Surfers prefer organic SEO 5 to 1 over PPC advertising

Posted on: Nisan 8, 2010

It’s a fact that surfers prefer organic search results, which are the result of organic SEO methods, 5 to 1 over Paid Search engine advertising. I’m not saying this because I’m a firm believer in the long term benefits of SEO over SEM (even though I am), I’m saying it because it’s true. PPC does have it’s place in online marketing, but before I get into that, let me expound on my previous statement.

Why do people go to the organic listings before they go to the sponsor ads? It’s very simple. People know that organic listings are more likely to have what they’re looking for. Sites that are shown as a result of a search have creditability over paid listing sites. This is important to keep in mind, in addition to the fact that if your site ranks well organically, you will spend substantially less money on PPC and overall online marketing. I have a few clients that receive thousands of hits a day based solely on organic searches. These results, along with the ever-increasing cost of PPC advertising, make me wonder why more companies don’t utilize organic SEO methods.

In regard to PPC, it’s certainly an effective way to drive traffic to your site quickly. PPC campaigns are an excellent option for those waiting for a higher page rank or companies that sell high dollar items or have large profit margins. If your average sale is 5 dollars, you can’t really afford to be paying much for an ad. If one average order can pay for an entire day’s or even week’s PPC budget, it’s probably well worth the money. Unfortunately, a successful PPC campaign takes a lot more than money.

A successful PPC campaign is all about monitoring. Of the many subpar PPC campaigns I have “inherited” from frustrated site owners, roughly 80% were improperly monitored or tracked. Why is tracking so important? For one thing, without any sort of tracking, how will you know how much you are spending for a lead or a sale? Aside from not having tracking in place, many PPC managers bid on bad keywords, allow poorly written ads and utilize improper landing pages. Again, a successful PPC campaign takes a lot more than money.

Another thing many fail to realize when it comes to organic SEO and PPC is that one can be used to the advantage of the other. PPC can be used to test whether or not the keywords you are targeting are right for you. This works especially well for a company that has a unique service or product. Sometimes, traditional keywords or phrases are ineffective. PPC combined with tracking can help you determine if the keywords you are bidding on are converting. If they are, you can the create pages for the organic search which will hopefully alleviate your need for future PPC spending or at least curtail it significantly. There are also other ways to use PPC to “test” areas in which you could benefit from organic SEO, though many SEM firms will not tell you this. Why? Because they either don’t know how to use PPC in this capacity or they want you to remain dependent on PPC for the life of your business. Not all, but many SEM firms view their clients much in the same way that high interest lenders view borrowers with good credit. They want you to stay put and throw your money out the window and will be more than happy to let you do so until you figure out that you don’t have to.

The idea behind SEM is to help your ROI. Since I lean more toward SEO than SEM, I tend to use PPC as a way to test the market and to help new businesses bring in traffic. Ideally, organic SEO will help minimize the cost of PPC. It’s my opinion that companies who focus solely on PPC are putting all their eggs in one basket and will always be dependent on their marketing budget. As PPC prices soar, so will your PPC expenses.

So, the next time you search for an SEM firm, ask how they can help you save money and achieve better results over the long term by incorporating organic SEO into your overall marketing strategy. If a 5 to 1 preference isn’t a good enough reason to engage in organic SEO, then I don’t know what is.

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