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SEO vs. PPC/PFP
Thoughts would be helpful.
morty

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 8:57 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd be interested in how some of you would answer the question: "Why should I woory about search engine optimization if I am doing sponsored listings?"

I imagine my clients will be asking since I am selling both.

THANKS in advance for your thoughts.

 

deejay

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 9:12 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Think about it in terms of a physical store. Ignoring search engine optimisation is like saying you want customers from Suburb X to come to your store and you're willing to pay their taxi fare every time... but you are not interested in customers from Suburb Y, who you could get for a one off charge for a billboard in their suburb.

TrffcSndrs

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 9:36 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Why should I worry about search engine optimization if I am doing sponsored listings?"

It depends on your client's business model and how their marketing plan integrates with it.

If your potential client is after ROI then sponsored listings offer a good way to determine how much your investment is costing. SEO is more difficult to determine the exact ROI, but it can be done. (Time needs to be factored into both SEO and Sponsored listings) SEO may prove to be more cost effective for high traffic keywords.

If your client wants Brand recognition then you could split sponsored listings into smaller categories: (1)Pay-per-click is great for branding purposes, unlimited impression at 0 cost; (2)Adwords and other programs that use CTR or Pay-per-impression are good for branding but not quite as cost effective. SEO is harder to use for branding, depending on the SE you may not get a great description for your site. You would then have to focus on brand impress when visitor actually hit your client's site.

You need to know what your client is after, in order to help them know what combination is best for them. Time may play a big part of their business plan. How soon do they need to see results.

Personally I think that SEO, Pay-Per-Click, and Pay-per-Impression all work together. Each targets a different market segment. Also remember your client's marketing objectives may change over time.

Websites are created with different purposes in mind, but bottom line is if they are paying someone to do help with their online marketing they are probably in it for the bottom line: overall Profit.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 10:10 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Client: Why should I worry about search engine optimization if I am doing sponsored listings?

Consultant: It all depends. If your budget permits and that is all you are going to do is sponsored listings, then don't worry about it.

Client: Okay. But what's all the hubbub about when I read about search engine marketing?

Consultant: Ah-ha, now we're talking the full spectrum of marketing and not just sponsored listings.

Today's SEO/SEM should have a thorough understanding of basic usability issues, html coding and validation, use of cascading style sheets and web copywriting skills.

Most clients are going to opt for a PFI (pay for inclusion) program also. That's where your skills and talent set will come into play in factoring the overall ROI of the clients online marketing campaign. You still need to optimize content for the web and we're not just talking search engines here. We're talking about usability, functionality, cross platform compatibility, and a host of other issues that need to be addressed in a well rounded search engine marketing campaign.

You need to become a diversified consultant and be able to offer the client added services which will provide balance in the campaign. Get your hat rack ready because you'll be wearing a bunch of different ones in your tenure as a professional search engine marketer! ;)

TrffcSndrs

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 10:47 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

Today's SEO/SEM should have a thorough understanding of basic usability issues, html coding and validation, use of cascading style sheets and web copywriting skills.

Most clients are going to opt for a PFI (pay for inclusion) program also. That's where your skills and talent set will come into play in factoring the overall ROI of the clients online marketing campaign. You still need to optimize content for the web and we're not just talking search engines here. We're talking about usability, functionality, cross platform compatibility, and a host of other issues that need to be addressed in a well rounded search engine marketing campaign.

You need to become a diversified consultant and be able to offer the client added services which will provide balance in the campaign. Get your hat rack ready because you'll be wearing a bunch of different ones in your tenure as a professional search engine marketer!


Great Answer! Morty, if you are creating a list of services to compliment what you already offer, don't forget to think about also including detailed ROI tracking. That is where you can show your client just how good you are at all of the other SEO/SEM services you offer. Most clients expect you to prove your worth, and they expect it to be included for free. Any reporting you do should also help show the client how you are meeting their marketing objectives.

hurlimann

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 11:21 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

SEO is dying but not dead.

3 years ago 100 % of traffic was SEO generated. With PPC the top slots are now flogged off but many users still look past the PPC listings.

We still get business from SE surfers from sites built 4 years ago and on page 2 to 6 of most SE's.

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 11:27 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I tend to believe that a site always dependent on Paid-for... are more likely to feel the pain when things chance.

An exceptionally designed site (whether you call it SEO or just good design) can aspire to being an authority on the topics of interest, thus commanding it's own future.

If Paid-for advertising cost increase dramatically your ROI reduces dramtically. If the Paid-for model changes e.g. Google drops Adwords, and Overture switches to something new where the new design can not meet your needs... your strategy is?

Current search engines offer new customers not loyal customers. And loyal customers only come through good design, and good design is the cornerstone of optimization.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 11:39 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

And loyal customers only come through good design, and good design is the cornerstone of optimization.

Excellent closure. I like that one fathom! ;)

Mike_Mackin

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 11:50 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Current search engines offer new customers not loyal customers. And loyal customers only come through good design, and good design is the cornerstone of optimization.
 

The fathom theory is THE NEW DEAL :)

hurlimann

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 11:58 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I disagree: Loyal customers ( ie repeat customers ) come from great service and great prices: Online or off.

That said great design is vital for image and new customers.

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 12:17 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Semantics aside... great service and great prices are a bit subjective.

There is a least one company (using PPC) which offers submission services to 300,000 search engines, for a mere $29.99 and they do everything they promise.

Great service, great prices... zero "return customers" - don't figure.

SEO vs. PPC/PFP implies online, I think?

TrffcSndrs

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 2:12 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Current search engines offer new customers not loyal customers

I agree. Search Engines, Pay-per-click, Banners, and other similar forms of traffic only fulfill the prospecting step in any sales cycle.

I thought that prospecting methods was the focus of this thread. Any discussion about service, price, ad copy all focus on different steps in the sales cycle.

They are all important when considering ROI, but they really don't help a discussion about prospecting (SEO vs. PPC/PFP) When comparing prospecting methods it is all about the number of visitors that get to your site. Methods of pre-qualifying visitors(prospects) which impact ROI is a big part of prospecting.

Morty, remember it depends on what your client is trying to accomplish as to which prospecting methods are best. If you are trying to pre-qualify prospects than sponsored listings give the ability to better control the listing's description. But in terms of raw traffic, SEO may have an advantage over the long term.

3 years ago 100 % of traffic was SEO generated. With PPC the top slots are now flogged off but many users still look past the PPC listings.

I agree that SEO is getting more difficult.

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 7:49 am on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

TrffcSndrs brings up some great points.

Both SEO and PPC service models have their advantages and disadvantages.

PPC Advantages

PPC is easy - you need not alot of knowledge and skills to develop fruition. A great advantage to someone who does not have the time to learn optimization or the upfront to paid for it.

PPC is direct market access - limited competition for eyeballs

PPC is exceptional for short term specials, holiday promotion, etc.

PPC has no middleman to rely on for performance

PPC highly adaptive to market trends (e.g. last week "widget" was hot - this week "widgets" is)

PPC is near-real time no monthly waiting to produce results

PPC is highly cost effective (e.g. can produce 3000% return on investment)

PPC is highly effective in controlling market saturation (e.g. - out of inventory - immediate ads drop). Powering down your web site in other model can have long lasting negative effects. Noting that telling already paid customers they need to wait 3 week is very bad.

PPC Disadvantages

Paying for the entry when you don't have the necessary products for the buyer (e.g. using "software" when the only software you have is a Windows 3.1) and few qualified visitors

Using informative phrases that offer signifcant clicks but possibly 95% of click are "free information seeking" only and never buy.

Quick loss of placement in favor of someone else willing to pay more than your budget allows.

Stuck with the model - when the search engine adapts to a new scheme you "must" meet/match their Terms of Service and/or changes.

If PPC is the only service used - you will never be an authority web site on anything - and authority defines - market trust, and your credibility.

PPC never allows the web site owner to truly fault find problem areas of the web site.

PPC favors big business with large marketing budgets.

SEO Advantages

SEO has incredible ROI. Mostly pay per work - thus per thousand conversion cost per unit sold is less. PPC this goes up and up.

SEO is ongoing designing. Ranked performance is a measurement in itself of how good the site is (as a whole).

SEO is highly adaptive to market diversity. (e.g. a single user that conducts a deep search finds you, identifying new opportunities to expand. (with PPC your stuck with your own knowledge of markets, and/or the engine's ability to distinguish commonality). Five words on the page can match perfectly to a query not ever considered.

SEO is developing authority status - which is directly associated with brand. Many believe branding is reserved for Microsoft or IBM but brand equates to quality - thus no brand potential you have no quality recognition.

SEO in the long-term in more cost effective - as time passes cost reduces. With PPC cost only go up not down.

SEO is more adaptive to search engine changes (medium changes). An algo tweak - can be quickly observed and countered.

SEO provides growth and theming - back to design - to rank high a site must be developed with the market in mind with lots of informative content which develops links, which develop enhanced preformance which develops more links, and so on.

SEO puts the web site owner in the drivers seat - PPC puts the engine in the driver seat.

SEO has a better chance of delivering return customers. You must really think about what the market wants. With PPC it's more what the company wants.

SEO Disadvantages

SEO normally has a relative long time to market. (can not be achieved in a day, a week and sometimes months).

SEO is a process of adjustments (tweaking) and more dependent on competitive landscape.

SEO normally requires a knowledgeable third party who may or not be what they appear (e.g. not very good).

SEO can be a disastrous overnight. (penalties, bans) which really sucks since the time to market was long.

SEO can be very expensive upfront.

SEO has a long learning curve and with many abrupt changes where the site's owner can drop quickly from page 1 to page 100.

SEO effects are not immediately seen thus something completed 3 months ago can be mistaken for changes made last week.

And lots and lots and lots of mis-information available that can have a site owner going in the wrong direction - where recover is near impossible (have a new client that did this - then abrupt changes directions, and now the site makes no sense).

I tried to be as unbiased as possible - in the end using both has many merits.

webdiversity

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 10:35 am on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I like to think of the entire marketing function that is met by SEO/PFI/PPC. The important things are what have been mentioned before.

A PPC campaign will not work for a poorly designed site without the right call to action messages.

Think of all of the solutions as pieces of a jigsaw, virtually 100% of the time a solution should include:

- pre-action consultancy to decide on objectives and confirm that the web site is up to the task. If not, get that part of the jigsaw put in place as early as possible.
- implementation - put in place the things that will deliver the objectives in the most cost effective and time efficient way (this is fast becoming hybrid campaigns of SEO/PFI/PPC)
- monitoring and analysis of activity from all sources with a seperate ROI calculation for each, as well as an overall ROI calculation
- review regularly to check that the objectives remain the same and the message is consistently hitting the mark. PPC has a habit of going stale if you don't look at your ads regularly.

The difference betwen SEO and PPC is the buy vs. lease factor. PPC is a bit like having an expensive habit (shopping, drugs etc..) - it will become more expensive to feed it as the demand increases, so the more advertisers become aware of it, the more it will cost to do (this is borne out by Overtures average CPC rising from 21 cents to 36 cents in a year). If you can't afford to pay for it anymore then you will definately go cold turkey if there is no fall back.

TrffcSndrs

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1311 posted 3:45 pm on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree a lot with what both fathom and webdiversity said.

However, I have always seen a couple of disadvantages as advantages and some advantages as disadvantages.

Both SEO and PPC service models have their advantages and disadvantages.

PPC Advantages

PPC is easy - you need not alot of knowledge and skills to develop fruition. A great advantage to someone who does not have the time to learn optimization or the upfront to paid for it.

PPC is direct market access - limited competition for eyeballs

PPC is exceptional for short term specials, holiday promotion, etc.

PPC has no middleman to rely on for performance

PPC highly adaptive to market trends (e.g. last week "widget" was hot - this week "widgets" is)

PPC is near-real time no monthly waiting to produce results

PPC is highly cost effective (e.g. can produce 3000% return on investment)

PPC is highly effective in controlling market saturation (e.g. - out of inventory - immediate ads drop). Powering down your web site in other model can have long lasting negative effects. Noting that telling already paid customers they need to wait 3 week is very bad.

PPC Disadvantages

Paying for the entry when you don't have the necessary products for the buyer (e.g. using "software" when the only software you have is a Windows 3.1) and few qualified visitors

Using informative phrases that offer significant clicks but possibly 95% of click are "free information seeking" only and never buy.


This plays a big role only if you are not tracking conversions from initial contact through to closing the sale. If you know where your Sales are coming from as opposed to where the "tire kickers" come from. You can eliminate a lot of the dead weight.

Quick loss of placement in favor of someone else willing to pay more than your budget allows.

Stuck with the model - when the search engine adapts to a new scheme you "must" meet/match their Terms of Service and/or changes.

If PPC is the only service used - you will never be an authority web site on anything - and authority defines - market trust, and your credibility.


Becoming an authority real depend on the preception of the visitor. A lot of people don't distinguish between a sponsored listing and a algo listing. Some people have even commented that they thought the sponsered listing gave some credibilty because they figured that if they can pay for advertising then they must be making money, and not just a fly by night operation.

PPC never allows the web site owner to truly fault find problem areas of the web site.

Depends on your focus and how you are tracking visitors. Sometimes the problem with low sales is poor ad copy, neither PPC nor SEO will help determine why prospects don't buy. You have to monitor page abandonment to know what is going on, and that is no longer at the prospecting stage in the sales cycle.

PPC favors big business with large marketing budgets.

Depends on the ROAS/ROI and the keyword popularity you are competing for.

SEO Advantages

SEO has incredible ROI. Mostly pay per work - thus per thousand conversion cost per unit sold is less. PPC this goes up and up.


This is the biggest advantage by far

SEO is ongoing designing. Ranked performance is a measurement in itself of how good the site is (as a whole).

SEO is highly adaptive to market diversity. (e.g. a single user that conducts a deep search finds you, identifying new opportunities to expand. (with PPC your stuck with your own knowledge of markets, and/or the engine's ability to distinguish commonality). Five words on the page can match perfectly to a query not ever considered.


This gives excellent feedback for what the market is looking for.

SEO is developing authority status - which is directly associated with brand. Many believe branding is reserved for Microsoft or IBM but brand equates to quality - thus no brand potential you have no quality recognition.

PPC is also a great branding tool. If someone just saw your listing without clicking on it, you just got your name out in front of them for free. Unless a brand is a household name, most people don't know who the authority is. Although if they see your company's name everywhere, they may assume that you are the authority.

SEO in the long-term in more cost effective - as time passes cost reduces. With PPC cost only go up not down.

SEO is more adaptive to search engine changes (medium changes). An algo tweak - can be quickly observed and countered.

SEO provides growth and theming - back to design - to rank high a site must be developed with the market in mind with lots of informative content which develops links, which develop enhanced preformance which develops more links, and so on.


Good points.

SEO puts the web site owner in the drivers seat - PPC puts the engine in the driver seat.

I have always felt that I had more control over PPC then over SEO. If I don't like that way I am listed, I can change it, or kill an ad at the click of a few buttons. If I don't like what the engine is doing, I can stop using them. SEO can also give a lot of control, but you have to know what you are doing to get it right.

SEO has a better chance of delivering return customers. You must really think about what the market wants. With PPC it's more what the company wants.

I always felt that it is more the quality of your site along with your reputation and level of service that determines return customers.

SEO Disadvantages

SEO normally has a relative long time to market. (can not be achieved in a day, a week and sometimes months).

SEO is a process of adjustments (tweaking) and more dependent on competitive landscape.

SEO normally requires a knowledgeable third party who may or not be what they appear (e.g. not very good).

SEO can be a disastrous overnight. (penalties, bans) which really sucks since the time to market was long.


Big issues, but if you are careful they can be minimized.

SEO can be very expensive upfront.

SEO has a long learning curve and with many abrupt changes where the site's owner can drop quickly from page 1 to page 100.

SEO effects are not immediately seen thus something completed 3 months ago can be mistaken for changes made last week.


A lot of potential clients see these as huge issues.

And lots and lots and lots of mis-information available that can have a site owner going in the wrong direction - where recover is near impossible (have a new client that did this - then abrupt changes directions, and now the site makes no sense).

I tried to be as unbiased as possible - in the end using both has many merits.

review regularly to check that the objectives remain the same and the message is consistently hitting the mark. PPC has a habit of going stale if you don't look at your ads regularly.

If you are not paying attention your competition may just run you over.

A PPC campaign will not work for a poorly designed site

No form of prospecting can help a poorly designed site. If you don't offer what people want, you wont make many sales.

Neither SEO nor PPC are free, you still have to pay for bandwidth and data transfer; but, you can minimize your overhead.

There are reasons to use each method, just like there are reasons to using other forms of prospecting: email, banners, and other online marketing.

You have to know what your client's goals are, and then you can match it up with the best combination of marketing tactics and methods.

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