For years, people in this industry debated the merits of paid search advertising versus organic search marketing.
Which was better?
Which one should you put your resources into?
Honestly, I thought we’d settled this argument a long time ago:
You need both!
But recently, the topic came up again amongst some of my clients.
I can see why. If you weren’t part of the original discussion, this conclusion might not seem so obvious.
Therefore, allow me to use this article to express a few forgotten truths in the SEO versus PPC debate.
1. Paid Search Can’t Replace Organic (& Vice Versa)
Paid search and search engine marketing are different beasts.
One is not a substitute for the other.
Each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Paid search, for example, is really good at driving non-branded traffic to your website.
Here’s a classic PPC scenario: The user knows nothing about your brand. They search for a product they want to buy.
Your ad displays at the top of the search results page. The user clicks on your ad to see what you have to offer.
In so doing, they get more familiar with your brand and move further along the conversion path.
Can organic search do this? Perhaps.
But even the highest ranked organic search result won’t display at the top of the page.
At best, your organic listing will display in the middle of the page.
At worst, your listing will be many pages deep.
Similarly, organic search is really good at driving branded traffic to your website.
A classic SEO scenario: The user knows your brand. They search for your brand name.
Your site shows up at the top of the organic search results. The user clicks on your listing and goes to your website.
Can PPC do this? Yes, which is why you should also bid on brand in PPC.
But what if your ad is the only thing that displays – with no organic listing? That could cause the user to question the legitimacy of your brand. So ideally, you’d have both.
Both of these tools bring strengths to the table. Why wouldn’t you want both of them working for you?
2. Neither SEO nor PPC Is Free
A common argument against PPC is that it’s expensive. You have to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. And if your accounts are professionally managed, you have to pay for that too.
But as any SEO expert will tell you, SEO also takes time, money and expertise.
If you want it done well, you’re going to have to pay for it – whether you’re paying an in house SEO manager or an outside consulting firm. – Read more