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SEO vs PPC Advertising

choosing between seo and PPC advertising

3:48 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone,

I have developed the website of the company I am working for and I am now building the entire company's information system (ordering, invoicing, etc...)

We believe that the Internet can be a great source of leads for us and this is why we created an online quotation system that allows us to get from 3 to 6 requests of quotations from our website visitors a day.

Our goal: increase our ranking in the search engines. Our problem: I don't have much time to spend on SEO.

I have built my site in the most SEO friendly way (css, alt tags, titles, etc. etc. etc.), but our rankings are still low.

I read that we should increase our PR (2) through linking campaigns, but I don't have the time to go through hundreds of directories, submit our link and check after some days to see if it got listed.

I also know that SEs like fresh content, but we don't have the time to develop new content everyday.

This is why I was thinking about forgetting SEO and moving our attention to PPC Advertising.

Given your experience in this field, do you think that's a wise decision for a small company that doens't have to much time to dedicate to SEO? (I can work on SEO 2 days a month at the most)

I thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge.

5:25 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Do both. Even a small perod of time doing SEO can have big bennefits.

You may pick up some PR without spending an enormous amount of time.

Contact the firms that you do business with as a company and see if any of those will provide a link to your site.

Ask all of your firm's employees to include a link to the company's site, if they have personal web pages.

Companies are always getting hit up for small contributions to local baseball teams, scouts, charities. Pay attention to which ones include a mention and link on their web site.

And, welcome!

5:32 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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SEO = time and experience
PPC = money and time and experience

Most small businesses have less money than time. While it is easy to understand the impulse to think SEO is less-valuable due to the amount of time it takes to (a) do the SEO, (b) wait for the spiders and rankings, (c) do more SEO and (d) continue, the results can often propel your site into "cash cow" status.

PPC campaigns require time and effort, too. You can easily spend a fortune without generating conversions if your ads are poorly written or badly targeted. Most PPC campaigns are a continual adventure in marketing psychology and budget juggling.

An advertiser who only runs PPC ads but pays little attention to SEO will spend a bunch of money while attempting to convert visitors who don't trust them as much as they do those advertisers who have both a well-placed PPC ad and a good natural SERP. The SERP tells the visitor that the site really is relevant to what they seek, and the PPC ad tells the visitor that the site operator is dedicated. Both together provide a level of trust that a PPC ad alone simply cannot inspire.

IMHO, start a smallish PPC campaign and really put the effort into doing the SEO. The PPC campaign will likely increase your traffic, the click-throughs will increase your authority with Google, and your site will develop some natural inbound links as a result. You can start a very modest link exchange program and hone it over time. All of those will help your SERPs while providing traffic and possibly conversions.

In this case, time is greater than money ... money-wise.

5:58 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I feel your pain when it comes to time spent on the web projects. I can't seem to find enough time either. And still not able to prove to my company that it would be worth our while to hire an SEO specialist to do it for me. But one thing I have found out is, if you plan to use ppc because it will save you time, think again. Browes this forum and see what Google has done to us with their new system. Many complaints of "I don't get it" and "this don't make sense". I spend more time now dealing with Google adwords than I ever did fiddling with SEO stuff on our site. Maybe it's just me getting that impression so after you have a look around, let me know what your opinion is on that.

As for choosing between the two, do what SFReader says. BOTH. If you can afford it, and you really want to avoid spending all your time on it, hire some one that does it for a living (many good SEO firms out there and some even participate in these forums).

If you're a do it yourselfer, well, be warned, you're gonna be by yourself for a loooong time. :-)

Good luck and welcome to Webmaster World.


6:36 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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thanks to all of you for your precious contribution.

I do agree that SEO + PPC is the best strategy. And I do think that it's foolish to do PPC if you don't know what you're doing. I already read a good book about it to teach me the basics and some advance stuff. Still, it requires a lot of work to fine tune a campaign and to get real results.

I was talking about this to one of my colleagues and we both agreed that we'll keep doing some SEO while starting some PPC Advertising. Hey, I just found out a great forum where I can discuss my problems and maybe share my experience, so... why shouldn't I use Adwors? :-)

We was thinking about creating a link exchange program, but... Do these things really work? I mean, I would gather links from companies that are not necessarily related with mine. I thought that google considers for PR purposes only those links which comes from related sites (in the same field).


7:33 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Here's a few questions regarding PPC that you will definitely need to ask yourself.

1. What are the profit margins on my products that I will be advertising?

Too many times people start an Adwords account with 5 and 10 dollar items to sell, then when they get a lot of leads, even a lot of good conversions, they realize that it is not worth the incurred costs.

2. Is what I am advertising a service or goods?

Remember that you usually have to ship goods, another incurred cost.

3. How competitive is my market?

Our company pays upwards of $4.00 a click in some cases. I know others who have $15.00 and $20.00 keywords. Best to ask around and see what you are getting ready for in your industry. A friend who has done your sector PPC already is INVALUABLE.

4. What do I offer that my competitors don't?

If your industry is pretty standard regarding what you can offer than you won't have an edge over your competition, and therefore will not be able to use those benefits to make your ads stand out (unless you are extremely sharp in the area of marketing). However, you should still spend some time prior to getting started to build a keyword list, then look at the ads that others are using on those keywords. At least it will give you an idea.

5. Content network On or Off?

The one mistake that dooms newbies more than any other.

You could always submit some URLs on your site to Yahoo Search Submit. That's like SEO and PPC rolled into one. Your best bet for straight up PPC though is deinitely Adwords. We use both but you shouldn't at the beginning.

There are some tricks too to making your ads convert better, like Dynamic Insertion (used properly) and Display URL strategic capitalization. Just stay on this forum and don't be afraid to ask questions. We're all WAY too happy to give answers. Your only concern should be figuring out which answers are good and which are complete drek.

Good luck and welcome to WebmastWorld!

10:47 pm on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yes, welcome to WebmasterWorld, Vido!

What a great thread. This is the sort of thread that makes me happy and proud to be a part of this community.


12:29 am on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am in the same shoes as you are. Having been lurking around this forum for awhile, I finally decided to join the party.
As far as the PPC goes, my major finding is that you really need to be able to control the costs and make sure that they do not go over your profit margin. After about two years of on and off toying with Adwords, I think now I am getting it.
It's a numbers game, you see.

The cool feature that I've recently discovered are the custom reports feature. The conversion section can tell you much about what keywords are earning you money and what are loosing you money. Plus, you can have them mailed to your e-mail, so you don't have to login each time to adwords to check your stats.

Good luck with sales!

3:19 am on Oct 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Memo for myself: spend more time on this forum. :-)

#1. What are the profit margins on my products that I will be advertising?
The products we sell are high technology products that have a good profit margin. Our prices range for some thousands euros to tens of thousands euros. One day we sold a 80.000 Euros product by closing a deal with a customer that asked for a quotation one hour before.

#2. Is what I am advertising a service or goods?
A good. True, shipping costs do count.

#3. How competitive is my market?
16 millions results on our main keyword. Several Adwords ads already displayes. Don't know yet the average CPC.

#4. What do I offer that my competitors don't?
Online quotation system that allows people to configure their product and receive their quotation in a short amount of time. We have a site structured in product families that resemble an ecommerce site even though we don't have a checkout process and we are still trying to give it a more "institutional site" look. We are constantly improving the User Interface and trying to make the call to action bolder. The landing pages are directly related to the product we would be advertising. The cool thing about Adwords is that we would be setting a campaign for each product and get listed for those products that now do not appear in the engines. We would turn off the campaigns for those product that don't sell on the internet and keep alive those that do convert eventually to sales (as long as ROI is acceptable).

#5. Content network On or Off?
I would definitely say off in our case. Plus the CTR on those is very low, I heard. Wouldn't be a wise choice in the beginning, it would lower our minimum CTR.

I have never used Adwords before, but I do agree with you when you say it's a number game. We already have in place a system that will allow us to track exactly with keywords give us the most quotations request and those that actually convert to sales (can be that a keyword produces a lot of quotation requests but those don't convert to sales, right).

Thanks again for your help.

1:28 pm on Oct 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have been doing this a long time. SEO is bull#*$!. You Get what you pay for. Google has a vested interest in makeing SEO guessing game where nobody wins. SEO will get you some results but the expense and time required are only worth it if you have done your homework with Adwords. Most of the time I do SEO and Adwords on the same keywords 80% of my traffic comes from Adwords. Even when I have a #1 ranking in natural search most of my traffic comes from adwords. The key to adwords is knowing what you are doing. If you have a high margin item you have to ask yourself why you would want to give up any traffic at all to a competitor? Secondly you have to ask yourself why Google now has three adwords ads running at the top of the page this year as opposed to two last year? SEO is a fun and exiting game that involves considerable risk. To get a high rank you must rent text links. Renting text links is a risky process because Goolge clearly does not like this. If your product is a high margin product I will work for you on a pay per lead basis.
6:06 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would watch it with the link campaigns- google's guidance to webmasters is explicitly against vaguely defined "linking schemes", and some webmasters have expressed suspicion that they've been penalized for reciprocal linking... at the very least, it could turn out not to be worth your time.

It's difficult for an unknown site to get one way links to it 'naturally', but while doing your SEO and PPC, you might include code that makes it easier to "link to us".

10:09 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm a fan of doing both.

Organic ranking for the sake of ranking does not mean sales, it just means traffic.

Run a PPC campaign to find out what words (and design) convert visitors.

Once you know what words are converting traffic into sales, then your SEO dpt should be able to leverage that information in knowing which words you want to rank for.

Two two can be run complimentary of each other, not exclusive. Leverage the strengths and weaknesses of each type of traffic to help the other one out - not to compete with each other.