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Why Doesn't Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Get a Fair Shake?
Monday, September 17, 2007
Riddle me this, why is it that online advertisers continue to spend their budgets on PPC (sponsored ads) over organic search engine optimization? In fact according to reports about sponsored spend, over 90% of US paid search ad spending will go to Google and Yahoo! in 2007.

There is the age old question of which works better, paid search advertising or search engine optimization? That is difficult to measure as online advertising budgets are almost always directed towards PPC and not search engine optimization. So right off the bat, it's difficult top compare the success of each as the budget spent on each is not equivalent to begin with. Yet the user and yes your potential consumer tend to click on organic listings 70-80% of the time. So why then do you not spend more time, energy and funding on improving your SEO and organic visibility presence in the search engines? Why the focus (and spend) on PPC? Why do you insist on ignoring the fact that the majority of users click on natural (organic) listings before (if) they click on PPC listings?

At Enquiro, we have done countless amounts of research including a number of eye tracking studies and whitepapers that communicate that fact that the masses click on organic listings 7 out of 8 times. We've even gone further and discussed reasons as to why users click how they do when they visit a search engine results page. We've discussed factors such as:
  • Information Scent
  • Semantic Mapping
  • Area of Great Promise
  • Pre-Mapping
  • Banner Blindness
  • Impact of Bolded Search Queries, Icons and Indented Results
  • Perceived Relevance
  • Interactions with Sponsored Results
  • Interactions with Organic Results
  • Interaction with Top Organic
  • Interaction with Lower Organic
  • Impact of Top Sponsored Ads
  • Interaction with Side Sponsored
  • How we scan a listing
  • Pogo Sticking Cannibalization of Campaigns
  • Purchase vs Research Intent
So we have a pretty good idea as to how users interact with a search engine and their results page. Yet SEO still takes a backseat to PPC marketing every time. I've written a series on Organic Search: What's In it For You describing the benefit of SEO.

Which works better, paid search advertising or search engine optimization? Well the true answer is that for the best ROI you need to do both as each compliment each other. With sponsored ads you can get quick results as your ad may appear immediately if you have the highest bid on that particular key phrase. With a prime organic listing you will receive more long term traffic. I know that SEO is more difficult to measure but the return your can receive is unmatched by any other medium. So I would like to hear from business owners, web marketers, and really anyone who is trying to promote a brand or product as to why you don't give SEO a fair shake. Why is your online focus not on search engine optimization? What are the alternatives that are currently providing you more online leads?


posted by Jody @ Monday, September 17, 2007  
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Name: Jody
Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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