Why PPC is Making Me Love SEO

SEO vs. PPCLately we’ve been doing a lot more PPC (pay per click) – Adwords, Yahoo, MSN – and the more PPC I get into, the more I appreciate SEO.

If you have a real brand or something worth advertising, you should probably do both. But from my perspective, I’ll take SEO over PPC anyday. Why?

In many categories a good CTR for paid ads is 5% (this is assuming you have a good quality score and are bidding for good placement). That means that if you’re spending enough money, you will only get 5 visitors per 100 to go to your site. Compare that with about 50%, which is about what you should expect from being in the top organic spot.

10 times the traffic? That sounds a lot better. And you’re not paying for it! That means you’re immune to bidding wars, click fraud, etc. Plus if you have the content and the authority, you’re pulling in long tail traffic that you could never really even bid on in PPC.

Yes, SEO is a lot more work up front. But PPC has gotten a lot more complicated over the past few years – in some ways there’s just as much to know about it as there is in SEO. Most good marketers agree that you should do both, but if I had to choose I’d pick SEO.

P.S. Oh, one another HUGE advantage of SEO over PPC: branded terms. Lots of affiliate programs won’t allow you to bid on branded terms and trademarks in PPC, and those are often the highest converting keywords out there.

P.P.S. If you don’t believe me, ask the SEO dream team.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stumble Exchange December 7, 2007 at 10:34 am

I wanted call SEO “Free” unless you have some really obscure terms, but with the increase costs of PPC, SEO is likely to become even more cost effective then it already is.

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Brisbane Marketing Consultant July 30, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Yes, as more and more people discover PPC, the prices get driven up to the point where it is much more cost effective over time to go for organic clicks.

For new sites that can be a problem so I recommend PPC to start with to get a bit of traffic and also to work out what keywords are the most relevant to optimise for.

Adwords can be a very cost effective market research tool and give great data as the basis of organic SEO.

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