- Category: Our Blog
- Written by Brent Williams
Site visability: SEO v’s PPC, is pay-per-click really worth it?
Many organisations use ad-words as a way to improve site visibility and traffic. After all, it’s a quick and easy way to get your business onto the first page on Google or SERP (Search Engine Results Page). We know good placement is important, because:
- 75% of people never scroll past the first page of results
- 60% of clicks go to the top three organic search results
But, successes of PPC is severely limited compared to what can be achieved through organic search results...
- 70% of the links (results) clicked are organic—not paid
The reason: put simply, TRUST! People trust organic (or main) listings more than they trust your paid listings.
PPC: 88% of all SEM spend VS. SEO: 11% of all SEM spend
PPC: 10% of all search clicks VS. SEO: 90% of all search clicks
Markets don’t stay this inefficient for long
Rand Fishkin, SEOMoz
There are many research studies and polls that explain why. As an example, a study by M L Resnick “An Empirical Study Of Paid Listings In Product Search And Purchase” the researchers found users to be suspicious (or had a bias against) paid listings.
So, are PPC ads or ad-words worth it?
To answer this, one needs to understand that these two methods are not mutually exclusive. The pros and cons of PPC needs to be taken with the ins and outs of organic. So, planning needs to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Understanding how to apply this is key to gaining the upper hand over highly competitive & coveted positions.
Advantages of organic (for highly placed SERP's)
- Results: Greater number of click-throughs due to high visibility and high trust.
- Insight: Analysis of search-terms, in particular key-word combinations is helpful in determining PPC ad-word purchases.
- Competitive: Gaining a higher ranking pushes competitors into a less noticeable/effective position.
Disadvantages of organic
- Time: Takes time and continual effort to get results.
- Cost: Gaining and more importantly, maintaining, a high ranking is a specialized job which is often expensive.
Pay Per Click
Advantages of PPC
- Fast: An easy way to position a listing where it will get noticed (even though it may not get clicked).
- Insight: ability to test the effectiveness of keywords, with this insight used to help improve organic listing.
- Qualified clicks: People may be more likely to convert or engage in a transaction.
- Competitive: Locks out a competitor from using the word (raise barrier to entry).
- Attention: Eye pattern studies show that a high positioned PPC still gets much more attention than lower ranking organic listings.
Disadvantages of PPC
- Lack of clicks: Less effective than organic.
- Expensive: Although ad-words can be fairly inexpensive to get up and running, longer-term, the ROI may not be as effective as organic.
- Trust: If paid-for-words (aka advertising) is all a person see’s, they may trust you less than they might, a competitor, who ranks high with organic results
Wait, there's more...
Just because you rank at number one does not necessarily mean you will get a good click-through-rate (CTR). You may still fail because of poor copy in link (or anchor) text.
Good link text is essential.
It is both a significant factor in Google determining where your link will get placed and also the most significant factor WHY someone will click on your link. Here the selection of good keywords and link copy for organic, can be aided by using tools that help in the selection of ad-words. For instance using ad-words to perform A/B split testing, using the same keyword but with different link copy.
Another important consideration is the quality of the pages behind your links. Quality here refers to the importance, to a user, of the information or value they will receive from clicking. Although conversion is a separate topic; you have about 5 seconds at most to convince a person why they should not hit the back button and choose a competitor. You still need to place consideration about your content and its relevance to the person clicking. Not only will this ultimately lead to conversions, but it will be a significant factor in organic rankings and increasing trust for people returning to your site.
How NURVE can help
We take a very systematic and tailored approach that recognises the unique characteristics of your offering.
Note: we do not engage in any, so called, black-hat techniques in search engine optimization.
- Gain a benchmark of where you rank relative to competition. Find out what is working/not working for them, find gaps and exploit this knowledge.
Key & ad-word word analysis:
- Determine the best keyword combinations and link text that will help increase your position and likelihood of people clicking your link.
Develop ad-word campaigns:
- That exploit gaps and focus on gaining better traction that your competitors. We will setup & preform A/B splits to help understand customer preferences.
Link Quality and velocity:
- This is number one for getting good organic search results. We develop a content strategy to a way to publish links in a way that Google will look ‘favorably’ upon them.
- Develop landing pages that are optimised to increase their raking. This includes the copy used and placement of keywords as tags and use of headings through to how images are tagged.
Analytics & Reporting:
- Set-up meaningful ways to measure results/success and report on what needs to be done to continue to improve effectiveness. We focus and prioritize our efforts based on what makes most business sense, like a return on investment.
- Help you develop a content/publishing strategy that recognises that new content is what search engines are looking for in placing organic links.
Some related links that you might find useful.
- Seven Ways to Make Pay-Per-Click Pay (online.wsj.com)
- The Changing Face Of Search Engine Optimization (ronmedlin.com)
- Search Engine Optimization Company Launches Product Analyzing Competitors’ Backlinks (prweb.com)
- SEO Expert to Speak on Web Strategies at Search Engine Strategies (prweb.com)
- Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search: What Should Your Philosophy Be? (searchengineguide.com)
- Online Marketing: The Latest Technique Of Doing Sales (ronmedlin.com)
- LogicClassroom Session on SEM 101 (realestateseo1.com)