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PPC vs. SEO [What’s the Best Strategy for Home Builder/Developer Marketing?]

4 min and 30 sec read
In this article, you’ll learn the definitions of SEO and PPC as well as their pros and cons.

You’re an expert in creating and building beautiful homes, not in strategic marketing. Let me educate you about the similarities and differences between these two very mainstream marketing tactics for advertising: PPC and SEO. To begin, let’s quickly define PPC and SEO for you to better understand these opportunities for effective home builder marketing.


Definition of PPC

PPC is short for pay-per-click. You pay the platform, such as Google for every time a consumer clicks on your ad. The dollar amount you pay can range considerably depending on the platform and keywords. These ads can be in the form of a text ad, display ad, social media, or a retargeting ad. In other words, this means you can have a custom ad displayed on Google, YouTube, social media sites or other websites relevant to your business, depending on the type of ad.

The goal for you here, with PPC, is to grab the attention of a potential homebuyer and help lead them down the marketing funnel. You lead them down this path with the desire of them purchasing one of your homes.


Here is a quick run down of a standard PPC campaign to offer you: 

  • Decide your goals, budget, and best platform for your campaign.
  • Work with a third-party marketing or advertising firm for determining the most effective keywords for your business.
  • Create captivating, on-brand ads.
  • Set up your ads with your targeted keywords on Google Ads or another platform.
  • Pay for every time a prospect clicks on a given ad.
  • Once the click occurs, the prospect is taken to a landing page.
  • This landing page has a clear call to action (CTA). Preferably not the home page.
  • CTA’s can be a submission form to schedule a tour, a realtor’s contact information, or any other action that contributes to the goal for your campaign.
  • You definitely need to consider using an A/B Testing technique to maximize results.


Definition of SEO

SEO, on the other hand, is different than PPC in many ways. SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, the process of ranking your website high on search engine results page (SERP). Many factors contribute to your website’s ranking. For example, these factors include the quality of your site content, the user’s experience, the relevancy of the search, and many more factors.

It is important to note that PPC offers nearly instant page-one placement whereas SEO takes time to achieve results. Also, SEO is more trusted…

As a home builder desiring to participate in SEO, your goal is to organically appear on the first page of the SERP, or better yet, the top three positions. This allows your business to not only achieve higher brand awareness and impression share, but it creates a higher likelihood for prospects to find your website versus a competitor’s. In fact, organic listings receive 90% of the clicks compared to a paid result.


Here is a short list of the many proven strategies that improve your site’s SEO and ranking:

  • Publish relevant, informative articles/blogs regularly on your website.
  • Post frequently on social media platforms.
  • Make sure each one of the images on your site has alt text.
  • Make sure each one of the pages on your site has an appropriate meta-description.
  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.
  • Claim your business on Google My Business (GMB) and connect it to your website.
  • Make sure your website is secure by implementing https:// and firewall protection.
  • Ensure that each piece of content on your website offers great information, contains targeted keywords, and is relevant to the goals of your business.
  • Gain backlinks from external trusted sources and link your pages on your website internally to each other to enhance your linking strategy.

Don’t forget that a third-party marketing or SEO firm can assist you in implementing the above strategies for both SEO and PPC in a more effective manner.

So, you have just learned a plethora of strategic marketing information to better improve your home building business. I understand if you still don’t know which option to choose or where to even begin. Let me help you further by laying out the key differences between PPC and SEO as well as their pros and cons.


Key Differences between PPC and SEO:

The biggest difference between PPC and SEO is that the traffic coming from PPC is paid for and the traffic coming in from SEO is organic. Which means SEO is perceived as more trusted. Also, another difference is that an effective PPC campaign is expected to rank higher than a fully optimized post or page from SEO. In essence, this is because you are paying Google to rank high on the SERP for PPC.

Cost is yet another key difference between SEO and PPC. While SEO is considered free and optimal, there are still costs associated. For example, it’s not inexpensive to continually develop fresh content on your site, gain quality backlinks and manage your social media accounts. PPC’s cost, on the other hand, it depends on the cost per click of a specific keyword or phrase you are using in your campaign with your monthly or weekly budget.


Pros of SEO: 

There are many advantages to having a fully optimized site as well as maintaining SEO regularly. For instance, there is so much opportunity you can bring to your website with organic traffic. Recent research suggests more people click on organic listings instead of clicking on an ad listing on the SERP. Another pro to SEO is that it is cheaper to manage than PPC over time. Investing in SEO now can fuel your business for the future and provide great dividends to you as a home builder.


Pros of PPC: 

There are many advantages for PPC as well. For example, PPC is quicker to set up, incorporate granular targeting and can provide your home builder business with quick feedback as well as page-one positioning. On average, the majority of time spent on developing a PPC campaign is keyword research. Another great positive about PPC is that Google will help make your most successful ads appear more frequently than your less successful ads. It’s almost like they are on your team just like a marketing or advertising firm to enhance your business.


Cons of SEO: 

Like with all marketing strategies, there are negatives. SEO is time-consuming and is considered a marathon and not a sprint tactic. Meaning that it improves the quality of your website over time and can even strengthen with more SEO related strategies that you decide to implement. Be prepared to not see tangible results from SEO for at least 6 months to a year.


Cons of PPC: 

The cons of PPC are the opposite of those for SEO. PPC is relatively more expensive than SEO because every click costs money. PPC campaigns also tend to be more successful with more well-known brands than small business owners. This is because bigger companies tend to outbid your set of keywords. PPC is also less trusted than the organic SEO listings.

However, don’t let that deter you from participating in PPC. In fact, you can establish some of your keywords as variations of your brand name, ensuring your ad appears when someone searches for your home building company.

Unfortunately, there are many things I did not get a chance to cover in comparing and contrasting SEO and PPC in this article. Based on this article, does SEO or PPC appeal to you more?


Head over to additional articles below to learn more about these effective marketing strategies:

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Terry Zelen

About Terry Zelen

Creative Director | Consultant | Author | President of Zelen Communications

Terry Zelen is a seasoned Creative Director with more than 35 years of experience in Home Builder advertising and marketing.

He is the founder of The Punch List, which is an online blog to help inform home builders and developers on strategic marketing insights to fuel their firm.


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