Pay Per Click, SEO and Article Marketing: Which Method Should You Choose?

There’s no question, the three most popular ways to drive targeted traffic to your website are pay per click advertising, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and article marketing.

And if you’re on a limited budget like most marketers, you need to know the answers to the following three critical questions:

1. Which of the three methods work the best?

2. Which of the three methods should you use?

3. Which of the three methods is the most cost effective?

In this article, I’m going to answer all three of those questions and then give you my recommendation.

Lets examine the most popular of the three marketing methods first, pay per click advertising:

Pay Per Click advertising is a huge, multi-billion dollar a year industry and are huge cash cows for both Google and Yahoo .There is no faster way to drive targeted traffic to your website than with a ppc advertising campaign.

For instance, with Google Adwords, you can literally be driving targeted traffic to your website and making money in just a matter of minutes.

Does ppc advertising work? Yes and no. For some, it works extremely well. For the vast majority however, ppc advertising simply leads to frustration and money down the drain.

So, what’s the problem? Actually, there are several problems:

Inexperienced marketers who don’t have a clue about how to write ads that will enable them to get the most out of their ppc advertising campaign.

Exorbitant keyword costs.

Click fraud.

Because of the “pie in the sky” climate of Internet marketing, many marketers have a fatal get rich click” mentality, because of what they’ve read in some e-book.

They want instant gratification...that magic pill if you will!

They’re not interested in taking the time to learn how to do things the right way. So, they throw a bunch of money at a ppc ad campaign, fall flat on their face and then come away convinced that Internet marketing doesnt work and is nothing but a scam.

Exorbitant keyword costs is another huge problem. While doing research for this article, I visited Yahoo/Overture to price the popular keyword, “Internet marketing.

This is what I discovered. At the time this article was written, if you wanted the #1 position, it would cost you $2.51 per click. Ouch! Just to be listed last on the first page at #31, it would cost you 95 cents per click. Double ouch!!

Needless to say, you have to be one of the “big boys” to play over at Yahoo’s sandbox.

The keyword “Internet marketing” was much more reasonably priced over at Google. The minimum bid was only 10 cents.

That price isn’t bad. But then you have to contend with another huge problem that could potentially eat away at your profits… click fraud.

It is estimated that 30 percent of all ppc clicks are fraudulent. In fact, according to the June 28 issue of the San Jose Mercury News, both Google and Yahoo recently had to settle class action lawsuits regarding this very issue.

Google has to refund an estimated $90 million to advertisers. There is no word yet on the exact amount Yahoo has to refund, although they are liable for $4.95 million in attorneys fees alone.

When you consider the billions of dollars both companies make from their ppc programs, the settlements amount to litle more than pocket change.

Search Engine Optimization is another popular method marketers use to drive targeted traffic to their websites. Should you optimize your website? Yes, definitely. SEO does work. However, I personally don’t think you need to invest thousands of dollars in SEO. Here’s why:

With the ever-changing algorithms of search engines, you could spend big money on SEO that may put you at the very top of the search engines today, and then with one major algorithm change, you could drop completely off the charts tomorrow. (Remember Florida?)

Instead, I think you should focus on SEO basics like keyword density, title description, meta tags and acquiring plenty of inbound links.

You should also diversify your efforts to make sure you’re receiving traffic from sources other than search engines. You never want to put all of your eggs into one basket. Which brings us to our third and final marketing method:

Article Marketing: Writing articles is quickly becoming the most popular way to drive targeted traffic to your website.

The reason I like article marketing so much is because it’s free, and also because articles are viral. If you write articles and allow them to be freely published, your articles become viral, meaning your articles can actually spread like a virus and have the potential to be viewed by millions (yes millions) of Internet users.

And because search engines love articles you can expect to get linked to by many high-profile websites, thereby increasing your PR (Page Rank) and traffic as well.

There’s also another important by-product of article marketing. Credibility.

Other than testimonials from well known expert marketers, writing articles is the quickest way to establish credibility online.

If you write good, quality content, not only will your articles get published regularly, but they will also brand you as an expert in your field, which will instantly enhance your reputation and bottom line tremendously.

Don’t know how to write? No problem. Hire an affordable ghostwriter over at elance.com.

In closing, all three methods of marketing discussed in this article today work. To what degree however, will obviously depend on the experience, work ethic and ingenuity of the individual marketer.

So, which marketing method should you use?

Because it’s both free and viral, article marketing is obviously the most cost-effective of the three methods discussed here today. Therefore, article marketing should be your number one priority.

That said, I also think you should use a combination of all three marketing methods for optimum results.

However, I would caution you to spend your money prudently, in regards to ppc and SEO.

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