Where Do You See The Future Marketing?
Are you keen on putting more of your investment into the benefits of organic search and long-term keywords strategies, or do you think that PPC is the silver bullet that’s well worth investment?
The age old question of SEO vs SEM continues to roll on and whether you are in the camp of favouring organic traffic and organic SEO, or PPC, we all want to know how to get more traffic to our websites.
We think that organic traffic still has a firm place in any marketing strategy as we move into 2018. Who wouldn’t want to drive organic traffic to their site?
The term “organic traffic” is used for referring to the visitors that land on your website as a result of unpaid (“organic”) search results so of course, it’s free in the ‘immediate payment’ sense is removed, and unlike PPC you probably don’t need buy in for an SEO budget beyond the investment in an agency, keyword research and time.
It might even be the favoured method for your stakeholders. SEO is an ever changing world and your organic search strategy will no doubt tie in closely with persona marketing and the work you are doing in paid media.
It sits somewhere between the sweet spot of media and PR and technical, on site work and is a ‘must have’.
We have titled this feature as SEO V.S. PPC but really, we don’t think there is a war to be had – it’s just that we believe organic traffic has some key benefits over PPC.
Visibility in search engines for your targeted keywords puts your business in front of potential customers in much the same way as if you were to advertise, and it drives brand awareness.
Whilst it may seem free – there is a cost to SEO.
Ranking nationally for a highly prized keyword that may be £10 per click in AdWords will have far more costs associated with it than ranking for a locally oriented keyword.
If you don’t know about keywords, you will need an agency who can guide you through the selection process.
On top of this, you might also need a website refresh- monthly costs of SEO agency services to build backlinks are all well and good, assuming you do already have a well-optimized website that the new visitor won’t exit from in a hurry and no technical SEO issues.
Before you get started you could potentially have costs in site architecture changes to consider.
Having said this, SEO is a long term, low pain, low risk strategy.
PPC Has Risks
Whether it’s the risk of the budget, the agency or the success of the campaign PPC does have risks.
A recent Google survey revealed that 85-percent of people claim to ignore sponsored listings when searching via Google and if you’re in a sector where PR isn’t favourable; your ads might be even less trusted.
Perhaps you will choose to use the display network instead of search, but a strategy needs to be in place.
When it’s done right, it seems that although people surveyed may say they don’t look at sponsored listings – it is done.
A study has found that paid search ads give you an 89% incremental lift in site visitors – above and beyond traffic you would normally expect from your organic listings. Of course, you’re paying for that traffic and competing with competitors.
A great way around this is to move into page 1 of Google.
Easier said than done, yes, but according to Protofuse, when position on page one, Organic Listings receive 90% of clicks.
This average strongly indicates that people give organic listings significant focuses – with the caveat – get them on page 1!
Page 2 receives just 10% of searching visitors, a huge drop off. These are the costs of one click. Mind you, that’s a click that is not guaranteed to convert a customer.
There is a fascinating study on heat mapping the new Google and Bing interfaces that we really like. Speaking of the study MarketingProfs’ author Nanji said,
“The top organic result still captures about the same amount of click activity (32.8%) as it did in 2005.
However, with the addition of new SERP elements, the top result is not viewed for as long, or by as many people. Organic results that are positioned in the 2nd through 4th slots now receive a significantly higher share of clicks than in 2005.”
When you pay for PR, buy media space, run an email or a sponsored OOH banner, you have a limited time frame to see results and the benefits are on a quick drop off unless you are being smart about capturing people and their data.
When you pay for an ad, you only have that ad space for a limited amount of time. What happens when your ad on a highly popular website expires and you can’t afford to renew it?
Or the website that hosts one of your most successful ads shuts down or changes its advertising policy?
Your traffic will likely decrease.
However, if you invest in SEO strategies and tactics, your results will be more long lasting.
As long as you are willing to tweak your strategy and your website, links and site architecture in line with Google changes, your optimized site will continue to serve you well.
If it’s a blog, you might refresh and re-use the content online in another medium or platform, recycling those links and ensuring they reach new audiences.
You might even put paid money behind your original SEO optimised content for a boost.
The takeaway is that with paid campaigns, you have to keep optimizing and testing the ad creative to lower your CPC and increase your CTR.
You can imagine that it takes a massive budget to even set a paid campaign in motion, and that it requires just as much to keep maintaining it.
On the other hand, an organic strategy is high-impact and low-cost.
Organic search seems trustable
When you scan the search results, there’s something very refreshing about seeing a business in paid for an organic spots on page one of Google or Bing.
Without the organic, you might catch the eye with the perfect phrase, keywords, call to action or campaign, or your display ad might feel relevant, but organic links to your site feel more trustworthy.
As you achieve higher search rankings, your reputation will improve even more. On top of this, organic builds momentum. As your site gets more traffic and becomes known as highly relevant, you will start to attract more outside links to it.
In summary, organic search still has racks of positive benefits, and if you can negotiate the technical issues, updates and have the time and patience to invest long term, you can really see results.
The reality is also that if you want to be even remotely competitive in your space, SEO could be non-negotiable. Research your competitors and see where they rank.
Of course, tools like Moz and SEMrush can help you see the sites that matter most to you.
If you’re getting a push back on your wish to work on both PPC and SEO, then remind them gently that your competitors are pouring time and money into their organic traffic and with each day you don’t jump on those niche, long tail industry specific keywords, you could be paying per click to attract the same audiences they are taking for free.
Having said that, everything in marketing is based on your own unique situation and strategy.
Consider that Search Engine Watch have revealed that Women (53 percent of them) are more likely to click on paid search ads than men, who click on ads 47 percent of the time.
Age also is a factor.
Younger searches are less likely to click on paid ads – 35 percent of ads are clicked on by searchers age 34 or younger. But as age increases so does the number of people clicking on those ads, as 65 percent of ad clicks come from searchers age 35 and older.
If this affects your demographic, then perhaps PPC will be right for you! But in the ongoing debate of PPC vs SEM, we have to lean towards organic, when done right.