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SEO Vs. PPC – Two Branches of Your Site’s Military

December 22nd, 2009 | | Conversion Optimization, ppc vs seo

One of our counterparts over at PPC Hero, Brian, actually drummed up the courage to compare PPC to SEO. Maybe he’s just flexing his knowledge. Maybe he thought he could sneak this one past me while I laid sprawled out along pool furniture during my annual Ft. Myers, FL holiday vacation. But what he doesn’t realize is that I just purchased a broadband card for my laptop. And because of it I am able to defend my SEO brethren from anywhere I get 3G coverage.

And so the debate begins…

Brian Connelly is right in his supporting points. PPC is about Speed, Testing, and Control. This approach can be valuable cross-platform. I recommend reading his post.

But in the end, a site’s success – its traffic and conversion – isn’t a matter of “PPC vs. SEO” so much as it is “PPC & SEO.” To speak in military terms, PPC is perfect for reconnaissance. If you have the ways and means, it’s almost silly of you not to use a PPC campaign. All the keyword research and competitor analysis in the world won’t tell you what terms will work best for you as well as your own internal data. And PPC can provide this. Planning a PPC test budget and implementing a PPC campaign is great for not only seeing where the traffic comes from but, more importantly, where the profitable traffic will come from. Once you have that invaluable data in house, perform a competition analysis on these terms, conduct a feasibility study on what it will take for your sites pages to rank for these terms. With this analysis, you now have the groundwork for SEO content themes by which you may now begin your final assault on the search engines.

PPC is both reconnaissance and the first line of attack – the information gathering, long range missiles, and the bombings; SEO is the force behind the site itself – the invading army.

This is why I am a fan of Inbound Marketing. Their approach isn’t so much which discipline works better so much as using whatever works to make your site a valuable tool in your arsenal. Regardless of whether it’s PPC, SEO, Social Media, Blogging, or email marketing, the focus is on the site not the disciplines. In the end, we’re all on the same team – not that a little competition isn’t helpful once in awhile.

And if you read the PPC Hero article, you’ll see that in the end, we both come to similar conclusions.

Happy Holidays goes out to everyone, especially to the members of our armed forces both home and abroad who keep our boarders safe. We know we aren’t able to do what we do were it not for you sacrifice. Thank you!

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  • http://ppchero.com BC

    I’m sure that the PPC marketers who read your articles (I’m assuming I’m not the only one) will appreciate that you’ve essentially equated them with the Army Special Forces in the search army hierarchy you’ve created. While everyone is working toward the same goal, they have more specialized skills and do things and go places you can’t. Excellent observation, Finn.

  • Eric

    You are right. It’s both not either/or. I have one competitor that just has a one-page website and throws money at PPC without touching his site bidding a keyword I also optimize for. He pops up there, then goes away and then pops up again. It depends on how much cash he can rustle up that month. Meanwhile, nothing is being done to his site.

  • http://RussellHerder Neil James

    I think you’re dead on with your article. That said, to further your military analogy, I think SEO is far scarier than PPC. PPC can be switched off with a click whereas you might easily dump a boatload of resources into SEO and find out a capricious change in Google’s algorithm rendered a significant component of your efforts in vain. You might suffer real damages. Similarly in a military campaign, who knows what you’ll encounter when the general orders the troops into battle, and the consequences are very real.

    At the risk of being self promotional, we did a similar take on our blog, comparing SEO and PPC in terms of gym memberships versus splurging on new clothes. Check it out at http://blog.russellherder.com/rh_blog/2009/12/how-to-become-an-sem-supermodel-through-ppc-and-seo–when-was-the-last-time-somebody-called-your-business-saying-they-found-y.html

    Great read!

    Neil James

  • http://www.trazavirtual.com diseño web

    Both they are very necessary and they must go in line together like part of a marketing strategy. At the outset he is recommendable to use PPC to obtain immediate results, while the positioning in finders works.