Is PPC More Important to a New Site Than SEO?

    December 29, 2009
    Chris Crum

In a recent article, we looked at a debate over what is better between search engine optimization and pay-per-click. Of course both should be used typically, but on a recent panel at SES Chicago, participants were asked to pick a side to highlight the benefits of each compared to the other. It made for some pretty interesting conversation.

Both SEO and PPC are important, but do you think one carries more weight than the other? Share your thoughts here.

That conversation extended into our comments. The general consensus seems to be that you should use both when possible, but that SEO is better for the long term, and PPC is better for quick results. These notions were backed up by both Michael Gray and Christine Churchill, who were on opposing sides of the debate at SES.

Gray and Churchill both shared their thoughts in more detail in two separate interviews for WebProNews. Gray noted that Google is making changes that could have some effect on the success of organic rankings. One of these changes is the introduction of personalized search to all Gooogle users. You no longer have to be signed in for Google to personalize your results, and that means it is much more important to get that first click from a user. Gray talks about this and the other change, being Google’s banning of AdWords advertisers with what he thinks is not the best communication.

Churchill elaborated on the usefulness of PPC to people who are just establishing themselves on the web. The reality is that SEO takes time, and while it is of great importance and provides long-term benefits, it is very hard to be competitive right out of the box.

When you have a brand new domain name, a new site, and no links, you’re probably going to have a hard time jumping up in the rankings for any competitive keywords. PPC lets you do it and start getting your ROI quickly. She also talked a little bit about flexibility vs. control between SEO and PPC.

Not everyone agrees that PPC should be used for a brand new site. One reader commented on our previous article:

SEO is an absolute must when dealing with new web sites. None of the search engines are going to rank you very high in the organic searches if you are not meeting their criteria. And…the Organic search results are 24 hours per day ads. Not so with PPC, unless you are dealing with an unlimited budget.

PPC should be used after SEO to target special sales, or services. It is a great way to help searchers locate your products when they are on sale, or your services when a special price can be obtained.

One thing to keep in mind, however, as Gray touched upon, and some other readers suggested, PPC can be used up front to help you determine the directions to take your SEO efforts in. You can use PPC quickly to determine what keywords convert better, and use that to your advantage in your optimization practices.

Do you think paid search is becoming increasingly important to marketing? Share your thoughts here.

Related Articles:

> Does an Organic Search Presence Help Paid Result Performance?

> Can You "Rank" in Google if Everyone Has Different Search Results?

> Optimizing for Mixed Media Search Results