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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Article - Pay per click versus search engine optimisation

I've been following (and contributing) to an article running on a website developers forum about pay per click (PPC) versus search engine optimisation (SEO) as a means of attracting customers.

The main attributes of PPC seem to be:
Quick / instant response to advert leads to instant traffic.
Easier to target at potential customers.
Resulting sales often provide return enough to continue campaigns.

However, PPC has been identified as:
Being expensive depending on key words sponsored.
Liable to click fraud or other abuse.
High cost, shortt term gain stratergy.

On the other hand, SEO provides:
Opportunity to attract visitor with specific information
Cheaper - SEO is not free (unless you do it yourself).
No previous budget required.

However, SEO can be:
Expensive if you use SEO agencies.
Slow to build campaigns.
Slow to attract large amounts of customers.

As with all arguments where people sit on both sides of the fence, both methods were recommended, although a valid point was made that SEO if you do it yourself in 'spare time' is free and therefore offers the maximum return.

When you look at it logically, with so many companies chasing top spot on the search engines, either through PPC or SEO, its no wonder thhat many companies and individuals fall well outside the first few pages on either method.

If you have a budget for PPC, then it can kick start a campaign and get you noticed enough to bring repeat business. It depends on your market place, your customer and your goods or services you sell.

With SEO, there is much you can do yourself - target particular keywords relatively unchallenged and offer visitors a 'landing page' dedicated to that search topic.

SEO is a lot about patience. Build a network of links, articles, blogs, news feeds and of course a well written web site and eventually you'll reap the rewards.

If you can't wait, then PPC is for you. However, you can maximise your budget by 'sponsoring' key phrases and words that are particular to your business or product. Avoid general search terms like 'double glazing' if you are a specialist joinery company e.g. as you will probably get a lot of clicks but not many enquiries.

Write your adverts with the search phrase in mind. Be specific - don't be afraid of it as the more specific you are, the more chance you have of attracting the right sort of click - one that converts to a customer or repeat visitor.

Google provide a wealth of data on PPC campaigns - click thru rates and impressions. Use this data to adjust your campaign as you go along and don't be afraid to admit you got it completely wrong and start again. Rather that than line Googles pockets needlessly.

There are lots of forums out there talking about nothing else - PPC or SEO???? take as many in as you can and draw your own conclusions based on your target audience, your product and your time frame for response.

Purple 13 Webmaster

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