Skip to main content

Why PPC Will Always Cost More Than SEO

In The Disconnect in PPC vs. SEO Spending, Rand Fishkin demonstrates that "SEO drives 75%+ of all search traffic, yet garners less than 15% of marketing budgets for SEM campaigns. PPC receives less than 25% of all search traffic, yet earns 80%+ of SEM campaign budgets," then asks: "Why does paid search earn so many more marketing dollars?"

No doubt the comments to Rand's post will reveal many reasons for this differential, but here are three that spring immediately to mind:

1. The perception that people click on natural search results when they are seeking information, but on sponsored search ads when they are ready to buy. This presumption certainly justifies proportionately greater spending if it's valid. I suspect that just the opposite may in fact be the case, but don't have sufficient data to back that up.

2. The "media cost" is inherent in PPC. Companies can spend very similar amounts for SEO activities and SEM program management--in fact, they can even spend more on the former than the latter--yet still have much larger budgets for PPC than for SEO. That's simply because PPC includes a "media cost" of paying for the sponsored search clicks from Google, Yahoo, MSN, or another search engine.

3. PPC is applicable to a broader set of search terms. Some terms (most commonly one- to three-word search phrases) are simply very, very difficult to SEO for, either because they are highly competitive, very common, or ambiguous. With SEO, you can spend a lot of money to try to rank well for these terms yet still end up with disappointing results. With SEM, you can guarantee your site will appear, then control total costs through day-parting and geo-targeting.

It's also very difficult to show up well in the natural search results for a competitor's brand name. PPC not only gives you a spot on page one for these phrases, it lets you customize the message (e.g., "consider the more cost-effective alternative").

The bottom line is that SEO is both more effective and less expensive than PPC, which makes it a no-brainer for any website.


Contact Mike Bannan:


Popular posts from this blog

AHREFS tops the marketing blunder list of 2018

It’s Early in 2018 and AHREFS tops the marketing blunder list It’s only the first week in February and you are reading about the Metrics/Data supplier that has provided us with fodder by creating a huge marketing blunder, Ahrefs.

Ahrefs is world's biggest third-party database of search queries with refined monthly search volume and research metrics.  Their data is used by untold numbers of digital marketers across the world.  Arguably they are the industry leader in this type of data.  The only thing that they changed was how a tiny item in their metrics was being calculated. 
About a week prior to the effective date of the change, Ahrefs notified users that a change was coming to how they calculated a domain rating or DR.  They also stated that many sites would see their rankings drop.  I agree that a need for change was warranted.  What I don’t agree with how they calculated the change and its ramifications for roughly 75% of all websites.  

This past Friday evening around 11 P.…

Hello March!

It is finally March! What will be your marketing strategy for this new month?!

The Wonders of the Weekend

How are you enjoying your first weekend of march?! Are you spending time working on your marketing plans or are you taking some time for yourself & enjoying the company of your family & friends? If you are working over the weekend, take a read at some of our older blog posts and give us some feedback. We are always looking for ways to improve the content we push out to our loyal readers.