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Paid vs. Organic

what's more important?

12:48 pm on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hello everyone. I am in charge of my company's Internet marketing, and I am new to PPC. We recently started our Adwords campaign and it is working.

My boss is insisting on monitoring our organic results - I agree this is very important - with the intention of removing keywords which rank in the top position from our PPC program.

For example, we rank number one organically for used widgets parts. He therefore instructed me to remove used widgets parts from our PPC keyword list.

Now, this is our most important keyword. When it was active on PPC, it consistently ranked highest for us in impressions and clickthrus. (We just received our Analytics invite, so I don't have data for how many clicks the organic result garner for us.)

My instinct is to disagree with my boss on this matter, but I thought I would run it by you experts first.

Thanks in advance!

1:08 pm on July 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I would disagree with your boss as well. I know that it is tempting for companies to reduce PPC spending when they are doing well in the organic listings, but people are still clicking on the sponsored links. If you name is not up there people will click onto a competitor. They may look at the organic results, the PPC results or a mixture. In fact most people don't seem to know the difference - they just say 'found your website on Google' or something.

Also, I feel that if you have good organic and PPC listings then you get some kind of goodwill effect as people see your domain name more often. This is especially true if you rank on many different keywords that people will search on.

1:14 pm on July 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It’s quite a contentious issue, this one.

On one hand, why pay for clicks when you’re getting them for free anyway? On the other, if you’re appearing twice on a page, surely you’ll get more clicks than if you’re only on once, and if the CPA is good, then what’s the problem?

We have a similar situation with a lot of branded terms – we bid on our company name (a trademark) and appear top in the organic results. As it only costs us (in most cases) 10p, we’d rather have that extra real estate on the page and push a few of our competitors further down below the fold.

I think the best idea would be to track your organic and PPC for a few weeks, then try it without PPC, and see how that affects the number of purchases you're generating.

2:28 pm on July 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I came online planning to ask the same question, but here it is already!

In my case, I get only 5-10% of customers through adwords, so it's very hard to track the "self-compete" factor. If I turn off my campaigns, it might dip a little but that could also be a fluke, or a nice day outside, or anything else.

The main issue is the problems it causes with my campaign tracking. If I spend $1000, and look at my conversion info and see I made $1100, then I think I succeeded and increase my spend. But maybe I would have made $500 in sales for free, so I've really lost $400.

Has anyone tried internally tracking users to quantify this problem? For instance, with a cookie I would know what percent of my users first clicked on adwords, came to my site, backed out, then returned via organic results, and bought something.

4:11 pm on July 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I have clients who are ranking highly organically for the same words we're paying PPC for, and I deliberately keep them that way. In addition to appearing twice on the page, which I don't happen to think is a bad thing, those PPC results are also farmed out to various other sites as part of the Search Network (not to be confused with the Content Network). For example - a very well known medical resource website search shows Google sponsored ads, above their own organic search results, and then possibly Google's organics. We get a lot of conversions from that site, so we want to be there, thus we keep ourselves in PPC for those search terms, even though we may also rank in the top three organically in Google for the same keywords.

Since I use my own tracking system for AdWords and for Organics, I can usually tell how many people come in from each.

In many cases, we get many more visits/conversions from the PPC ads than we do from the organic SERP, even when it's #1 on the page.


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