What’s Best – SEO or Paid Search?
This is a very common question we get to hear from marketers and is a subject I spoke on recently when the New Zealand Marketing Association ran one of their bi-monthly ‘Brainy Breakfast’ seminars. The seminar was about Search Marketing and a sell out. Despite an antisocial 7am start more than 230 marketing professionals from a wide range of NZ organisations attended, demonstrating the intense interest in search marketing.
Is search marketing taking off in New Zealand? Absolutely!
I was one of the six presenters on the panel which also included Google New Zealand, Yahoo! Australia, plus several other search marketing specialists. (That’s me, 3rd from the left).
We all spoke about different aspects of search marketing & the specific topic I covered was “What’s Best – SEO or Paid Search?” Because of the interest I’ve decided I to cover off the presentation here.
The short answer to the question is…it depends on your objectives & situation. Both SEO & Paid Search are
incredibly effective methods for driving more customers to your website. Like all things they each have their pros & cons and understanding these will help you decide which to use.
It’s easiest to start off looking at Paid Search. That’s because fundamentally it’s media buying, so most marketers find it easier to grasp than search engine optimisation.
This control is illustrated here (Ferrit is NZ’s biggest online shopping site with over 80 retailers):
With paid search you can & should test all of the following:
As you can see there are many compelling reason for using paid search. But it’s not all upside, there are a few cons.
The biggest negative is that paid search only works whilst you’re able to keep putting money in the PPC machine. Stop, and of course your ads stop running.
Fundamentally PPC is an auction and with increasing competition as more advertisers enter the market bid costs are increasing. NZ still an immature market with low competition but ‘keyword inflation’ is begining to happen which is a reason to get in early now. In the US paid search growth is starting to slow as many smaller to medium sized advertisers are having to cut back on PPC because bid prices are getting too expensive. This means it’s critically important to understand what you can afford to spend and having smart bid management strategies becomes increasingly important as CPC increases.
OK, to avoid this being too long an article we’ll take a break here. Tomorrow we’ll switch gears and look at the pros & cons of Search Engine Optimisation.
See you then.
Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).