SEO vs. PPC for Your Ecommerce Jewelry Brand

As the owner of an ecommerce jewelry business, you must learn to love Google and understand the basics of both SEO and PPC, since these tactics can help you connect with new customers, as long as you respect best practices – and then choose the approach that supports your goals.

In this blog post, we’ll provide a brief introduction to search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) and then share some useful information that will help you decide where to focus your efforts.

First, you should know that SEO is the process of optimizing a website so that it ranks as highly as possible in Google search engine results for relevant keywords. When a site is optimized, customers can find it easily while searching the Internet for a specific thing, like a piece of jewelry. For example, if you sell non-traditional engagement rings, then you’ll want to get your site on the first page of Google search results for query keywords like “non-traditional engagement rings” or “unusual engagement rings”. If not, the person shopping for these engagement rings may never find you, since they won’t bother to click through the second, third, and fourth pages of the search results.

As you’ve probably guessed, the main advantage of optimizing a site for search engines is that it exposes the site to consumers who may not otherwise have known about the website and business. However, it also increases the legitimacy of the brand, since users tend to trust websites that rank highly in Google. According to a trust barometer study conducted by Edelman in 2015, search engines have “become the most trusted media source for general news and information globally with traditional, hybrid, social and owned media following behind”. If you’re a relatively new jewelry brand, and consumers don’t trust you yet, then you’ll definitely want Google to “vouch” for you.

What are some things that Google takes into consideration when deciding how to display search engine results to its users? The truth is that no one except Google really knows for sure, and algorithms are frequently changing. However, search engine optimization experts do have some insights into this topic. Factors like page-loading speed, mobile friendliness, content optimized with relevant keywords, and links all affect website ranking. For a full list of factors and more complete details, check out this post from OptinMonster.

Everything related to SEO is “organic”, which means that you don’t have to pay Google to achieve a better ranking in search results. When done right, SEO gets Google to look favorably upon your site, so the algorithm pushes it higher in search engine rankings. Theoretically, SEO is free, but you’ll probably need to invest some money into making the technical changes to your website and hiring an SEO expert, if you’re not sure how to make the changes yourself.

On the other hand, PPC is paid, since it’s a type of advertising, and Google Ads is the most popular and well-known PPC system. When you choose to use Google Ads, you pay Google to display your site whenever a user searches for the keywords that you have designated in advance. For jewelry brands that are new to PPC, the pricing model can seem rather daunting, but this explanation from WordStream summarizes it well:

“users bid on keywords and pay for each click on their advertisements. Every time a search is initiated, Google digs into the pool of Ads advertisers and chooses a set of winners to appear in the valuable ad space on its search results page. The “winners” are chosen based on a combination of factors, including the quality and relevance of their keywords and ad campaigns, as well as the size of their keyword bids.”

Every time you search Google, you’re also seeing results from companies that have bid on keywords to get your attention. However, these paid results are clearly marked with the word “Ad” next to them, so users can understand the difference between organic search results and paid search results.

The advantage of PPC is that, if you’re doing it right, you’ll achieve more immediate results than with SEO, and you can get your business on the front page of Google quickly. Furthermore, you’ll have more control over your marketing message, since you can adjust the copy in PPC ads. With SEO, you have less control over how your website appears in search.

Now that you know the difference between SEO and PPC and how they can both affect your search engine marketing efforts, you may be wondering, which one should I prioritize for my jewelry brand? The answer is complicated and will vary slightly for each jewelry brand, but three major factors should be considered.

Audience

Who is your customer? The main disadvantage of PPC is that the most savvy Internet users are often more likely to avoid ads because know the difference between a paid search result and an organic one – and they have no tolerance for ads. If your customer base consists of anyone from the millennial generation or younger, then you may want to avoid PPC completely. According to this article, “A July 2015 study conducted by SEO giant, Moz, and content marketing agency, Fractl, revealed that nearly two in every three millennials use ad-blocking software.” They’re blind to PPC ads.

Furthermore, you’ll want to consider your customer’s shopping habits. If you cater mostly to Savvy Searchers (read our blog post to find out what that means), then you’ll definitely want to boost your SEO presence rather than your PPC investment, since these types of customers will spend lots of time scouring the Internet for more information about your brand and products. A PPC ad simply won’t appeal to them and satisfy their need for content, which will help them trust your brand and build a relationship with it.

Budget

Ideally, PPC will pay for itself, since one click can lead to a profitable sale. However, there’s no guarantee that PPC will work for you, especially if you’re not enlisting the help of a professional who has experience setting up PPC campaigns for e-commerce brands.

This article from Social Media Today accurately explains the costs associated with both PPC and SEO and how you should weigh them:

“PPC is a great way to generate immediate traffic and boost sales. A marketer shouldn’t doubt the potential of Pay-per-click (PPC). But the return on investment that it delivers has a shorter life span, unlike quality SEO. Suppose you spend $5,000 per month. Once your ads are live and the money is paid to Google, that budget is gone. But let’s say that you get loyal customers, subscribers, and gave your brand a much-needed exposure. It’s worth the one-time expense, no? Here’s the catch. You will need the same budget next month to attract more customers. That value that you get from this expense is limited.”

If you have the money to spend, and you want immediate gratification, then PPC may be the right choice for you. However, before you make that decision, you should truly consider the next factor: goals.

Goals

Is your goal to make sales in the short-term or to build your brand over the long term? While PPC can satisfy your need to make sales quickly, it won’t necessarily help you build relationships with your customers or retain customers for many years to come. On the other hand, SEO can help you establish your brand presence over time and earn you the customers who have taken the time to find you and choose you, of their own accord, over your competitors.

Ideally, you’d be able to invest some money in SEO, which is a wiser long-term investment, and some money in PPC, which can help you generate money quickly and get your business off the ground while you’re in the process of growing it. If your marketing budget is limited, then SEO is a wiser investment, since it will not only ensure that your site is appearing in search engine results, but it will also ensure that your site is functioning according to Google best practices. At the end of the day, the right balance of SEO vs. PPC will depend on each jewelry brand’s unique circumstances, including position in the market, goals, budget, target customer base, and more.

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