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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

To Pay For Clicks or Optimise for Search

In the past, I've always thought that promoting Pay Per Click (PPC) in place of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) was cheating, because how can you say 'Oh, we'll give you top ranking' when you're supposed to be marketing SEO but go around and run a PPC campaign? The fact is, I never really knew how to market PPC when we've all been made to believe that SEO is the master of search engines. But I think I've figured it out now, or at least some of it...

I would have to say that PPC is the short term solution to having good ranking being found on search result pages, while SEO is the long term solution to having good ranking position. Now that said, how do you know which one is right for a website?
  • The first thing that comes to mind is the age of the website. The older a website, the better the chances of it having good ranking on search engines, especially Bing (I personally think that is unfair!). So if you want to be found like yesterday, then PPC is for you.
  • What kind of market do you find yourself in? Is it a highly niche and competitive market? If it is, then the best bet is to have a PPC running. It gets even worse if your a newbie AND its a competitive market!
  • What are you trying to achieve? Surprising as it might seem, some people initially want brand awareness first. This could involve lots of PPC. Think facebook and how it just puts an ad in your face day in day out! You're not interested, but you end up knowing the name of the brand! That's brand awareness, especially when you can't afford a spanking TV ads like this:
  • Sometimes a website is old but still not doing so well and you just want results fast. A good PPC campaign can get the ball rolling by promoting your brand and bringing people to the website to buy your products while the SEO starts to kick it, albeit rather slowly. 
  • Do you have the cash to burn? PPC isn't as cheap as SEO, you get what you pay for. A lot of people can argue that SEO can be expensive as well, which I'm beginning to believe. But with PPC you pay for the the clicks (based on your budget) as well as the 'workmanship', I think of it like a double payment, that is not cheap.
Pay Per Click has it uses, just as Search Engine Optimisation does too. I know of some people who just use PPC and that's it, they don't bother with SEO. Maybe the business is seasonal or one off, why go through all the hassle of getting the right keyword, building good links and checking google website analytics when all you want is people to buy something on the site or sign up for a single event?

I finally believe that PPC and SEO both have their individual spot in the world of Internet Marketing. Given normal circumstances, I would always end up with SEO, but I will never rule out PPC again! What about you? Which do you prefer and do you have cases of using one over the other? Would love to hear your stories on PPC and SEO campaigns.
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