Is PPC Better than SEO? AND/ALSO
Is PPC Better than SEO? I was thinking one morning about this question regarding one of our clients and how weird it was that PPC always performs better for them than organic SEO. The niche was of a professional services medical nature. While that could be a simple answer to why this was, we have several other clients in similar niche markets that do not perform as well in PPC as SEO. So, there I was perplexed. Recently, because I was trying to figure out this little conundrum, I got into the data on Google PPC and Google SEO. Below are my findings and what I think is a profoundly faster way to implement a mixed PPC and SEO campaign.
I decided to pick the top five keywords that performed well in PPC and look at the same keywords in organic section of Google. The keywords were concentric with the main service and included a local modifier, city in this case. In all 5 instances the PPC keyword brought in more visitors and converted those visitors to clients more than the organic counterparts. The total clicks associated with the organic keywords adjusted for the current trend of 52% click the first page and adjusting for the position of each keyword, should outperform the PPC keywords, but the PPC keywords overshadowed the organic SEO .
SOLUTION PART 1
Why was this happening and how could I fix it? It then hit me, we were using broad match PPC and the SEO was very much phrase match. What this means is if someone searched for “assisted living Houston” they would get the page with the organic results and the PPC campaign. If they searched “inexpensive assisted living around Houston” they would only see the PPC version, because we were not ranked for the longer tail keyword. So, immediately I ran some reports and found all those long tail keywords and began to build content on the site that would rank for those long tail keywords.
SOLUTION PART 2
We also noticed that PPC conversion was better on a page by page basis, because we were using landing pages. We made several changes to the ranking pages and including landing elements that were converting for the PPC pages. We also changed the blog layout so that it had a converting factor on every long-tail page. When running any campaign whether organic SEO or Pay Per Click, good data analysis should always be employed to optimize as you go.
Obviously, the process is ongoing, but organic conversion has improved.
A bit “AND/ALSO” instead of “EITHER/OR”!
And here is the profound part. While PPC is often seen as the quick way to get traffic and rankings, when managed correctly, along with good organic SEO, it can be a valuable tool for finding long tail keywords that convert to customers. As is the case in this niche, it seems that PPC will continue to hold its place in the marketing channel because of the actions of users searching for the product. Without ever trying PPC, we would not have ranked for some highly converting keywords as quickly because the traffic from the PPC enhanced our data and allowed us to make good decisions based on more data than organic SEO could attain in the same period of time. Convincing customers to put a small budget into PPC at the beginning of a campaign could be invaluable from a data standpoint and really help propel the campaign forward.