Blog Post

Organic Search and PPC: The PB&J of Online Marketing [VIDEO & INFOGRAPHIC]


When marketing your business, getting ranked in the search engine is imperative. Do you go the route of pay per click advertising, or getting listed and ranked through organic search? The answer is both. Organic search and pay per click advertising are the PB&J of online marketing. Watch today's video to learn about the importance of organic search and pay per click advertising working together, and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we’re going to having a special lunchtime topic here, talking about the peanut butter and jelly analogy in online marketing, which is organic and paid search marketing. I’m Chad Hill and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Yeah, good morning, Chad. SEO and PPC are like peanut butter and jelly. They go very well together, each one on its own is not quite so interesting. What are we talking about here? Well, I think a lot of people struggle with how much of their budgets to put toward PPC or SEO. SEO is definitely the long-term plan, and there’s a lot of data that shows just how effective it can be. It’s really about your brand longevity, it can really have a much lower cost per lead acquisition when you take the long view than if you put that money into advertising, and it also serves as a great foundation for a lot of your other marketing efforts, and we’ve talked a lot in our video series about cross-pollination between PPC, emails, social, and your website which are all really, really important.

But, there are some serious downsides to search engine optimization, and I think that’s particularly relevant here, two weeks after Penguin 2.1. It does take a long time, and it’s a roller coaster ride. The rules of the game can change as Google changes things, so unlike PPC where you see immediate results, with SEO you have to wait a long time, and even if you did have great results for a while, an algorithm change can come along, or something unexpected, and can really take a whack on your rankings. The downside there for SEO is obvious, but the downside for PPC is cost.

Now, even with that, here’s some interesting stats that came out of this State of the Paid Search report that I think we should think about and talk to our viewers about. Seventy percent of folks surveyed increased their PPC spend in 2013, and that’s pretty consistent with the top-line numbers we’re seeing from Google and as we track Facebook and with Twitter as their IPO gets into the advertising game. Seventy-two percent plan to increase their PPC spend in 2014. Seventy-three percent of those folks plan to spend it in Adwords with about half of those surveys saying they plan to increase Bing and half surveyed saying they plan to increase Facebook. So, consistent with the trend, ad-spend is going up, mostly in Bing, but also in Facebook as people consider whether to put their money into PPC or SEO.

Absolutely, and we have some other complementary stats here where basically HubSpot also puts out a survey every year that talks about how much CMOs and other marketing leaders are putting into email marketing, and basically we’ve got a stat here that says that 53% of people are increasing their email marketing budgets, that SEO and social media account for about 23% of total email marketing budgets, and that SEO is a top channel for conversions and one of the top for sales leads. So, SEO is still critically important. I think the big question here is, “Should I pick one or the other?” Adam, you certainly talked about the risks of only investing in one versus being more diversified but another benefit, and we talked about this in a video a few weeks ago, is that there was a study that came out that actually showed that paid search can actually get incremental results. So, especially if you were in at position four or below on the page, something like 80% of the clicks you’re getting from paid search are actually incremental. They would not have happened had you not been in the paid search results. So, I think these things really do go together, and they’re really important.

There’s a couple of other things that I wanted to mention, and they’re about why you should do paid pay per click search and organic search. One of the other really important ones is that with paid search, you can reach a much broader set of keywords more quickly. So, not only can you see more immediate results, but SEO is great when you can rank on those head terms that you know would be expensive to dominate in paid search only. The nice thing about paid search is that you can expand beyond those head terms to try a lot of different terms, and we do this in our business all the time. We say, “I wonder, if we develop this product and advertise it like this, what would the response be?” It let’s us quickly test and get a better sense of what the market is for certain products out there. It’s a really great way of complementing.

Now, Google knows that this is happening as well, and they’re trying to bring more people into paid search, so one of the things that they’ve done recently in Adwords is they actually for the first time have allowed you to get a side-by-side comparison of organic and paid search, and how you’re doing in both. This is something that takes a little bit of configuration. You have to go through Adwords, go to the dimensions area, then you have to actually link your Google Adwords account to your Google Webmaster Tools account. Sometimes those things are a little tricky, but once you do that, you can have some really new information that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Yeah, so like peanut butter and jelly, SEO and PPC go together. I often think of it from the risk management perspective, Chad, which you articulated. The more diversified your marketing strategy, the safer your business is, which is really very similar to diversifying your financial portfolio. But, you make the point that performance is actually enhanced, so it’s not just a risk management decision. It’s actually a turbo-booster for your marketing, which would have better results.

I think the last point I’d make, and this was interesting because it came up in an interview you and I did with a reporter yesterday when she was asking, “How do you advise small business folks who are trying to make that migration from the yellow pages which is dying or dead for them and too expensive for return into online marketing and who are just getting started?” We see this all the time, Chad. They’ve heard from the grapevine, from media coverage, from their nephew, or someone at church, you know, “SEO, wow, it’s the best thing around. It’s the cheapest way to get leads long-term,” and they want to swing from the fences and start there. I actually think that’s a huge mistake for people just leaving Yellow Pages who really don’t understand internet marketing. SEO is the wrong place to start. It’s very confusing, it’s very complex, as we said, it takes a long time to be effective, and they don’t have the trust yet.

So, PPC is really the smart place for them to start. It’s the most analogous to Yellow Pages advertising. They put their budget in, they get their phone calls, they understand that this is the replacement for the Yellow Pages. Do that for six months or a year. In addition to the ancillary benefits you outlined, Chad, in terms of understanding your keyword base and working on conversion and those things, they’re also just developing trust with the internet and then some awareness of how this works. When they do feel ready to venture into SEO, which is the jelly that needs to be added at some point here, that should be probably year two, and then they’re ready to accept that it’s a 12-18 month venture that’s going to be filled with ups and downs-- two steps up, one step back. There will be an excellent return, but it’s not going to be the straight line that you’re used to with Yellow Pages or PPC.

We’d certainly be interested in your feedback. Bringing customers into online marketing, have you seen them go into SEO first and be successful or is PPC really the stepping stone that we think it is? Share your ideas, and we also hope you’ll subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Comments (5)

  • Jesse Reply

    A very well-written piece. However, I cannot stand PB&J. How about we call it, ummm, the Chicken and Rice of Online Marketing? The Steak and Potatoes of Online Marketing?

    Organic and PPC have to come together in the perfect mix. If you have a great team of "chefs," you'll be able to propel a client to an amazing ranking over time.

    10/21 at 08:35 AM
  • scottjcamp Reply

    PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME * PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME
    < >
    I always recommend running PPC with any new SEO campaign, especially with clients who may become impatient, or frustrated by the fact that REAL SEO doesn't happen overnight. When you run both at the start, clients get the "instant gratification" offered by PPC and they'll be able to "ween off" as their SEO campaign picks up steam.

    10/21 at 10:09 AM
  • Aqeel Reply

    @Jesse I like steak and potatoes better

    10/21 at 10:20 AM
  • Matt Reply

    SEO is a tougher nut to crack now, but those that do it well will do it by pleaseing end users

    10/21 at 10:24 PM
  • Adam Reply

    Right Matt - but can they stay with SEO long enough to see the return?

    12/30 at 12:38 PM

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