SEO vs. Paid Search: What’s more Important for Local Businesses with Joe Troyer

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In this episode, Joe delves into the ongoing debate between SEO and Ads, highlighting their significance for local businesses. While it would be ideal for businesses to allocate funds for both SEO and ads, the reality is that not all small businesses have the luxury to do so. When faced with the choice between the two, finding a simple answer becomes challenging. However, Joe’s valuable insights aim to provide clarity and assist entrepreneurs in making informed decisions that align with the unique needs and goals of their businesses.

Prioritizing Between SEO and PPC (Paid Search)

When it comes to digital marketing, local businesses often face a crucial question: Should they prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) or paid search campaigns? Both approaches, which encompass organic search, keywords, PPC ads, clicks, paid ads, search engine marketing, organic results, search ads, and pay per click, offer unique advantages. Understanding their respective priorities and potential benefits is essential.

Distinguishing Types of Ads

A fundamental consideration is understanding the different types of ads and their associated benefits. Ads targeting current customers, prospects, and the cold market require distinct approaches. Notably, retargeting and remarketing campaigns, which can be implemented through PPC ads, offer cost-effective and swift results. By effectively segmenting their ad campaigns, businesses can optimize their advertising efforts and achieve better outcomes in search engine marketing.

ROI and Profitability Analysis

Local businesses should avoid expecting instant profitability from their paid ad campaigns. Determining which campaigns are effective and driving clicks takes time. It is essential to track and analyze campaign performance to identify successful keyword strategies and adjust ad spending accordingly. Adopting a patient, long-term perspective is key to achieving a positive return on investment (ROI) from paid search efforts.

Prioritizing Marketing Channels

To allocate resources effectively, local businesses should adopt a prioritization framework for marketing channels. Establishing a strong presence in organic search results through SEO, including optimizing keywords, is a high-priority task. Building a positive online reputation through accumulating reviews on platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Manta, and the Better Business Bureau is crucial. Dominating the first page of search engine results with search ads, managing brand perception through videos, and implementing reputation management strategies are also high-priority tactics for success.

Evaluating the Significance of SEO

The priority level assigned to SEO depends on several factors. Local businesses need to consider their goals and willingness to invest in long-term marketing benefits. Although SEO has the potential to reduce future marketing costs and improve organic search results, it may not yield immediate results compared to paid search advertising. Engaging in a conversation with the business owner is essential to determine their preferences and budget allocation for SEO initiatives.

Synergizing SEO and Paid Search

Rather than viewing SEO and paid search as opposing strategies, local businesses can leverage the synergy between the two approaches. Initiating with a profitable pay-per-click (PPC) campaign can fuel rapid business growth through search engine marketing. Once the brand is established and protected, integrating SEO efforts with successful PPC campaigns can further enhance profitability and accelerate expansion. By combining brand protection, reputation management, and effective sales strategies, businesses can unlock the full potential of their digital marketing efforts.


In the ongoing SEO versus paid search debate, local businesses must recognize that both strategies, encompassing organic search, keywords, PPC ads, clicks, paid ads, search engine marketing, organic results, search ads, and pay per click, offer value. Understanding the nuances and priorities can empower businesses to optimize their marketing initiatives effectively.
By effectively segmenting ad campaigns, patiently analyzing ROI, and prioritizing high-impact tactics such as SEO optimization, PPC ads, and brand protection, local businesses can thrive in the digital landscape. Ultimately, by harnessing the synergy between paid search and SEO, businesses can create a comprehensive marketing strategy that drives growth and delivers sustainable results.

Topics Discussed

  • How different types of ads pay off differently
  • Prioritizing different campaigns
  • The great thing about remarketing and retargeting

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Joe Troyer  0:39

How would you compare the importance or priority of SEO versus ads for a local business? So I think that ads first and foremost, is a kind of deceiving word. Like what do you mean by ads? Right? Are we talking cold traffic ads? Are we talking warm market ads? Are you talking ads to existing customers? Because for me, all of those ads pay off very differently. Right? Like if we had a scale and we said like ads to current customers, we have ads to prospects.

So their prospects but they're not customers yet, then we got ads to cold market, right? You should be doing these frickin ASAP. Right because this is just only going to help you get more with your current advertising. Right and the cost is going to be jack right? This is retargeting remarketing, everybody in their mothers should be doing remarketing and retargeting. You guys know the cost and the value right that you get out of it. So the great thing about retargeting and remarketing, and these specific types of ad campaigns to is that these are very fast acting, they're very low cost and fast acting. So like, you can get this set up. In terms of tracking, you can get this set up and the campaign creatives done, and everything is set up and running and live.

And let's call it a week, right? And these are going to be up and running and producing and getting impressions from your prospects in a week. This, this is a little bit of a different story, right? Right, like this ROI is going to be like almost instantaneous. This ROI is going to have to be proven, this is going to take some wild a little bit to figure out it's not going to be profitable overnight. Okay, a lot of people, for example, run Google ads, right? A lot of businesses run Google ads, and they run it for a month. And their cost to acquire a customer is really high. But they think that in month one, they're going to be profitable. Right? Like you got to run that thing longer, right so that you understand what campaigns are working and which campaigns aren't.

Which ones are sucking drive the ad spend and which ones are converting like crazy that you should be spending more money on. So these things, let's do that. So say high priority for me, these are these are these are high priority. Let's say then, medium priority. Alright. So medium priority, low priority. So for me, desktop search would be kind of the lowest priority, it's just going to be the least converting, you know, mechanism and mobile gets so much traffic and so much demand like we've talked about.

And it doesn't mean that like I don't want to do it and I'm not excited for it by all means that's a really big channel. There's just other things that I want to do first. So I mean, for me high priority

Joe Troyer 3:51

Let's just say like remarketing ads to current customers, remarketing ads, the prospects in here as well like for me in terms of like high priority is like we got to build out a GMB so that it comes up for branded searches. Like that's frickin high priority. Right and we got to get we got to protect our brand protect the business business's brand with reviews. And the first page of Google and what I mean by that is when you search for the brand on the first page of Google, you should see the GMB pop there should be a good amount of reviews there.

It should be four and a half stars plus on that Google My Business account right? Then you should see Yelp you should see you should see yellow pages you should see Manta you should see better business or the BBB. All four or all five of those sites that I just listed as well all show the the Google review snippet inside of the search so they're all going to show those stars right? You do some some some videos talking about the reputation with rap videos or one of the other platforms out there.

Right You can control the whole first page and people's perception of your brand. Like, those are all high priority, like, those things are gonna get you guys, huge returns. So this is like all for me high priority, easy to implement things. Next up, again, I would have to say then would let's say mobile search campaign to medium priority and mobile search. So I think SEO can either be right can be medium priority or could be low priority. At the end of the day, I think it has to do with what the business owner wants, right? Are they willing to invest now to in the future, have a marketing campaign that potentially has a much, much lower marketing cost? Right? Or do they want results now?

And we'll work on their margin and we'll work on, you know, turning over that same customer four or five times, right, building out an average customer value now. That's the conversation that you have to have with a local business owner, I believe, right, some of them are going to want to do SEO or will make the budget from the beginning.

Some of them won't. Okay, and it also depends on where you advise them to stick their money. Okay, I think that these things are kind of interchangeable, like I would definitely do a mobile search. But in terms of where does SEO go? Like, if we can make their PPC profitable, we're going to build them as super fast growing business, and then we stack SEO on it, and we can really start to get things Uber profitable. Yeah, protect the brand, build the brand, right? And then stack sales on top of it right, like light the fire underneath it.

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