I was disappointed to see companies quoting Search Engine Land's Editor-in-Chief, Danny Sullivan's advice to not depend solely on SEO following Google's Penguin update.
It wasn't the quote of Danny's that got under my skin. It was the skewed perspective used by the PPC advertisers quoting Danny as an authority for pushing Pay Per Click advertising consultancy/services. Unsurprisingly, the advertisers focus on PPC services to generate their own incomes.
Taking a closer look at the context in which Search Engine Land's editor was commenting, I whole heartily agree with his findings that too many people think SEO is basically about creating back links. Back links of good quality, poor quality and pure web spam. Hence, the Penguin update showed up this specific area of misuse of back link generation and finally Google has introduced intelligence into their algorithm that wipes out what it considers to be link spam. Resulting in Danny's reference to hearing lots of screams from the link spammers who have seen their sites take a dive and learning 'the lesson'.
If SEO was all about back links - then explain why a search such as "Nerja" (a vacation town in Spain) shows such a wide top 10 list of websites on Google's organic page one results? Some of the sites at the top of the list have a lot less back links than some of the sites at the bottom of the list. What's even more interesting is a site like Wikipedia is not even at the top of the list ! An example of a site with an unbelievable amount of back links good and bad.
For those who think SEO is all about back links, then sure - DON'T RELY ON SEO.
If you think that SEO is a varied box of tools and methods (which includes back links)
as an answer to helping search engines identify what is relevant and valuable to their
search results - Then I have a different message. RELY HEAVILY ON SEO for your success and don't be tricked by those espousing otherwise.
I give about 40% of my energy to working out ways of how to extend back links and get other useful websites to recommend or talk about my websites. That means that the other 60% of my energy is focused on other aspects of making my clients and our own websites successful.
A proper thought out set of objectives for PPC advertising with clearly defined targets is good news for a business and will usually generate profits from the activity. For those site owners who don't have the time to follow through Google's own training program and online video series - then yes, engaging a PPC consultancy to do it for you and charging you a percentage for their time is certainly fair enough.
The big problem with throwing cash at a PPC campaign is that when the budget runs out - so does any visual listing of the website at the front of the search engines! So when you stop spending cash - you watch your sales dry up just as quickly!! I call that catch 22.
Would you prefer to spend 29%+ of your revenue to keep customers clicking into your website via PPC, or would you prefer to spend around 6% via SEO that continues to have a visual listing in the search results 24-7-365 when its managed properly ?
I don't believe that efforts on either PPC or SEO have an end point. The internet is constantly evolving, the first 10 positions on any search engines result take more than 90% of all clicks in a search engine!! This means that your competitors will always be trying to get onto the first page of the results. The more competition in your market sector - the more efforts are needed to maintain your position. A successful website is the result of many things... SEO and PPC play their part. In every project I have ever been involved in, I can live without PPC being in the mix, but I couldn't have had long term success without on-going measurable SEO activities supporting the operations of the businesses.
For those new to PPC, there are two different reasons for running a PPC/PPI campaign. There's Direct Response PPC ads where you can plot the activity of site visitors and hopefully get a response to get them into your sales funnel. Then there's Branding PPC/PPI which is a whole different objective and not so easily followed. Without a clear understanding of your marketing goals - PPC becomes a lot more expensive than the percentages I've mentioned above and SEO then wins hands down.