By |Published On: May 27, 2014|

Everything’s better at the top, isn’t it? You’re above the clouds, the sun shining on your face. Life’s great when you reach the top.

Especially the top of Google.

It’s the Holy Grail of online marketing—a mythical quest only a chosen few seem to achieve. Yet, those who do get over 90 percent of Google’s search traffic. So how do I get to the top of the search engines? you ask.

I answered this question on a small business forum back in 2005. While techniques have changed, the answer—surprisingly— has not:

There’s no easy answer to that question. But the simplified one is, spend time or spend money. You can either pay an expert for SEO services; or you can spend three to six months learning to do it yourself, then plan on it taking another three to six months before you begin to see results. Another alternative is pay-per-click advertising. But be careful. It’s not something to mindlessly jump into.

Confused about Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click advertising? You’re not alone. Here’s how each works.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the work that goes into getting your website to appear higher in Google’s “natural” search results:


Maybe you’re thinking you can just pay Google to put you there. You can’t. But you can pay a SEO firm for search engine optimization services to improve your search engine ranking.

Or, if you have three to six months to spare, you can learn to do it yourself.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)?

Pay-Per-Click is paid advertising that appears at the top and bottom of the search results page:


Unlike the natural listings, Google will gladly let you pay them to place you here.

That’s why it’s called “pay-per-click.” Each time someone clicks your ad to visit your website or landing page, you pay Google a predetermined amount for that click.

Many companies use firms like ours to manage their Pay-per-Click campaigns. Others choose to manage it themselves. But like SEO, the learning curve is steep.

Look before You Leap

As I said above, PPC is not something to jump mindlessly into. Setting up a campaign is not technically difficult. But running a successful one requires training and experience.

Doing it yourself or paying to have it done boils down to return-on-investment. Would you rather spend $300 a month running your own campaign and lose your shirt? Or pay $600 for management services and make another $300? It’s been said that only thing more expensive than a professional is an amateur.

Okay, we said that.


Want to Get More Tips from Haines?  Subscribe to Our Blog