every time someone clicks onto your advert.

No matter what PPC platform you use, the theory behind this approach is that paying a fee whenever someone clicks on the ad is trivial, as the visit should be worth more than the fee paid. After all, if you pay $3 for an ad click, which results in a $500 sale, it is well worth it, right? However, things can go very wrong if none of your clicks are resulting in sales. Luckily, you can set a maximum spending limit to protect yourself from going bankrupt overnight.

Advantages Of SEO

The statistics don’t lie when it comes to SEO. In fact, 89% of marketers say that they’ve been utilizing SEO quite successfully to acquire new customers.

Not only that, but organic search drives more than half of web traffic. So, what is it about SEO that makes it such a successful marketing platform?

Customers Use Search Engines

Customers use search engines to find what they are looking for. 93% of online sessions start with a search engine, and 71% of B2B customers begin their research with search.

Not only do customers use search engines, but they (quite understandably) prefer the first page results. Nearly 95% of search traffic goes to the first page of results, so you need to rank well for keywords relevant to your industry.

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Achieving that is a non-trivial process that involves creating long-form and comprehensive content, image optimization, and nailing down the technical aspects like site speed.

Focusing on SEO helps to make sure that you are ranking on the first page, rather than just leaving it to Google to index your pages.

SEO Provides High-Quality Leads

Keyword research is an integral part of SEO-focused content production. It involves working out which keywords your future customers are searching to find information related to your service or software. You can then incorporate these keywords in your content to ensure you are featuring in the results.

SEO allows you to bring high quality leads to your website through keyword research and SEO content optimisation. When a lead searches keywords related to your business, this means they are qualified and often means they are more likely to convert to being a customer.

Advantages Of PPC

Hanapin marketing states that 79% of marketers say PPC is hugely beneficial for their business. But, why? Let’s take a look.

Quick Results

PPC has the advantage that it can be set up and start showing results quickly. PPC lets you quickly cast a wide net to find new prospects and customers. If you want to see quicker gains than organic SEO provides, consider PPC.

PPC can be simple and quick to set up, as most of the work is done within the PPC advertising platform: from the research, to campaign build-out, to writing ads. Plus, PPC can be up and running with minimal involvement of your development teams, aside from help setting up conversion tracking on your lead generation pages.

Easily Measurable

PPC is easily measurable and it is possible to find out what is working well and what is not just by using the Google Ads tool and Google Analytics. Stats are readily available and show how each campaign is performing.

The benefit of this is that it is possible to work out what is a good spend of money and what is not. When clicks are driven to specific landing pages, it is possible to track it to conversion by utilising Google Analytics. You can see what was spent and what it drove in terms of your end goals.

Disadvantages Of SEO

Unlike PPC, SEO takes time to work. Google suggests that businesses give SEO between 4 and 12 months to start working and seeing improvements.

Generally, results are seen within 6 months, and results will steadily improve after that point. If you need a fast method of improving web traffic, SEO might not be the best option.

SEO Can Be Unpredictable

Google is constantly changing and updating its algorithms, meaning it is important to keep up to date with what’s going on. Due to these changes, SEO is unpredictable; one day you could be ranking at the top of the first page, and the next you might not even appear on the first page at all.

Even if your business is doing everything right, there are no guarantees with SEO.

Disadvantages Of PPC

It Can Be Expensive

Unlike SEO, PPC is not free. This often deters many small businesses or SaaS startups who do not have a budget for marketing.

The costs of PPC can easily rack up, even without guaranteeing results. Just because someone clicks on your ad (which will result in the business needing to pay for that click), it does not mean the visitor will convert and become a customer. Too many clicks without conversions can be really expensive.

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PPC Can Be Complicated

Setting up an effective PPC campaign is not simple and requires knowledge of digital marketing to get right. This means that many businesses opt to outsource this task and pay for agency help.

It is possible to learn how to set up PPC campaigns, however, this does take time and effort as it’s certainly not the easiest marketing domain to learn.

Final Words On PPC And SEO For SaaS Businesses

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of both PPC and SEO for SaaS businesses.

Both are beneficial marketing strategies, which can offer a number of different benefits to companies operating within the SaaS sector.

The manner in which you implement each approach and the weighting you give to each will depend on your business and your marketing objectives. However, having a clear understanding of what each technique can bring, as well as the potential drawbacks, is imperative.

Author Bio:

Rebecca DiCioccio is a member of the Growth team at Paperform. Outside of work, Rebecca can be found exploring the outdoors or with a book in hand. Rebecca’s background in copywriting and keen interest in SEO and digital marketing mean she understands the importance of staying up to date with the latest trends in a dynamic and ever changing industry.

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SEO vs PPC: Which Is Best For SaaS Companies? was originally published in ProofHub Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

SEO vs PPC: Which Is Best For SaaS Companies?

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