It’s interesting how potential clients have preconceived notions about which aspects of search engine marketing have most value. In fact, they tend to fall into two camps that are 180° apart. The first camp believes completely in value of pay-per-click marketing (PPC). It’s easy to understand why. PPC provides immediate and measurable benefits. The ROI of PPC marketing is obvious. This group doesn’t understand why it’s necessary “to bother” doing SEO. The second camp believes only way to go is SEO. Clicks are free and branding benefits of high rankings have been well documented.
The right answer is that they are both valuable. Each has its benefits and when you can afford to, you should implement both.
PPC makes sense if you want immediate benefits and like idea of paying for performance. SEO provides branding benefits and longer-term will provide an ROI that is compelling. But unlike PPC, SEO revenue results aren’t as directly measurable and manageable.
Pay per click (PPC) gives you ability to have complete control over your search traffic. With PPC programs you select keywords and write listings. You control where you’re listed and what listing says. You decide what your budget is and can adjust your spend rate based on results or events (e.g. announcements, promotions).
By tracking results from a PPC campaign, you can build up a knowledge base with respect to your business, including which messages perform best, which search terms have best conversion rates, and what destination URL is best for specific users to land on. Over time, this knowledge can help you to improve and define your business.
One of greatest attractions of PPC is ability to easily track clicks and costs allowing you to understand your ROI from a specific marketing initiative. This gives you confidence to spend money and drive volume. You may have thought that spending $5,000 a month on a PPC campaign is way outside your budget, but once you measure ROI, you may realize that it’s well worth investment.
Search Engine Optimization
So, if PPC is so great why bother with SEO? Basically, because you will be missing out on a large number of potential clicks. How large? A number of recent studies have demonstrated that there are still a lot of users that do not click on "paid" listings but rather will search through regular editorial search results. The accompanying chart shows that 60% of search users prefer (some exclusively) organic over paid listings. The only way to get optimized (high) rankings in these regular editorial results is through an effective SEO program. In most cases, once you have good positioning in regular search results, you will continue to receive “free” traffic. Again, based on data from a number of marketers increase in traffic due to SEO averaged 73%. Consider search engine optimization same as you would word of mouth advertising or public relations. It’s exposure that comes with a very high degree of credibility and trust. Traffic coming from traditional search listings tends to have high conversion rates.