Between a rock and hard place - Search Engine Optimisation or Pay Per Click?
Kritzinger, W.T. & Weideman, M.
Poster in Proceedings of the 12th World Wide Web conference (ZAW3-10). 21-23 September. Durban, South Africa.
Kritzinger, W.T. & Weideman, M. 2010. Between a rock and hard place - Search Engine Optimisation or Pay Per Click? Poster in Proceedings of the 12th World Wide Web conference (ZAW3-10). 21-23 September. Durban, South Africa. Online: http://web-visibility.co.za/website-visibility-digital-library-seo/
The Pay Per Click (PPC) model was launched in 2002 and soon became an option for online marketers in 2002. In PPC marketing the website owner has to pay for every user click on the displayed advertisement. Some of the search phrases are very competitive and therefore can reach a bidding price of as high as R700 per click in South Africa. In contrast, once a webpage has achieved a high ranking through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), clicks are practically free. However, there has been an ongoing debate whether or not an investment in SEO generates a higher return on investment than paying for clicks using a PPC advertising model. Properly executed SEO has proven to have very positive effects on a website's ranking with search engines. Once done, only a major update in search engine algorithms or improvements in competitor websites can negatively affect rankings. Similarly the use of unreliable or downright unsavoury SEO tactics can have the same effect. A recent study on PPC indicates that the average sales value per visitor arriving from a PPC advertisement was 41% higher than that of a visitor from a SEO listing. Furthermore, PPC traffic converted (mere visitors becoming paying clients) at a rate 20% higher than traffic from SEO listings. An extensive literature survey was conducted, covering SEO and PPC with in-depth analysis of both methods. Results indicate that SEO would be most cost-efficient if ranking improvement is not required immediately. In contrast, PPC should be used when improvements are essential in the very short term. Various authors also claim that PPC should be used to target longer key phrases, since the competition for those keywords word be lower and therefore cheaper to bid on. It is clear that both methods have their own benefits and disadvantages. To conclude, each business website is unique and it would be impractical to make a call on the best solution without an in-depth analysis of the website. This analysis should determine their need and make a recommendation on whether to use SEO, PPC or a dual strategy.
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(26 Aug 2010)