AMA’s Art of Marketing Conference: SEO vs PPC

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In yesterday’s blog, I started with the key takeaways from the American Marketing Association’s Art of Marketing Conference I attended on Friday, January 16. Let’s pick up where I left off and continue with some fantastic SEO and PPC insights gleaned. 



SEO vs PPC, Decision Making for the Right Leads
Although this session was titled SEO (Search Engine Optimization) vs. PPC (Pay Per Click), it seemed as though it is not a matter of versus as it is choosing which option is better suited for your case. PPC is faster than SEO, therefore it is better suited to seasonal promotions and allows you to allocate a certain budget to the campaign. But SEO lasts longer and can be more cost-efficient in the long run.

When planning your PPC campaign, the presenter recommended using a “zero budget” approach where you allocate a certain amount of spend per lead until you reach your preordained maximum cost per lead. PPC can also be used to test messaging and ad copy to help determine the best marketing messaging for future campaigns. On the same note, you can inexpensively test keywords and landing pages to optimize future marketing campaigns.

Depending on the type of product that you are promoting, Product Listing Ads (PLAs) can be utilized to increase the likelihood of a consumer clicking on the ad. PLAs are ads that have a picture of the product with price, and are typically used for brands engaging in ecommerce. In addition to PLAs, Google has opened a wide door to other options such as site links, map listings, and remarketing/retargeting ads. All things considered, PPC is quick to set up and quick to track, but at the end of the day, for every one click on a PPC ad, there are 8.5 clicks on an organic listing that has moved to the top of the page rankings thanks to organic SEO.

SEO Effort and Benefit
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Using SEO to increase your page’s chance of appearing at the top of the search engine results can be very fruitful, yet labor intensive (in the beginning). When you average the time and resources necessary for quality SEO, the cost per lead ends up being rather low, but you need to be able to wait for that ROI. SEO is set up in a way where there is significant effort invested in the beginning to build a strong foundation. Once the foundation is laid, SEO becomes more of a maintenance situation, and as effort goes down, SEO benefit goes up.

SEO certainly has a high barrier to entry, and that seems to be the main deterrent for companies not engaging in SEO tactics. But something to consider is that 80 percent of a search engine result page (SERP) are organic listings. And when an individual is searching for something via search engine, they trust organic listings more than a paid ad.

So what is a brand to do? PPC or SEO? If your brand is in the situation where there is a limited budget and in a hyper competitive market that needs to be tested, then only PPC is the ideal tactic to use. However, if budget allows, your brand may want to consider SEO and PPC because the two are not mutually exclusive. PPC data helps build good SEO foundation; therefore, it is ideal that the two tactics be used in conjunction.

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