Articles by Albert Einstein Internet Organic SEO Or Pay-Per-Click Advertising - Which Should You Choose?
Advantages And Challenges Of ExportingBy Tekle S.
7%-38%-55% Communications MythBy Robert P.
Top 10 Big Mistakes Of Big BusinessBy Francis T.
Climate Change Is Real! Act Now!By Kathrin G.
Improving The Quality Of Decision MakingBy Niladri R.
Advantages And Challenges Of ExportingBy Tekle S.
Top 10 Big Mistakes Of Big BusinessBy Francis T.
Best Practice Benchmarking - The Path To ExcellenceBy Robert C C.
What Is A Healthy Company?By Raymond H.
Challenges And Opportunities In The New EconomyBy Alkistis A.
Organic SEO Or Pay-Per-Click Advertising - Which Should You Choose?
Organic search engine optimization has some distinct advantages over pay-per-click advertising. However, there are undoubtedly certain situations and scenarios where pay-per-click advertising makes more sense fiscally and strategically.
When people hear about online marketing, they often think of two of the more popular methods that a company can use to enhance its visibility on the Web: organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. In an ideal world, you would use both strategically to maximize your site's profile. However, budgetary constraints often make this impossible, and trying to do both on a limited budget or with minimal resources can result in neither campaign producing ideal results. In this case, it's usually better to focus on one or the other. But which is best for you?
Organic Search Engine Optimization
Organic search engine optimization campaigns offer several distinct advantages over pay-per-click advertising campaigns, as many recent studies have shown. What follows is a brief listing of some of the findings.
Propensity to Click
Study after study indicates people are less likely to click on paid search ads rather than on results from organic search engine optimization. For example, one study found that search users are up to six times more likely to click on the first few organic results than they are to choose any of the paid results (1), while an eye tracking study (2) showed that 50 percent of users begin their search by scanning the top organic results. Other studies have shown that only 30 percent of search engine users click on paid listings, leaving an overwhelming 70 percent who are clicking the organic listings (3). And a 2003 study found that 85 percent of searchers report clicking on paid links in less than 40 percent of all of their searches, and 78 percent of all respondents claim that they found the information they we searching for through sponsored links just 40 percent of the time (4).
Studies are beginning to indicate that the trust level for organic results is much higher than that of paid results, and that paid results are looked upon as a nuisance by some searchers. One study found that only 14 percent of searchers trust paid listings, and 29 percent report being "annoyed" by them (5). Another study found that 66 percent of customers distrust paid ads (6). Clearly, it's not generally a good idea to upset potential customers before they even click on your link.
Value of Visitors
Organic search engine results tend to be seen as non-biased, and they therefore are able to provide visitors that are more valuable. The overall conversion rate, or the rate at which searchers take a desired action on a site, is 17 percent higher for unpaid search results than the rate for paid (4.2% vs. 3.6%) (7). Trends also have shown that more of the sales that result from search engines originated in organic search listings (8).
Visitors Becoming More Aware of Pay-Per-Click as Advertising
As more and more people turn to the Internet for research and information, more searchers are becoming aware of paid results as a marketing tool. One study showed that not only are 38 percent of searchers aware of the distinction between paid and unpaid results, 54 percent are aware of the distinction on Google, which is widely recognized as the most popular search engine (9).
Pay-Per-Click Costs Rising
Meanwhile, pay-per-click costs are rising steadily. Between October 2004 and December 2005, average keyword prices rose from around $25 to just under $55 (10). And the cost of keywords can increase by as much as 100 percent during the holiday season (11). These costs aren't going unnoticed either; one study of problems experienced by U.S. companies found that 57 percent of respondents felt that their desired keywords were "too expensive," while 51 percent expressed concern that they are overpaying for certain keywords (12). On the other hand, when you outsource to an organic search engine optimization firm, your costs will likely remain more stable than the prices for pay-per-click advertising.
Long Term Results
While a pay-per-click campaign may produce results more quickly than an organic search engine optimization campaign, organic search engine optimization campaigns can give you results that last. When the budget runs out for a pay-per-click campaign, or when your company decides that the pay-per-click campaign should be terminated, the results end as well. With organic search engine optimization, the optimized site content and other changes made to your site can have an impact on your search results until the next change in a search engine's algorithm, or possibly even beyond.
Users also have rated organic search engine results as more relevant than paid results. On Google, 72.3 percent felt that organic results were more relevant, while only 27.7 percent rated paid results as more relevant. Yahoo offered similar results, with 60.8 calling organic results relevant compared to only 39.2 percent for paid (13).
While the above statistics may make organic search engine optimization seem the clear choice in all cases, in certain situations it actually can make more sense to do pay-per-click advertising. For those looking for fast results on a small budget, a pay-per-click campaign may be the answer.
As previously stated, the results from pay-per-click advertising are immediate. On the other hand, an organic search engine optimization campaign may take up to three months or more for results to be apparent. In this case, pay-per-click is advantageous for those who are looking to promote an initiative that will go live in a short amount of time, or whose business is seasonal in nature and who only do promotion during certain months of the year.
Small businesses with extremely tight budgets may find that pay-per-click is a better investment than organic search engine optimization because a pay-per-click campaign will almost always cost less--good search engine optimization companies simply do not work for $100 per month. By limiting a campaign's keyphrases to highly specific terms relevant to a company's business, there will not be a large amount of traffic generated, but the traffic that is generated will be specific to the desired result. Plus, choosing such specific phrases can make them less expensive on a per click basis. Moreover, in niche markets with a high average dollar sale, where there's not a great amount of search activity because the prospect pool is limited, it may not make sense to engage a quality organic search engine optimization firm at several thousand dollars per month when you can instead buy varying niche-specific keyphrases and generate traffic in that way.
Easier to Handle In-House
Non-complicated pay-per-click campaigns can be handled much more easily in-house than an organic search engine optimization campaign. Such campaigns generally involve business to business and high-end, service oriented companies, not those geared toward a large consumer base. Since organic search engine optimization requires a steep learning curve and since there are so many questionable tactics that can put a site at risk of penalization (the tactics that neophytes to search engine optimization are likely to use), it may make more sense to run a pay-per-click campaign. Since you are dealing directly with the engine, i.e., Yahoo Search Marketing and Google AdWords, you don't need to pay a middleman, and these sites offer helpful tutorials on how to use pay-per-click marketing. Perhaps most importantly, the concept of pay-per-click is much easier to grasp and understand at the outset.
Most organic search engine optimization campaigns require a contract of a certain length because SEO companies know that meaningful results will rarely happen overnight. When dealing with an in-house pay-per-click campaign, obviously a contract is not an issue. But in general, even when you are dealing with an agency, you will not tend to need to sign a contract because the agency instead makes money on a percentage of the spend, although there may be a setup fee. Without a contract, you are free to reallocate marketing dollars elsewhere if you discover that the pay-per-click campaign is not providing the desired results.
Clearly, organic search engine optimization has some distinct advantages over pay-per-click advertising. However, there are undoubtedly certain situations and scenarios where pay-per-click advertising makes more sense fiscally and strategically. With a high enough budget, you would be able to have an effective organic search engine optimization campaign running in tandem with an effective pay-per-click campaign. But if you have to choose one, look into your unique situation before you decide.
1. Oneupweb study
2. Enquiro, July 2005
3. Are Corporate Web Sites Optimized for SEO? by Paul Bruemmer, Search Engine Guide, August 2005
4. WebAdvantage.net 2003 Survey
5. eMarketer, April 2003
6. eMarketer 2003
7. Marketing Sherpa, August 2005
8. Are Corporate Web Sites Optimized for SEO? by Paul Bruemmer, Search Engine Guide, August 2005
9. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2005
10. Performics, 2005
12. Jupiter Media, June 2003
13. iProspect, Survey Sampling International, WebSurveyor, and Stratagem Research, April 2004
What's your opinion?
54 more Articles by Albert
5 min. Improving the customer-centricity of your organization isn't just good business, it's also good marketing.
31 min. There appears to be plenty of room for much greater effort and involvement by companies and organizations around the world. Here a few thoughts and pointers.
3 min. The aim of this guide is to prepare you for discussions with a bureau, and to get you thinking about all the factors that affect your Facilitator choice.
12 min. Companies that rely on IT governance systems alone will come up short.
4 min. Few companies have the skills to effectively manage procurement across all spending categories. Smart enterprises should examine their procure-ment strategies ...
15 min. By building social issues into strategy, big companies can recast the debate about their role in society.
7 min. In 15 seconds, a visitor to your site determines whether or not they are interested in your product or service. Web usability experts can provide all sorts ...
13 min. Talent can be bought, but the best companies develop their own.
6 min. Valuable insights on using your speaker to maximise the success of your event
13 min. The days, weeks, or months between taking the job and assuming power are precious. Put them to good use.
4 min. The proliferation of brands and channels is forcing companies to restructure their marketing efforts significantly.
8 min. Companies based in the GCC states are using their petrodollars to expand into global markets. But in the long run, these companies will have to develop distinctive capabilities and skills.
13 min. Employees' personal connections can be as valuable as their individual knowledge base. Social network analysis, or SNA, helps maximize a company's collective smarts.
17 min. An organization is much more likely to improve its current performance and underlying health by using a combination of complementary practices rather than ...
POP4 min. Recently, I came across a code of ethics for hackers (yes, it really does exist) that I'd like to share with you, because I think it really hits home with ...
3 min. Over the last two years of working with hundreds of clients from all walks of life, I have noticed trends of what my clients want and need. This top ten ...
9 min. The success of strategic investments depends largely on the subsequent moves of competitors. Uncertainty about competitive conduct can lead executives ...
15 min. The CEO helps a transformation succeed by communicating its significance, modeling the desired changes, building a strong top team, and getting personally involved.
POP6 min. Two of today's buzzwords are Team and Teamwork. Those with a particular desire to conform to the spirit of the age portray them as the polar opposite of ...
POP18 min. Looking for inspired leadership, passionate employees, unsurpassed productivity, and grateful customers? Forget the dispirited corridors of corporate ...
14 min. Newspapers have tried a host of measures to halt the long-term decline in their readership, but they haven't stopped consumers from turning to TV and the ...
12 min. Value created by knowledge is often not captured. Five accounts of knowledge strategies.
11 min. Lean Thinking is a highly evolved method of managing an organization to improve the productivity, efficiency and quality of its products or services. The ...
9 min. The global talent war has seen organisational leaders scratching their heads to understand how they can attract and retain the very best talent that is ...
6 min. Plenty are the professionals who are on the "front lines" of the industry, knowledgeable of the countless changes, and who are willing and able to speak ...
13 min. Everything that we do for our clients is based on the idea that improved communications will improve an organisation's performance and contribute to the ...
POP10 min. To get beyond survival and to grow both profits and margins, the successful companies of the future will be forced to become true customer experts.
17 min. Over the next two decades, the country's middle class will grow from about 5 percent of the population to more than 40 percent and create the world's fifth-largest consumer market.
5 min. Should work be fun? Must it be fun? Today, the answer to these questions is mostly yes. What else should it be? Yet however plausible this answer might ...
4 min. "Size is no guarantee of future success." What is strategically important is strength not size. Speed is more important than physical mass and flexibility ...
11 min. Reasons Why You Should Speak at and Attend Professional Seminars
13 min. Of all the findings on business strategy yielded by the study of the businesses in the PIMS? database, the following is one of the most controversial: ...
17 min. How leading-edge companies are streamlining applications development.
POP19 min. Eight emerging trends are transforming many markets and businesses. Executives should learn to shape the outcome rather than just react to it.
6 min. Once companies reach a certain size, setting realistic performance aspirations gets a bit trickier.
21 min. Are you on board with enterprise risk management? You had better be. It's the future of how businesses will be run.
8 min. Gen X-ers want far more collaboration with companies - both as customers and as employees. CIOs are uniquely positioned to help their enterprises meet ...
8 min. Foresee the future, that's what your customers expect, that's what you need to deliver.
4 min. How do you know if the speaker fits? How do you avoid embarrassing mismatches?
9 min. Complexity has been one of the most frequently used words for some years now. People talk about complex systems, complex interrelationships, complex problems ...
20 min. What is success, what is failure, and how can you improve your odds for success?
15 min. Five easy-to-use tools help negotiators in complex deals arrive at a negotiating position that is not only acceptable to them but also palatable to other ...
6 min. Trying to perfect a flawless presentation can result in disaster...
11 min. Growth is necessary, but size is no guarantee of a successful future! Nevertheless, growth is needed. Without growth there is no life. In a certain sense, ...
POP19 min. The art of leading deep corporate change can be learned. The trick is to help each member of the company discover a new reality...
4 min. US Recruiting, Retaining & Developing Talent Statistics & Best Practises
16 min. Services are more difficult to measure and monitor than manufacturing processes are but executives can rein in variance and boost productivity - if they implement rigorous metrics.
POP11 min. Somewhere in Corporate America, a human resources manager is tweaking her company's employee-incentive program. Maybe she's dumping last year's customized ...
28 min. Surprisingly, many organizations lack a proper succession plan. One reason is that they do not have an effective succession planning process. This author ...
7 min. Sometimes we can all use a friendly reminder to keep us from backsliding into old ways of thinking about selling that lead us down the wrong path with potential clients.
16 min. For GCC states, liberalizing the labor market and developing the local workforce are the keys to moving beyond a reliance on foreign workers.
15 min. Further reform will be essential if one of the world?s fastest-growing regions is to seize a broader role in the global economy