Is SEO or PPC Better?
Is Search Engine Optimization or Pay-per-Click better? This is a question that many clients ask and also get confused by. They feel that their organic SEO campaign yields great results and that they shouldn't have to use PPC because of it. This new study by MediaPost.com, release August 13th 2009, shows that "visitors who arrive at a retailer's site from paid search ads are 50% more likely to buy than those who come from clicking on a natural search link". The article also states that Paid Search visitors bought the most, with an average order value of $117.06, versus $106.64 from Organic Search visitors.
I don't believe you can draw a conclusion about which is better from these statistics, since all audiences are different, but it certainly shows that PPC is very important and should be considered as a way to drive business.
Which is the better value?
Again, it is tough to definitively state which is the better value for your advertising dollar. But, one advantage that SEO has is the lasting effect. PPC ads only show up when you have budget, and disappera when the budget has been hit. On the other hand, SEO is a campaign that carries momentum. Once you have established good search rankings, they will not disappear quickly, but instead will persist over time with continued SEO efforts. Yes, they will deteriorate without consistent maintenance, so elimiating SEO management is quite detrimental.
PPC users may buy more per purchase, but that doesn't tell you what the cost was per purchase. You may have spent $75 in ads before you got a purchase, versus $50 in SEO expense. Therefore, you need to find out the Cost per Conversion for your campaign before you come to any conclusion as to which is better for your market. It is very difficult to find industry statistics to help you make a decision, so you will most likely have to test the market yourself to find out.