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November 25, 2008


A very simple answer would be: Depends on the end results you expect from your online marketing strategy. Let’s get down a bit more into the details to understand this dilemma.

Just like planting seeds Organic SEO as an internet marketing strategy requires patience, but the rewards when reaped are plentiful. Although organic optimization is not the first choice for many (depending on the brand and business model) organic search does have inherent benefits that are unparalleled by sponsored or paid advertising tactics. The benefits and results last for longer period.

As per the latest stats on marketing budget spent versus the results : SEO drives 75%+ of all search traffic, yet garners less than 15% of marketing budgets for SEM campaigns. PPC receives less than 25% of all search traffic, yet earns 80%+ of SEM campaign budgets. Surprising?

When you purchase visitors or “clicks” from a search engine, this is called “pay-per-click” (PPC) search engine advertising (or PPCSE). One of the highest recognized PPCSE is Google Adwords. Pay-per-click search engine advertising allows you to quickly leverage search engine traffic by “bidding” (paying) for high-value keywords related to your product or service.

In the other corner we have “Organic” or “Natural” search engine optimization (SEO). Generally speaking, organic SEO consists of optimizing your web pages to enhance their position in the naturally occurring search results. Organic SEO consists of On-page and Off-page optimization.

One of the major reasons for quick adoption of PPC strategy is that it is very similar to traditional paid advertisement strategy and business owners can manage such campaign on their own. Whereas SEO requires a pre-requisite set of skills to ensure your website reaches the top rankings on search engine search through various on-site optimizations and off-site organic search engine optimization strategies. Another reason why businesses, prefer PPC is that they have better control over the entire program and they know exactly how and where their dollar is spent and results for each dollar spent, can be seen through subsequent Ad words report. They also do not have to change their tactics each time the search engines change their algorithms, which can prove a real headache, especially for those who are only interested in quick, short term results. Organic SEO might seem like too much of work, with absolutely no guaranteed results for short term goal seekers.

While a PPC campaign can deliver leads with relative ease, it can be a big money drain and has no real longevity — once you stop shelling out the cash, the website traffic goes away. SEO and link building require a lot more creative effort, but can have more sustainable results. It also allows a business to target a larger base of users, as most studies reveal that 75 – 80% of searchers click on organic listings as opposed to paid listings. As time goes on, web surfers are less prone to clicking PPC links on the right side of Google’s results or in the top sponsored links section.  Why?  In the past web surfers didn’t understand the difference between sponsored and non-sponsored links.  Now web surfers are much more net savvy.  The result is that a growing number of web surfers will click on non-sponsored links on the first page of results because they think: if that site made it into the top ten without paying for it, they must really be the best sites.

So what can you conclude from this:

Organic SEO is fine if you;

  • Have a product that you can dedicate 300-750 words to describe its value.
  • Can exhibit supporting materials images, references and materials that emphasize the products benefits.
  • If you can shroud it in essentially keywords consumers might use to find it in enough frequency, that it can leverage a high-ranking organic search result.
  • This is a good strategy to adopt for lasting results, if you have the patience to hold out for 2-4 months or more depending on your industry & competition, for the benefits to start pouring to your website.

Besides, if you have a product that has a high price point, where there is some wiggle room for how much you are willing to spend to keep the cost per sale within bounds, then by all means pay per click advertising is a viable solution.

During tight credit crunch it is advisable to increase reliance on free organic SEO strategies rather than PPC. A hybrid plan (combination of SEO +PPC) is another alternative for those who seek quick results and suffer from very poor rankings, as SEO will ensure with time regular traffic builds for  your site, while PPC will bring serious buyers to your site through banner ads, to get the ball rolling for your business. Once SEO tactics picks up, the budget spent on PPC can be minimized and then totally withdrawn, if required.

That is the beauty of search engine marketing: Flexibility & control on your marketing budget is far superior to any traditional marketing techniques. Ultimately, the choice is yours…

About Author:

Mark S. is a qualified SEO Expert working with Analtyix Solutions which is a fast growing back-office service company for Finance and Accounting, IT, Marketing and Operational services. Analytix has been doing SEO for websites from various industry verticals like business brokerage firms, outsourcing firms, IT firms, dentists to e-commerce industry. To receive a free SEO analysis of your site contact Mark at