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SEO vs PPC in the Time of a Recession
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So I'm watching the news and reading the blogs and getting my fill out of how the recession is affecting online marketing efforts. Bloggers and folks in the industry are trying to take a stand on what the effects of the economy will have on online marketing namely SEO and PPC.

Being from Canada, I ask myself are we in a recession? While I would argue that the Canadian dollar is highly undervalued, Canada is in better shape than most economies in the world. That's not to say we're not prone to what is happening in other parts of the world (see the United States for more), Canada is a hard working nation that continues to enjoy success in many of its provinces and territories.

The question de jour then is how do these so called recessions or economic hardships affect online marketing? Well, if you think about it, it depends on the business. Perhaps if you are an early adopter of SEO and PPC maybe you are not affected as much. Why? Because you see the value in it. Specifically about SEO. For those who leverage sound SEO strategies, you understand the fact that SEO can provide the greatest return for the cost associated. To this day I scratch my head when I hear of companies, whether B2C or B2B who have these massive budgets that they blow on PPC or sponsored advertising. They exhaust their budget and see a nice modest return and sometimes even an exceptional return, but fail to realize the return on investment that they could have experienced had they put more budget into SEO.

The way I see it, is that the current economics situation will affect online marketing in this manner.
  1. Advertisers will need to trim budget and therefore may cut back on PPC spend not SEO as SEO simply does not receive the budget allocations that paid spend does.

  2. Advertisers will turn to SEO - In terms of advertising and marketing dollars, SEO is cheap, cheap, cheap. Really think about your SEO costs? You hire an SEO firm to the tune of $20-200K per year to receive a return, if we think conservatively of what 15-50%. A number of clients that we have worked on have recorded returns not in the ten or hundreds of per cent increase, but in the thousands.

  3. More SEO Success Stories - we'll begin to hear more about SEO success stories and as a result we may finally see SEO get the recognition it deserves.

  4. Budget Shift from PPC to SEO - while we may see smaller online marketing budgets, we'll most likely see some budget shift from sponsored advertising towards SEO.
I love the fact that people say SEO is dead. In recent months I've used SEO to help clients:
  • Drop bounce rates from over 80% to 35%
  • Increase average time spent from mere seconds to minutes
  • Improve rankings in the search engines from oblivion to top 10
  • Drive qualified traffic to deeper solution pages of their web properties
  • Successfully complete website redesigns and not only preserve traffic but increase traffic immediately post launch
  • Return traffic and post rankings after an unsuccessful launch of a redesign using another vendor
  • Increase traffic from organic search from 9% to over 50%
  • Increase the quality of non-branded traffic to their web properties
SEO is not dead, it's simply overlooked. Until people start to understand the power and benefit of SEO, they will continue to plug money into PPC budgets and be happy with that return. They will continue to miss out on an affordable means of marketing their brand and their web properties. In this time of economic turmoil. SEO might just be the answer.

Remember that SEO:
  • Is cheap when compared to other advertising mediums
  • Is long lasting if done properly
  • Can be done in-house, out-sourced or both!
  • Does take time, but in the end can provide tremendous ROI
  • Can be learned
  • Can provide a positive user experience on your web properties
I've written numerous pieces on the value of SEO, frankly if you are experiencing a budget crunch you might want to take a serious look at developing a strong SEO strategy.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, October 28, 2008  
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Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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