Sunday, December 13, 2009

What's Better: PPC or SEO?

Who in their right mind would not want to be number one in organic search?

The beauty of the search business for google is, there can only be one number "one". The rest of us have to pay. For all those who can not be number one, there is still hope, eg PPC. When some experts say to use PPC only, it kind of reminds me of all those people who will tell you why it is not all that great to be rich, but I have never seen a rich person wanting to be poor. The best person to ask would be the ones who are already number one on organic search.

The ease and simplicity of PPC, makes it perfect for all those who are not number one. What a great business for the search engine companies.

Organic searches is the engine that drives ALL the PPC business. Without it, there would be no PPC business. Could anyone imagine a search engine that would only present PPC? Would anyone want to use such a product? Has anyone ever built a business plan around this concept, never mind even attempt to market such a product? If you ask me, SEO should always be the first thing you do, but search long and hard for a great SEO company to hire, unless you have the time and money to invest for in house expertise.

To be fair, here are some important advantages for PPC:

- Gives immediate online presence
- Have a new site? Have ads in an hour
- Start getting ROI sooner
- No ramp up time
- Great for seasonal items or time sensitive promotions
- Great for testing
- Easily test effectiveness of new marketing message or site design change
- Quickly gather feedback
- Regulate traffic volume
- Sales pipeline empty? Use PPC to push traffic
- Overloaded? Pause campaigns or cut back spend
- Have limited sales season? Saturate market while demand is high

Some experts believe that although PPC gets 10% of clicks, they get 90% of spend.

Since, there is no clear cut consensus, many believe the most prudent approach is to do both, where you can throttle back one over the other, based on your current results.

By: Nick the SEO guy

Can You "Rank" in Google if Everyone Has Different Search Results?

Personal Searches

Google has extended its personalized search functionality to users who are not even signed in. This goes for Google users around the world, in over 40 languages. What this means is that when you search with Google, it will provide results that are aimed at higher relevancy to the individual user, as opposed to relevancy for the average person.

Although google would like to increase sales and profits, they also have to focus on their customers. It is hard to see how 1 or 2 websites out of thousands of websites being ranked higher on a keyword would have any negative impact on people searching. I doubt the average person will switch to another search engine as a result of this change, and I am sure google would have conducted focus group research, prior to making such an important move. As a result, other search engines are more likely to follow then to buck the trend.

On the other hand, this can have a huge impact on SEO experts, who are trying to get a site highly ranked, if they can not influence the outcome. I am putting anyone who is doing their own seo work in the same category. If as a side consequence, this will force more companies to spend more on PPC to get the same amount of traffic, well all the better for google.

"This addition enables us to customize search results for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser," Google says. "It's completely separate from your Google Account and Web History (which are only available to signed-in users). You'll know when we customize results because a 'View customizations' link will appear on the top right of the search results page. Clicking the link will let you see how we've customized your results and also let you turn off this type of customization."

If you're worried about privacy, Google lets you turn personalized search off altogether. For signed-in users, all you have to do is remove web history from your Google account. For signed out users, click "web history" in the top right corner of a search results page, then click "disable customizations." You can also just clear your browser's cookies.

There are ways to counter google's effect if you are worried about your organic ranking, but these techniques will require a larger investment in organic SEO, making the higher cost of PPC more acceptable and most SEO experts will keep their techniques a secret, so they can use them for their clients only.

By: Nick the SEO guy