Coastal Media Brand

4 Tips for a Balanced Search Marketing Budget:

In setting out to develop a strategy for your search marketing, you need to start at the beginning and establish answers to a few key questions:

  • What is the marketing spend mix between SEO and PPC?
  • What does this reflect?
  • How can this underpin developing a sensible search marketing strategy

The Marketing Spend and Mix:

Data from The Search Marketing Professionals Organisation (SEMPO) indicates that PPC secures 88% of search campaign budgets vs 12% for SEO.

Yet despite this less than 25% of all search traffic is generated by PPC.

So this raises the question:

If PPC Accounts For By Far The Greater Spend Why Does It Not Attract More Clicks Than SEO?

Firstly lets look at some benchmark study details on the elements of a search results page that are most viewed and are most clicked.

According to a study be online research firm Eyetools, the “Golden Triangle” (Which is the area on your screen where most people look) includes top sponsored, top organic results and Google’s alternative results, including shopping, news or local suggestions.

The top 5 organic search results items on the page range from 100% to 60% visibility

Rank 1 – 100%

Rank 2 – 100%

Rank 3 – 100%

Rank 4 – 85%

Rank 5 – 60%

Whereas the top 5 side bar sponsored results range from 30% to 10% visibility as follows

1 – 50%

2 – 40%

3 – 30%

4 – 20%

5 – 10%

So Why Does PPC Account For 88% Of Search Marketing Spend?

In my view the answer is mainly because:

  • PPC delivers instant results
  • The Return on Investment for PPC can more easily be measured
  • PPC is actively promoted by Google and Microsoft with powerful software tools to make PPC easy to use
  • Many online marketing professionals come from a strong direct marketing background where the ROI for marketing spend needs to be easily and directly measurable

The allure of PPC is that will give you “quick hits”. You can set up a PPC quickly and start seeing results in 24 hours.

However the overall picture is clear – if you look at SEO over time, it should yield a better ROI than PPC.

Does this mean that you should discard PPC and throw all your investment into SEO?

The answer is No – However it does mean that if you are not investing a healthy % of your budget in SEO you are missing out on at least 75% of the traffic generated from organic search.

In addition future predictions indicate that SEO will gain substantial market share from PPC due to the ever increasing cost of PPC. An increasing number of SEO tools (such as “The SEO Workbench”) are coming to market to simplify the Black Art of SEO and to turn it into a Science that can easily be understood and used by more and more people interested in getting better search results.

So What Strategy Should You Adopt?

There is no single strategy that will suit every website owner?

Factors that will dictate the strategy to suit you will include factors such as:

  • How important is it to promote your brand?
  • How popular are your keywords
  • How much do you want global coverage vs country by country visibility
  • How important is it to crowd out your competitors for certain keywords
  • How well do your keywords rank at present

As a basic principle I would recommend you adopt a pragmatic approach as follows:

  1. For new websites quick-start your traffic with PPC
  2. As you gain dominance in certain keyword niches re-evaluate PPC
  3. Invest a reasonable % of your budget in optimising for a set of keywords that are popular, not too generic and do not have too much competition
  4. Invest in a WordPress blog and develop regular quality content – this will get you indexed by the search engines for keywords used in the blog. Be sure to use the tags and categories in the blog to help the search engines in indexing your content.
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