Search engine marketing - why you should SEO and PPC efforts

Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and PayPerClick (PPC) efforts should go hand in hand. You are sacrificing traffic if you aren’t targeting customers in both areas:

• 80% of the time searchers go to the organic results first
• 65% of search traffic goes to the top ten search results
• 60% of searchers click on paid ads sometimes while 12% say they click on them always or most of the time.

Use them together for the most effective marketing strategy:

• Organic SEO is a great long term investment which everyone who is serious about their website should invest in, but PPC can start driving traffic right away. Smart customers will use this to their benefit. Begin SEO and PPC at the same time so you are getting traffic to your site right away, while you wait for your organic rankings start to rise. Once you’ve obtained strong organic rankings, you can reduce your PPC spending, but you shouldn’t stop it altogether.

You should never put all your marketing budget in one basket – it’s too risky. A solid marketing plan should minimize risks and maximize impressions:

• If you have high organic rankings but no paid ads, then you are letting your PPC-savvy competitors steal away some traffic from you because a large percentage of potential customers will click on paid ads too.
• If your organic rankings suddenly take a dive due to search engine algorithm changes and you don’t have a PPC campaign then you are suddenly invisible in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Granted you can start PPC at any time, but if you aren’t familiar with it, it can take some time (even for a professional) to figure out the most-effective PPC strategy for your site.
• If you only focus on paid listings, you are missing out on the 80% of traffic that goes to organic rankings. Also, research indicates that many customers put a higher “trust” level on organic rankings since many customers are aware that those ads are paid for. You may find that your conversion rate for organic rankings is higher than that of your PPC campaign.
• If you only focus on paid listings and suddenly a competitor enters the PPC market with a big budget that you can’t compete with, then you are going to lose your placement and now you are looking at 3-5 months before you can counter that with organic rankings.

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Budgeting

PPC and SEO can be combined to offer an excellent search marketing campaign. Together they can help to maximize web traffic, capture highly targeted visitors, enhance sales, and generate brand awareness. By budgeting wisely, you will be able to use PPC and SEO to their full advantage.

• For new online storefronts or websites, PPC will drive traffic to your site immediately. Based on your budget, a good strategy will be to start using PPC advertising, invest in SEO as soon as you have the funds to invest in it, and begin to taper off your PPC advertising as your organic listings begin to increase.
• From a recent study at the Penn State School of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), researchers found that on more than 80% of searches, study participants went first to the results identified as “organic.” Sponsored links were viewed first less than 10% of the time. A safe bet is to break down your SEO and PPC budget into roughly 70-80% organic SEO and 20-30% PPC. This will help you drive long-term, consistent traffic to your site.
• Set a goal for the amount of traffic you expect to see in a given day. Then, monitor your traffic sources using a quality web analytics program. Turn on conversion tracking code provided by PPC engines like Google and Yahoo!. Information is power. You will begin to see which form of advertising is working best for your industry and your unique situation. When you know where your traffic is coming from and which visitors are converting, you’ll be able to make better marketing decisions.
• Diversify your efforts. Remember that the search engine marketing industry is not limited to these two forms of advertising. Additional options such as blogs, press releases and RSS feeds will help you take advantage of the fact that consumers are first visiting search engines when they are looking to make a purchase.

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