SEO is like buying a house whilst PPC is like renting, or is it?

Although I’m principally a big SEO fan I also value Pay Per Click and I really do think it’s a market for both, and in some cases the two markets have a totally different audience. In my personal experience I would always recommend for any new clients to start off doing both, for many reasons:

#1 – Keyword and ad testing
Pay Per Click allows you the best and most in-depth keyword research for you to implement in your organic optimisation. It can also give you an advantage in terms of message testing through the ads, and implementing this throughout your organic optimistation.

#2 – Different audiences
Now this might sound crazy, but I have been known to run PPC campaigns for keywords that my client is already ranking on the first page on the Organic SERPs. Why? It seems that some people simply trust the paid listings more, or just prefers them. This could be for many reasons, the PPC ads are often very precise and to the point. Quite often search marketers spend more time optimising their PPC ad then they do their organic ad (I made that up, it’s basically the title and the meta description tag).

I know I have been guilty of this! With a PPC campaign you are likely to:
a) have the keyword you are bidding for in the actual ad itself b) keep it short but descriptive
c) put keyword in the display URL etc

Using the PPC ad for testing what to use in your “organic ad” is more than likely going to increase your CTR in the organic listings.

Example PPC Ad

All keywords within this ad are related to Saab 9-3 and the convertible and goes directly to a page on the website about relevant offers.

Example Organic ad

It’s very relevant for offer related keywords but could possibly get more click throughs for Saab 9-3 convertible keywords if it actually had Saab 9-3 in the title tag? This might not be the perfect example as my problem with this site was that all the different Saab model offers are on the same page. But you get my drift?

But back to the point, the audience might actually be different too, some people simply prefer the organic results and some prefers the paid results. Sometimes it might actually benefit to actually bid for a keyword you are already ranking for in the organic results. BUT obviously there are also cost issues related to this, for example it wouldn’t make sense to bid for a keyword that costs £3 a click when you are already listed as number one in the organic results. You could, but I wouldn’t. One of my clients does this and it drives me up the wall. Don’t waste your money, obviously this depends how much the potential conversion is worth. If the potential conversion is worth £5k the £3 per click would make sense, doh!

#3 – Increasing traffic and popularity
Having a PPC campaign backing up your online marketing efforts can have a positive effect on your search engine optimisation efforts. Popularity is believed to be part of the search engine algorithms. I have seen this happen over and over again, organic traffic has decreased once PPC activity has paused or stopped. Usually if I have a brand new website on a spanking new domain I would most definitely run a PPC campaign to support the launch and for a good few months until the site is starting to appear within the organic results. Then gradually I would decrease the PPC spend once the organic referrals increased.

# 4 – You won’t ever rank for EVERY keyword/term you want
It’s quite logical that you can’t rank for every keyword/term you want to appear for, with careful research and an ongoing PPC campaign you can determine which keywords makes sense to target organically and which to target in PPC campaigns. Again costs should come into these considerations, example: Let’s say you had to choose between two keywords/terms to optimise a page for on your/your client’s website:

Keyword 1 costs an average of £1 per click on Google AdWords, has an average monthly impression of 3000

Keyword 2 costs an average of £3 per click on Google AdWords, and has an average monthly impression of 5000

Which one should you optimise organically for and which keyword should you whack on your PPC? See where I’m going with this one??

Anyway to sum it up, excluding PPC is just plain stupid, it should be part of your overall online strategy, but if I had to choose between PPC and SEO to invest, it’s buying the house every time!

Ps: for the record, the house analogy means bullocks all coming from someone that is still renting at 29! Ha!

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12 Responses to “SEO is like buying a house whilst PPC is like renting, or is it?”

  1. Julie Joyce says:

    Very well done..excluding PPC is seriously stupid. I had clients who controlled the SERPs basically, but still did massive conversions on PPC. It’s never smart to put all your eggs in one basket.

  2. --;KD says:

    what wron’ with renting a pirate shipset?
    may be random number gen still counts PPC?
    or you may find different ways to conserve CPU power 4someone else like a computer game renting..

    just all about finding way to the closet when dark and noone watchin’ less tv performance..

    to buy a high precision electronic microscope may be $$ investment for purchase just a mono space facility without ANY codecs8

    and now we can find that we all renting our life..
    completely and forever.. until enlightement

  3. jpoyer says:

    I agree with you — for long term investment. … to further extend this metaphor, I think SEO is like building a house. You may have to live in your renter or your on-site trailer and it may take more time than you planned, but if you build, and you do it right, you will have a solid home that is exactly what you want, down to the color of the knobs on your bathroom cabinets. Quite a nice feeling to be “the first owner” as well. … Doesn’t mean you don’t need the landscaping, the fence, the fertilizer and winterizer for your grass, but all those things are secondary to the structure that sits on your property (PPC), but all add value to your home and it’s potential resale value if that is where you are headed.

    BTW, don’t feel too bad about no owning at 29. I got my first new construction at 33 – and it was totally worth the wait! :)

    Just my 2 cents,

  4. [...] SEo Chicks using Richard Kellys Analogy for SEO and PPC – am sure he’ll be well chuffed [...]

  5. Richard Kelly at Dog Digital been saying that SEO is like buying house as his line for ages. Glad to see its getting used all over the place. Now he’ll have to get his thinking hat on and try and come up with another analogy that he thinks is unique to him

  6. I honestly didn’t know that, and here was me thinking I came up with something original, darn! Oh well I suppose it’s just means me and Richard must think alike =)

  7. [...] SEO Chicks |The SEO Blog with attitude SEO is like buying a house whilst PPC is like renting, or is it? (tags: seo) [...]

  8. [...] That’s why I really like this article by Lisa Ditlefsen, where she shares with us 4 reasons to do Pay-Per-Click and SEO at the same time. [...]

  9. Sourav says:

    I am 100% percent with you…SEO will always be the key factor in the long run

  10. Great article, I definetely agree with your findings. Still, there are lots of other reasons why PPC and SEO complement each other.

    One issue you didn’t mention, is the benefit of dominating the SERPs with many individual hits. Through good SEO you may get from two to six of your pages in the organic SERPs. Why not add another hit for your site through the paid ads? This increases the potential for receiving the user’s click as you simply take up more space.

    Research from Enquiro also shows that having a good presence in both the paid and the organic parts of the SERP has a real branding effect as well, more so than just one or the other.

  11. Hei hei Kjartan, A fellow Viking reading SEO Chicks. I like it =)

    That is a very good point Kjartan, targeting keywords you are not dominating in the organic listings in your PPC campaign is a smart thing to do.

    It would be interesting to find out actually whether people would be more likely to press the paid or the organic listing if you were represented in both?

    Thanks for the comments :)

  12. Of course I read SEO Chicks! Nice to see some females making a mark in this industry, and nothing better than a fellow Norwegian. I’ll keep checking for new updates, keep up the good work!

    I think one of the main challenges ahead is to find out how we can utilize the synergies between PPC and SEO even better. The two are so closely related, I think it is time to look at this much more as a whole than two separate issues.

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