Several good articles have been posted recently on the pros and cons of PPC versus natural search engine optimization. One from SearchViews blog, “SEM vs. SEO: Strengths & Synergies” and another from Internet Retailer, “Search Engine Marketing: Paid Or Natural?” caught my attention. What emerges from these articles jivves with my own experience – a combined strategy yields the most impressive results.
However many companies and agencies rely almost exclusively on paid search or PPC. While there are pros and cons for SEO and SEM, and one might be more appropriate for some businesses than others, such a strategy is questionable. A disparity exists between budgets allocated for paid search marketing and consumer search behavior. Consider these facts:
- In 2004 $4.087 billion was spent on search marketing
- 81.8% went to paid placement (PPC, CPC) programs
- 12.0% went to organic search engine optimization
- 4.4% went to paid inclusion
- Studies by Enquiro and iProspect reveal:
- 60.5% to 70.0% of users trust organic results
- 30% to 39.5% of users trust paid results
- Six out of seven search engine referrals to commercial web sites come from organic search, according to research by Jupiter¬ís Eric T. Peterson.
Despite user’s preference for organic or natural search results, the majority of budgets have been allocated to paid search. I would invite companies to consider a combined approach using the advantages of each tactic for both short and long term benefit rather than dedicating budgets and resources based solely on one tactic.