Organic SEO vs. PPC?

    November 6, 2007

So, what’s it going to be?  Spend the time and effort cultivating your organic search engine marketing plan or just offer up the cash and invest in a pay-per-click program? Which is better for you?  Both?

Organic SEO vs. PPC?
Organic SEO vs. PPC?

It’s a question most, if not all; businesses will eventually have to ask themselves in the course of developing their Internet marketing strategies.  Which alternative offers the best return on investment?  Which one is more easily managed? 

When you purchase visitors or "clicks" from a search engine, this is called "pay-per-click" (PPC) search engine advertising (or PPCSE). Pay-per-click search engine advertising allows you to quickly leverage search engine traffic by "bidding" (paying) for keywords related to your product or service.

On the upside… you’re free from the headaches and worry of trying to figure out what any given engine’s algorithm is up to and how it impacts your position.  It’s scalable and controllable – you know exactly how much you’re spending and (ideally) have a good idea of what you’re getting in return. It’s also very fast.  No waiting around here… just sign that check and watch your results.

On the downside, it costs several coins – sometimes quite a lot of them actually, to get really good results.  The low hanging fruit of paid search has long since gone now that mainstream advertisers and Fortune 500s have jumped into the space.  Paid campaigns are also not without their headaches. Coming up with effective keywords to bid on is a job in and of itself.  Managing what you’re spending on what keywords, measuring their returns, adjusting your spends and playing the PPC game intelligently is a full time gig.

In the other corner we have "Organic" or "Natural" search engine optimization (SEO). Generally speaking, organic SEO consists of optimizing your web pages to enhance their position in the naturally occurring search results.  Asking what goes into organic SEO is a lot like asking what goes into a Twinkie.  You start with sorbic acid, which derives from natural gas. Ok really organic SEO consists of making sure the search engine spiders can crawl and understand what is on your web pages.  Once they understand it, you need to make them like it more than all the other web pages with the same/similar information. 

It’s about as easy as it sounds.  In essence, you are just making sure your content on your page is in good shape and then start trying to move your pages up the results by doing things like cultivating inbound links from other sites.  Inbound links dictate your "link popularity" so, by acquiring (ahem… however you do so) links that point to your web site. You can boost your rank in the search results.

That established, Purchase World of Warcraft Gold, we decided to ask some of the experts which type of marketing most sites should be using: organic SEO or PPC? Executive Vice-President of SiteLab, Dana Todd, a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies Conferences, and Jeremy Schoemaker of Shoemoney Media Group, Inc. have both been there and done exactly this with both methods.

Jeremy felt like, as a rule of thumb, the majority of bloggers should generally use organic SEO because they aren’t really selling a product.  For those companies and sites that are trying to sell a physical product, PPC has quicker results.

He said, "Whenever you have a physical good, that you know what it’s worth and you know what that value is, then it’s real easy to use Pay-Per-Click. You know exactly how much to spend to make money."

Dana Todd emphasized the fact that everybody can benefit from organic SEO.  Dana says, “(each form of) Advertising has a completely different place in your media mix. We would never recommend, here at SiteLab, that you do one or the other; you always do them both wherever possible."

Jeremy and Dana both felt that neither method was sufficient by itself and indicated that everyone should look at trying both if at all possible.  For some sites, depending on your goals, it often makes sense to allocate more or less resources to one form or the other.  However, for most sites looking to put together a comprehensive marketing strategy, most any plan should include components of both.

To find out more details of the interview with Shoemoney and Dana Todd, you can watch the video and gain helpful tips of how to start and what to do when tackling marketing online.