When it comes to generating water damage restoration leads online, you basically have two big options: SEO and PPC. Both of them are big investments with even bigger payoffs, but it can be daunting to pick the right one for your unique needs.

It turns out, though, that the choice is pretty simple once you know how they work for your industry.

By the end of this article, you’ll know whether you should rely on PCC or SEO to generate water damage restoration leads for your company.

SEO in a Nutshell

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of generating targeted traffic through organic search results. It’s a long, slow process that requires a lot of investment before you see any payoff, but once it gets going you won’t need to pay each and every time someone clicks on your website.

If you want to learn more about the nitty gritty, here’s how SEO works (in plain English.)

PPC in a Nutshell

PPC, or pay per click, is the biggest alternative to SEO. Instead of a big upfront investment, PCC puts you in the ads above typical Google search results, and charges you every time someone clicks on it. Some also refer to PPC as AdWords, Google SEM (for “search engine marketing”), paid SEO, or PPC marketing.

Paid search engine marketing is how Google makes the vast majority of their money.

SEO vs. PPC: Setup Time

PPC is the clear winner here. You can set up a PPC account and start getting calls on day 1, as long as you already have a website. SEO takes a lot more time—somewhere between 3 and 6 months—before you should expect to see any new calls.

SEO vs. PPC: Call Volume

With SEO, it’s hard to cover an entire service area. Most searches for water damage restoration, or anything like it, will return a “map pack” in Google results. These maps typically show companies that are locatated near wherever you searched, even if a better company is just out of frame. It’s been a big problem for service area businesses since day one, and it’s not going away any time soon.

For PPC, it’s easy to blanket a service area. Just dial in exactly which cities you want, and Google does the rest. For a fee, of course.

SEO vs. PPC: Lead Quality

One of the most frustrating parts about PPC is that a click does not always translate to a service call—but you’ll have to pay for it anyways. If someone is trying to sell you insurance, ask about pricing, or otherwise wasting your time, you’ll have to pay for it twice.

While SEO can generate some of these calls too, the problem isn’t quite as bad, and it doesn’t hurt half as much.

If you’re looking for the very best leads, however, you’ll generally need to use SEO. Most og Google’s users have learned to tune out their ads entirely, which means someone in an emergency is more likely to skip over the PPC ads and head straight for whichever company is ranking first—thanks to SEO.

SEO vs. PPC: Sophistication

Let me be frank:

SEO isn’t easy. It involves everything from your sponsorships to blogging about the restoration industry to your Yelp reviews to your website’s load speed. There are easily 40 different things you could get wrong that would ruin your SEO campaign.

While it’s possible to screw up a PPC campaign pretty badly too, those setbacks generally won’t put you all the way back to it’s generally easier to find a PPC specialist who can do it right. For a fee, of course.

Seeing a pattern here?

(Note: by no means is PPC simple. All it takes is one broad match keyword or bad landing page URL to waste your budget. Expand PPC to include the display network and it gets even more complicated. For example, WebMechanics recommends over 55,000 placement exclusions for Google Display Network campaigns. Geographic targeting for PPC campaigns is also much more complex than you would expect.)

SEO vs. PPC: Pricing

For much of the country, water damage restoration keywords are just too expensive.

Let me explain:

If you wanted to show up in the ad pack for “wate damage restoration in San Diego,” you would have to be willing to pay roughly $219 every time someone clicks your site. Again, that’s not every time someone calls, or every time you can actually do business with them. If your leads only cost $1,000 in that market, you’re lucky.

adwords pricing for water damage restoration in san diego

The good news is that the national average is much lower, at $77.46 per click, but you’ll still have that other problem to deal with.

SEO, on the other hand, can generate water damage leads at a fraction of the cost, under certain conditions. Because SEO involves so many different ranking factors, it’s possible that you already have invested into your company in ways that will help your SEO, before you even start your SEO.

Did you join the local chamber of commerce? That will probably help your SEO.

Have you ever given a radio interview? That could help your SEO.

Do you already have a responsive website? That will absolutely help your SEO.

That, above all else, is probably the biggest difference between SEO and PPC: Google Adwords basically works in a vacuum, while SEO is much more interconnected to your business.

Of course, if you haven’t already covered some of this overhead then it will have to get tacked on to your cost per lead, but all of these items also have other benefits outside of SEO. Joining the chamber can help you build strategic partnerships with plumbers, while sponsoring your son’s little league team will make you the go-to water damage restoration company for a lot of people.

The Winner: SEO

Despite all of its limitations, SEO generates better water damage restoration leads with lower costs per acquisition. If you’re focused on your business’s long-term health and success, SEO for water damage restoration is the clear winner.

Ready to learn more? Contact us today for a free SEO consultation.