As the commercial markets on the internet grow, advertising methods that were once considered only marginally effective have now become lucrative revenue sources. Spearheading this movement is the growing success of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google, accounting for the lion’s share of the clicks for high-commercial intent keywords, these days.
Organic searches still get the majority of clickthroughs, but all the money seems to flowing to paid advertisements on Google’s results page. Many are wondering if this is the work of the invisible hand of the market or if Google is slowly gearing towards a fully-commercial model. Either way, it doesn’t look very promising for SEO.
The ‘War on Free Clicks’
A recent study from SEO software company SEOMoz, revealed that two out of every three clicks on high-commercial intent keywords (defined as keywords which return results from Google Shopping) are for PPC advertisements. This is big concern for websites which rely very heavily on the internet as a distribution channel.
The trend isn’t just limited to what people are clicking on. Looking at the Google results page, it’s easy to see how much more room the PPC advertisements and commercial vertical search results are taking up, in place of the organic results. This is a factor, as the same study mentioned above also revealed that close to half of Google users can’t tell PPC and organic results apart, if they aren’t on the side of the web results.
PPC Better For Small Budgets
Regardless of the reason for this market trend, it is still a trend. And e-commerce businesses not wanting to be marginalised would be wise to take notice: there are benefits to PPC that outweigh SEO.
For a small company trying to maximise conversion on their website, PPC can target customers at a much lower cost-per-conversion ratio. Those who click on advertisements are already in the buying process, not just looking for general information.
Then the user goes to a landing page which is designed to directly seek a conversion. In addition, the ROI and other business metrics of these campaigns can be easily measured with some simple analytics, as it based on a cost for each click.
SEO Is Still Effective But Increasingly Challenging
SEO used to be considered free but the complexity of search engine algorithms these days means the practice requires a lot more time and expertise, costing resources.
Make no mistake, it’s still a highly effective tool for gaining a valuable web presence and contributing to your overall marketing objectives.
But when undertaking to perform SEO, a business owner should realise it is a constant effort. SEO should be considered a business function, not just a once off task. But if you have a small budget and are looking for some additional business on a straight ROI basis, PPC campaigns get the clicks these days, and can be highly profitable.