The English Speaking Union was the location of the “B2B Marketing Debate” (watch the video!) between SEO and PPC. SEO experts Lisa Ditlefsen, head of search at Base One and Andrew Girdwood, head of search at Big Mouth Media debated with PPC defenders Stuart Small from Google and Simon Norris from Periscopix.
With over £700 million being spent annually on paid advertising within search engines, pay per click (PPC) advertising is often seen as the easy way in to the top spot on search result pages. Easy to change, start, stop and completely transparent, Stuart asserted that PPC was a better, more targeted way to gain leads.
Stuart Small from Google mooted that with 85% of all B2B purchases starting in a search engine, paid search ads were vital to any business. Google sees 80% of searchers clicking on organic results, with 20% of all searches clicking on a search ad.
With SEO perceived as a “black art” taking time, expert knowledge and effort, both Lisa Ditlefsen and Andrew Girdwood tackled the issue expertly, mooting that organic results were often perceived as more directly relevant, with a lower overall cost.
With three times the interest in SEO, paid search ads just don’t generate as much interest. PPC is a “money eating machine” according to Andrew. “People don’t want to put more money in. For B2B campaigns SEO has a definite advantage over PPC.”
Lisa Ditlefsen spoke about how SEO is like buying a house and PPC is like renting. While initial costs may seem larger, SEO is by far the cheaper investment. A well optimised site lasts in the SERPs, while a poor site with PPC lasts only as long as the money.
Simon Norris mooted that organic results were manipulated by devious SEO methods. To counter, Andrew Girdwood argued that Google was excellent at filtering spam out of the index “Google does an excellent job at this. ‘Gaming’ the search engine is just no longer possible the way it used to be.”
Simon also claimed that Google is trying to increase the number of ads clicked on by searchers and that personalisation changes the ads shown based on user intention. “That is not true” said Stuart Small from Google. “Google is very careful about privacy and we do not change ads based on people being logged on to Google. That is completely wrong.”
At the end of the debate, search engine optimisation won. No contest really, considering who was fighting the SEO side