SEO vs. PPC: The Best Tactic for Local Businesses (Part I).

Posted on 20. Sep, 2009 by in All Local Search Posts, Optimization, Pay-Per-Click, Websites


The business of Search Engine Marketing consists of two basic practices; Search Engine Optimization(“SEO”) and Pay-Per-Click (“PPC”) advertising. Which tactic is best for local businesses?

This has been one of the most debated issues between Internet Marketers. Some of the more popular claims and accusations include “PPC is expensive, SEO drives free traffic” and “SEO involves tricking the search engines for higher ranking – it’s not ethical”. I’m going to take the high-road here (sorry, I don’t like controversy): a combination of both SEO and PPC, if executed correctly, is the most effective strategy for bussinesses interested in increasing their local online visibility. Let’s start with SEO… 

Generally, SEO projects target several of your most critical keywords. These could include a product, service or brand, and for local businesses most often includes a geo-modifier (ex: “chicago local movers” or “miami auto repair”). SEO also typically targets one search engine, usually Google – but results now often carry to Yahoo! and Bing over time.

It could take at three or more months to see results – and of course there can never be any guarantee, as we are all at the mercy of the almighty algorythum. If you EVER receive a solicitation that includes the word “guarantee”, be very, very careful! 

Costs vary based on your business, geographic location, keyword and competition. Generally the range is between $3,000 and $10,000. – fee’s are usually paid up-front. Here’s a helpful article discussing this topic further.

A true SEO effort can be complicated, and is usually best when left to the experts. Some of the factors and considerations are illustrated in the chart below, but there are some proactive do-it-yourself steps that can be completed on your own. These include: 

  1. Local Search Engine inclusion. Specifically, Google Maps and Yahoo! Local. Claim your listings and complete your profiles, and it’s free!   
  2. Get registered and linked from local sites. For example; the local Chamber of Commerce, local newspaper publisher sites and any local blog or directory. The more the better.
  3. Internet Yellow Pages & Directories. Your local directories and Internet yellow pages sites often provide free listings and links, and the bonus is they attract local ready-to-buy consumers. Additionally, paid advertising on these sites usually deliver strong return-on-investment. Larger Directories and Databases that carry high PageRank should also be addressed.  
  4. Social networking, blogs, press releases and video options should be considered.
  5. Give your site a quick “check-up” using some of many free, online SEO tools. One in particular that is helpful can be found at

SEO Factors

Part II of this post will address the PPC side…

3 Responses to “SEO vs. PPC: The Best Tactic for Local Businesses (Part I).”

  1. Karen 6 November 2009 at 6:33 am #

    Great post some really good info Thanks

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