Can PPC Outperform SEO?

Can PPC Outperform SEO? post thumbnail image

SES Chicago recently held a debate on the issue of PPC and SEO. Some of the results were quite interesting. As web site owner, you may wonder if one does outperform the other. Generally speaking, the recommendation would be to undertake both since PPC can provide an instant source of traffic and SEO can help to deliver long term traffic.

On reading some of the points from the debate you could come away with the feeling that PPC outperformed SEO in most areas. In some ways it does too except when it comes to cost. For some keywords, long term SEO can be a much better performer. PPC does have some distinct advantages, particularly for new sites.

PPC will provide almost instant traffic and that traffic will be fairly targeted if you use the right keywords. PPC is also a good tool for testing keywords to see which ones convert more than others. This can then be linked to an SEO program to target organic traffic based on high converting keywords.

Where PPC is going to gain an advantage over SEO in the future is in areas where search is becoming blurred. This is starting to happen now with search engines such as Google basing search results on user habits rather than purely relevance to the search term itself. Ranking highly for a particular keyword could count for nought if that keyword has a lot of variable results.

Over time, the benefits gained by PPC can start to diminish as organic search results start to appear. What hasn’t been compared in this argument is other forms of marketing including social media marketing (SMM). The long term solution is to undertake a blended approach where PPC, SEO and SMM are combined together. Some claim this to be blended SEO, others claim it to be blended marketing – which ever phrase you wish to use, for most online businesses the blended approach will, over time, outperform any single approach.

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