PPC vs SEO: The Pros and Cons For Recruitment Agencies

A fairly new addition to the modern recruitment marketer’s arsenal is the discussion about which online marketing tactic is more effective; pay per click (PPC) or search engine optimisation (SEO). To give you the clearest view on which investment is right for you, here are the pros and cons of PPC vs SEO.

What is the difference between PPC and SEO?

Let’s start with a clear definition of the two: PPC uses advertising programs such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads to allow you to bid on relevant keywords to enable your agency’s website pages to appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for related searches. The more competitive a keyword is, the more it will cost per click. For example, bidding on “Legal Recruitment” is approximately £2.22 per click compared to “Legal Recruitment London” at £2.45 per click.

SEO is the process of achieving a high ranking on Google and other search engines “organically” or without paying directly. This is by following SEO best practice and having a strong website domain authority within your sector. Fundamentally, the more trusted and relevant your website page is to a specific query, the more likely it is to appear at the top of Google’s SERPs.

According to Enquisite, “87% of search engine investment is spent on PPC vs 11% spent on SEO.” A natural conclusion to draw from this is that because PPC is a lot more popular, surely it is the better option to choose. But this doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Pros and Cons of PPC

Pros

Immediately drives traffic to key website pages. The moment you decide which keywords you wish to bid on and which website pages you want to drive visitors to, you can appear at the top of Google or Bing the very same day.

Hyper-targeted. By measuring how effective each keyword is at driving traffic, you can devote more budget to the keywords that drive the most conversions (which you can track through Google Analytics). As well as keywords, you can refine your PPC targeting by location, language and device. This means that if you are only interested in targeting candidates in certain geographical regions, you can increase the likelihood that a click-through will convert into a placement – thus optimising your PPC budget.

Bottom of the funnel. Paid search results are “1.5x more likely to convert click thrus from strangers into leads.” This is because you can target phrases that are much more likely, for example, to attract candidates who are ready to sign up to your agency. By bidding on the phrase “nursing jobs surrey”, you can reach people who are at the “bottom of the funnel” and therefore more likely to become a candidate and placement.

Retargeting and remarketing. An additional feature of Google AdWords is remarketing. Simply, this will show relevant ads to your past website visitors on other websites via the Display Network. To find out more about remarketing – read this in insightful blog.

Testing and measuring is simple. Google provides a number of easy-to-read metrics to allow you to measure your PPC results and make informed decisions. You can also A/B or split test different PPC ads to see which one generates better ROI. This will enable you to spend your budget as effectively as possible.

Cons

High cost. Due to the pay-per-click nature of Google AdWords, it is easy to see how having a weekly budget of just £500, which may attract between 100-300 clicks, could make a considerable dent in your overall marketing budget. For example “marketing recruitment agencies” is approximately £5.67 per click and “healthcare recruitment agencies” is £2.08. However, you can set daily and weekly allowances to make sure you don’t work through your budget too quickly.

Management and maintenance. Not only does it take time to learn how to deliver PPC campaigns effectively, if you want to make the most of it, you must monitor the results and make decisions about its value. Otherwise, you may as well be throwing your budget away.

Continuous investment. You may, initially, be pleased with the leads being generated from PPC but a simple fact about AdWords is that your spend today will only increase tomorrow. This is because the phrases you’re bidding on will only become more competitive, and therefore, more expensive.

The Pros and Cons of SEO

Pros

Free website traffic. Website traffic (or individual website visits) attracted via search engines organically doesn’t cost per click, so fundamentally, it is FREE. However, the true nature is that it does cost in time and resource both in making your website optimised for search engines and to write quality content for your website pages that rank highly in search engines.

Sustainable. Once you have valuable and relevant content, both on your website pages and in your blog posts, SEO, more or less, sustains itself.

Trust and credibility. The top organic search results command more trust and credibility because website users are aware that the top organic results are more likely to hold the answer they’re looking for – rather than selling them something. As a result of being more reliable and trustworthy, organic results are “8.5x more likely to be clicked on than paid results.

Reliable investment. Although you will usually need to invest more resource in the beginning, SEO is long-term investment in your website and will pay dividends for your online marketing and brand for years to come. It is advisable to consult SEO experts during the redevelopment of your website but you can implement SEO best practice at any time.

Low maintenance (ish). SEO is essentially built on making it easy for Google to understand your website as quickly as possible. The more signals you send to Google and the more trusted those signals are – the more likely you are to rank highly. Once the SEO fundamentals are put in place at the very beginning, it requires low investment hereafter to maintain.

Cons

Established agencies hold an advantage. As mentioned earlier, SEO is all about trust and relevance. The more established your website is as an authority on the specific query being searched for, the more likely it is for your website to rank highly in results pages. This means that, initially, established agencies do hold an advantage over start-up agencies because they are more likely to have an established online presence.

Slow return on investment. The nature of SEO and the time it takes for Google to fully index your website means that it can take from 3-6 months before you see any measurable return on investment from your SEO efforts. However, if the content you have invested in is targeted, that will likely increase ROI exponentially over the years to come.

You may need expert support. If you do not have SEO expertise in-house, it is recommended to hire specialists who can implement and advise on the changes that need to be made. This will inevitably cost more depending on how much help your recruitment agency needs.

PPC Vs SEO – Which should you choose?

This choice completely depends on your marketing strategy and the urgency with which you need to see a return on investment.

If you are a small, startup recruitment agency operating in a specific location with a need to see quick ROI, you may want to initially opt for targeted PPC. This may be because your domain authority (i.e. the SEO score of your website) isn’t established yet, you are less likely to have produced as much relevant content on your website as established agencies so it would take a considerable amount of time and investment for SEO to have an impact and for your website to rank highly organically.

Whereas, if your website is well established, and you already rank moderately for valuable keywords, you would benefit from implementing SEO best practice and developing a content strategy to target the more longtail keywords that answer questions and provide solutions to candidates and clients during their research journey in finding the right agency for them.

Do you know whether your website is well established or not? Use this simple website grader or for a more advanced analysis, you can use Majestic’s backlink checker.

Can you do both?

A blended approach to include PPC and SEO activity will, inevitably, cost you more. But, by combining the two, you can benefit from the pros, and reduce the cons, of both. Whilst you are implementing SEO best practice and creating content and improving your website page copy that is more likely to rank highly in search engines, you will still be attracting candidates and clients through PPC. And as your organic ranking and domain authority start to rise in 6 months time, you can begin to reduce your PPC budget and rely more on SEO.

By now, you will have a clearer idea about PPC and SEO, which activity is the best investment for your recruitment agency and what you can expect from both marketing tactics.

Would you like to know how to begin implementing inbound marketing for your recruitment agency? Download your free eBook below.

The Ultimate Guide To Inbound Marketing For Recruitment Agencies

Online Reviews: A Guide For Recruitment Agencies

Online reviews or testimonials can be seen as somewhat of a double-edged sword. Positive reviews are a powerful tool, but the real power is in the reviewer. A candidate or client willing to spend time reviewing your recruitment agency’s service can turn into a brand ambassador for your agency. On the other hand, negative reviews can sometimes damage your reputation and discourage potential candidates and clients from using your service.

“85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
Bright Local

In this blog we will outline the benefits of requesting online reviews or testimonials for your recruitment agency, and how to deal with any negative reviews in the most effective way.

Where can online reviews be published?

  • Your agency’s website (create a dedicated testimonials page)
  • Google (any online reviews are presented with search results)
  • Your agency’s social media platforms

Benefits of online reviews

  • People trust people. 85% of people trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation – it’s a chance to read real people’s unbiased opinion about the experience that they had with your agency.
  • Transparency. Having online reviews – whether they are good or bad – shows potential clients or candidates that you are transparent and trustworthy, particularly if reviews have been responded to.
  • Effective for local SEO. In short, the more positive Google reviews you have, the more likely your agency is to appear at the top of Google for relevant local search queries. To learn why local SEO is essential for recruitment agencies, have a read of our blog.
  • Turn the negative into a positive. If you do receive a negative review for whatever reason, you can use it as an opportunity to learn and improve your candidate or client experience.

How to obtain online reviews

  • Ask candidates to review your agency immediately after they have been placed in a role. By seizing the moment, candidates are much more likely to take the time to write a review.
  • Once you have completed the recruitment for a client, ask them to spend a few minutes to write a review about the experience they had with your recruitment agency.
  • If a candidate or client is thanking you for your help, it can be the perfect opportunity to ask for some help in return by requesting a review or testimonial.
  • Ensure that it is as easy as possible for candidates and clients to leave reviews. For Google reviews, ensure that any correspondence you have with them includes clear guidance on how to do this.
  • Provide options for where people can write a review or testimonial. It could be an online survey so you can publish it on your agency’s website, links to your social media platforms or links for Google reviews.

How to deal with negative reviews

  • Respond promptly. Negative reviews are never easy to read, but responding right away in a professional manner can help turn that bad review around.
  • Acknowledge the problem. Shirking responsibility when something has gone wrong, regardless of how big or small, will only cause the candidate or client to become more unhappy with the situation. By understanding the issue with as much empathy and efficiency as possible, you’ll be more able to resolve the problem.
  • Reply online. Reply promptly to the negative review or comment online for all to see. By doing so, it shows that you take these comments seriously. Some candidates or clients will even correct a bad review after a successful resolution, so addressing issues quickly can help turn things around.

All in all, promoting online reviews or publishing testimonials on your agency’s website is advantageous as it shows potential candidates and clients that you are proactive with seeking feedback and focused on resolving problems in an efficient manner. In addition, potential new customers will trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations as it builds confidence and trust in the service you deliver.

Are you interested in learning from other recruitment professionals how they manage and grow their successful agency? Download our free eBook today.

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