Although Im principally a big SEO fan I also value Pay Per Click and I really do think its 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, its 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.
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.
Its 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 wouldnt 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 wouldnt. One of my clients does this and it drives me up the wall. Dont 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 wont ever rank for EVERY keyword/term you want
Its quite logical that you cant 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: Lets say you had to choose between two keywords/terms to optimise a page for on your/your clients 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, its 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!