PPC or SEO? The Ultimate Search Marketing Battle

By Anna Messina, Natural Search Coordinator, Content Solutions

I attended the SES Conference in New York last week and have summarized some of the key points I found interesting from the "PPC or SEO?" session.

The panel was made up of six experts divided up as being advocates for either SEO or PPC. For SEO, there was Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz.com, Todd Friesen, VP Search for Position Technologies, and Rae Hoffman, CEO of Outspoken Media. On the PPC side, there was Rhian Ryan, Sr. Online Marketing Analyst of Earthbound Media Group, and Brad Geddes, Founder of bgTheory.com. (Note: Although for the purposes of this session each person had to pick a “side,” all panelists seemed to be advocates for an integration method of SEO and PPC.) Fishkin mentioned some common point that PPC advocates usually make and then his SEO rebuttal, including:

• PPC has higher conversion rates – PPC may convert more, but SEO brings in 88% of traffic
• PPC is easier to customize – It usually isn’t that easy because it requires more approval, whereas SEO has more freedom in descriptions and titles for pages.
• PPC is much faster – With new natural listings such as Real Time search coming out, SEO is speeding up, showing up on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as fast as a few minutes.
• PPC is great for testing – Fishkin agreed with this point and had no rebuttal.

The rest of the session consisted of audience members as well as panelists asking questions and debating points that supported their respective choice, whether it be PPC or SEO. This included points about seasonality, speed, budget, etc. This ultimately led to the conclusion that companies need to focus on both SEO and PPC, sometimes one more than the other, and sometimes one before the other, depending on the company size, budget, and specific situation.

Overall, it was a very interesting session and provided me with a new perspective into integrated search strategies.


Anonymous said...

Seems interesting. Though seo and ppc may sound simple, it's actually full of complexities when implemented. We don't really have control on Search Engine spiders and user behavior.

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