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Matching Search Strategies to Business Goals: Here's Some Help

July 19, 2010  
"The true test of pursuing either an SEO campaign or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (or both)," writes Scott Buresh in a recent Pro article at MarketingProfs, "is knowing that it all boils down to your company philosophy, return on investment (ROI) objectives, budget, and numerous other monetary and marketing factors."

To help you decide which search strategy—or hybrid combination—best suits your company's needs and goals, Buresh offers a pro-con primer on the five most common models. Here's a look at two:

The SEO-only strategy. Companies that avoid PPC altogether often have reasons like these:

  • They have tried PPC and decided it didn't work, so they aren't interested in trying it again in the foreseeable future.
  • They feel that since they often ignore PPC ads on the right-hand side of the page, everyone else must do the same.

"Although there's nothing inherently wrong with pursuing SEO exclusively," Buresh notes, "it can take a while to achieve rankings for competitive, profitable key phrases, and there's no way for your SEM company to accurately predict (as it probably can with some degree of accuracy with PPC advertising) what the initial results will be and when they will occur."

The PPC-only strategy. Predictably, companies interested only in PPC often feel as if they've been burned by SEO. "[They] may have worked with an SEM company before, pursued SEO exclusively, and achieved less-than-stellar results," explains Buresh. Whatever the reason, PPC-only efforts aren't without their advantages:

  • Even with a limited spend, you can turn campaigns on and off as needed, making market segments easier to control than with an SEO campaign.
  • PPC also allows you to achieve a somewhat predictable ROI if the campaign is managed effectively.

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