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Which Comes First? Online Ad Buys or SEO?

When embarking on the development of an internet marketing strategy, many practices find themselves confronted with so many options it is impossible to decide which to address first. I believe that the “which comes first” conundrum can be alleviated by understanding two basic premises:

Ad Buys Gives You Immediate Impact

Online Ad Buys can include a pay-per-click strategy (Google AdWords), banner advertisements, business directories (YellowPages or industry specific portals), ad placement through social media, and much much more. The advantage of purchasing ads is that your impact is immediate. Typically your ad can be up and running, targeting the patients seeking your services, in a few days time.

Search Engine Optimization Takes Time

Search Engine Optimization or positioning within the organic listings can take 6 to 8 months and in some instances longer to see your website listed on the first page of the search results. Some of the factors that contribute to the variance in this timeline are: domain longevity (how long has your website been online with this specific domain?), competition in the local marketplace and the number of quality inbound links that are produced by your SEO team.

And the Answer Is…

Depending on your budget and the “going rate” of your preferred ad buys, jump starting your strategy with immediate targeted traffic can augment your return on investment in order to recoup your initial foundational marketing expenses. I would not, however, recommend substituting search engine optimization with a dedicated ad campaign. In the end, at this time, SEO will provide significantly more leads than most of your ad purchases combined.

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