Earlier today someone who read one of my previous posts here on LinkedIn asked me a good question:
“Chuck I would be interested in your view of SEO vs. PPC. I've had people tell me the PPC is experiencing high click fraud. I've also been told people tend to shy away from the PPC because they are marked as an advertisement in the search result. Your thoughts?”
Consistent with my policy that “anything worth doing, is worth overdoing” I promptly wrote a novel in the comments section:
Hi Doug, PPC Click-fraud is not really an issue with the main publishers (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). They monitor the IP address of the person who is clicking and will only charge you for the initial click within a certain time period. If someone came back later in the week, that would be counted as a separate session and you would be charged for that click. However that makes it very difficult for someone to do much harm to your budget (they would have to be pretty dedicated to that).
It is true that the top organic search results will typically get more clicks than the PPC ads. However you only pay for the clicks that you get, so it is true “pay for performance”.
The advantage of PPC is a high degree of control over specific keywords and the geo-location of where you come up in the search results. It is also great as a precursor to SEO because you can collect data on which keywords are more effective before investing in SEO.
Generally PPC is a great short-term strategy that can be quickly deployed and accurately monitored. It is also great to test the effectiveness of landing pages and a way to quickly enjoy an increase in revenue. If properly managed and monitored, you can quickly assess your ROI.
The only downside of PPC is that when you stop it… it’s done. However the formula is simple, if you are making more than you spend, keep doing it.
SEO on the other hand is a great long-term strategy. Nothing projects confidence in a company like coming up high in the Google search results and maps listings for a major keyword. Add to that, that you don’t pay for each visitor, it is the Holy Grail of digital marketing.
Ideally you would want to do both, but sometimes that is impractical or cost prohibited.
Hope this helps. If you would like to go over this in more detail, I enjoy talking about it. Let me know if you want to have a casual conversation. I can show you actual examples if you like.