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SEO Vs. AdWords: Which One Should You Use?

shutterstock_240419875Anyone who doubts the tremendous impact of the digital revolution should just look at Wal-Mart. Amazon is hurting the retail giant so badly that Wal-Mart no longer carries the Kindle. Online retail and online marketing are the future of global commerce. However, it’s difficult to pinpoint the best strategy for finding customers on the web.

SEO vs AdWords: Define SEO

Search engine optimization refers to a bevy of strategies used to increase a site’s listing on Google. Sites that appear higher on a search engine results page will draw far more web traffic. Someone who’s locked out isn’t going to scan through hundreds of results. Google first introduced their Penguin Algorithm as a means of punishing webmasters who overused keywords in their content. Since then, a virtual arms race has begun to be seen atop Google’s (and Bing’s and Yahoo’s) search engines. However, Google has counteracted SEO with its own innovative advertising platform.

What is AdWords

If you search Google for virtually any type of product, (from lift chairs to fishing poles) you’ll see two or three AdWords ads, before you see the sites that are optimized to be first. The AdWords ads are posted next to an inconspicuous yellow box that reads “Ad” in small white letters. By using AdWords platform, retailers can place themselves ahead of more properly optimized sites. Google is taking a cut of the SEO company’s revenue, but is AdWords really better for your business?

There are advantages and disadvantages to using each service. AdWords shows results higher on Google, but optimized sites will still show higher on Bing and Yahoo. They use similar algorithms that of Google, and they don’t show AdWords ads. Unfortunately, another company can spend more money than you have and move you further down the rankings. Trying to stay on top seems like fighting a losing battle. With AdWords, you’re not as visible, but you’re paying for s top spot. With SEO, you’re paying for better results. You may not even reach the first page of the results. Going from 100th to 84th isn’t going to help you much. Google is used for more than 68% of web searches, leaving Bing and Yahoo with an average of 16% each. AdWords guarantees that you’ll be seen by lots of people while SEO can not. AdWords is also pay-per-click (PPC) so you’re only charged when someone clicks your ad.

There’s nothing wrong with investing in both AdWords and search engine optimization. In fact using both techniques is the best strategy for getting maximum exposure.However, AdWords is definitely the best way to go if you’re only going to choose one.