When I got into PPC in 2006, it was seen as SEO’s poor cousin.
At that time, that probably made sense – after all, the ads were just text ads on the right hand side of the search results page.
Nowadays, paid listings take up around 85% of the first fold of Google results. And that – combined with Google’s crackdown on SEO link building – has, in my opinion, turned the tables and made PPC the superior choice.
And here are 11 reasons why…
#1: Adwords Ads Get More Clicks Than Organic
A 2012 study by Wordstream showed that, for highly commercial search terms – the sorts of terms you’d SEO for – sponsored listings take up 85% of the space on the first fold of Google’s search results page. And that 64.6% of clicks are on paid listings.
So paid clicks outnumber “free” clicks almost 2-1.
#2: Shopping Ads
These are the ads you see with a picture of the product and the price.
In a recent study, these ads were responsible for 56% of non-brand clicks. This is because those listings get clicked on 130% more often than standard text ads.
Not only that, but conversion rates were 30% higher than non-brand text ads.
#3: Instant Long Tail
Because of the way phrase matching works, PPC allows you to cover all the relevant long tail keywords without extra work.
Adwords allows you to have preferential access to, not only your past customers, but also to people who have previously visited your website. And you can do this on both Google search and on the Google display network.
#5: Partner Network
If you use Adwords, you’ll have heard of Google’s “Partner Network”. That’s made up of small search engines that use Google’s results (such as AOL), as well as trusted sites that run Google ads (such as Gumtree).
These sites can drive huge amounts of traffic to your site.
Obviously, you can target the former with SEO, but you need Adwords to target the latter.
#6: You can test and optimise
Because you can test different ads, you can discover what your market responds to. Your ability to do that with SEO is very limited.
How important is this? Well, when split-testing Adwords ads, it’s fairly common find an ad that has double or triple the clickrate of your original ad.
That’s 2 or 3 times the traffic you started with.
#7: PPC is easier to learn
Because you’re working with Google, rather than trying to “game” Google, PPC is fairly straightforward. A good book (e.g. “Adwords for Dummies”) will teach you enough to get started and see results.
#8: Lower up front costs
SEO requires up-front costs: you need to invest either a lot of time, or a lot of money before you see results. With PPC, there’s none of this. You only pay AFTER you get the traffic.
#9: PPC is free (sort of)
PPC, when profitable, doesn’t cost you money. Instead, it brings in new customers at a profit. That means you have both more customers (who you can resell to) AND more money.
#10: You stay out of the zoo
In order to stay ahead of SEOs trying to game the rankings, Google is regularly messing SEOs around with algorithm changes – with cutesy names like “Panda” and “Penguin”.
(Though, I bet those names aren’t so cute if your site gets hammered and all your organic traffic disappears).
Because paid advertising doesn’t involve the cloak and dagger approach used by most SEOs, there are far fewer algorithm changes. (And the changes are far more transparent.)
#11: …And out of shark infested waters
There are some good SEOs out there. There are also a hell of a lot of rogues.
Unfortunately, the best SEOs tend to be expensive and are often booked up for months at a time. So, if you’ve just hired an SEO, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to regret it.
I hope these 11 reasons have given you an increased appreciation of what PPC can do for your business.
With SEO being both a shrinking pie (getting less and less of the search results page), and increasingly difficult to do, I think it makes sense to build your business on paid advertising.
And, of course, if you’d like help with that, you know how to find me.
All the best,
PS This isn’t intended to be “anti-SEO” article – both are valid forms of marketing, and I believe that, once you have success with PPC, it makes sense to add SEO to your marketing mix.