So which is better: to get your website ranking organically in the search results or to pay for the privilege of a top spot through pay per click advertising? Well, it’s a pretty clear answer: organic results enjoy far higher click-through rates, greater trust and higher conversion rates than their paler PPC relatives.

The latest research (2017) shows that 67.60% of all clicks are on the first five organic results, so it looks like the fight has already been won. Add-in another 3.7% of clicks on the next five results and a further 5.59% on pages two and three; and organic clicks account for over 75% of all traffic. That’s a pretty resounding victory for SEO leaving PPC less than a quarter of the pie, and probably much less if you include searchers who don’t click on any results and simply go elsewhere.

However, most search marketers are looking for a quick fix and PPC advertising provides the perfect vehicle. Just a few years ago the split between spend on PPC advertising spend and SEO spend was about 80:20 with far more money going into paid listings than organic results; despite compelling evidence that organic results brought far greater returns.

However, faced with the overwhelming weight of evidence the tables have now turned and more budget is flowing towards the long term sustainable results delivered by SEO (it’s now about 50:50). PPC still has it’s place and can be extremely useful for younger companies (read: weaker websites) seasonal traffic and keyword research, but the smart money is being spent on SEO.

You should also consider that a large part of any SEO campaign only needs to be undertaken (and paid for) once, which means SEO pays greater dividends over the long term. And even in the short term, with online marketing budgets increasing and the cost of PPC ads rising, SEO is arguably the only sustainable option.

If you’re still not convinced yet more surveys suggest that conversion rates are lower with PPC (although conflicting data means the jury is still out) and that up to 75% of people never click on sponsored links. All in all it makes a compelling argument to focus on SEO.

However, it’s important that you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater; PPC remains an essential component of search marketing. Why? Studies have shown a synchronicity between organic rankings and paid placement. With both results displayed users are more likely to trust your brand and click through to your site. You’ll also enjoy greater visibility, providing more ways for searchers to find your website… and increase your sales.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *