Re: SEO vs PPC The Classic Debate...
- From a cost standpoint, there are resources required for any project.
Assigning a cost to them is just a question of how deep you want to
go and how accurate you have to be. Developer time, designer time,
tracking tools, etc. are common to both SEO and SEM. This gets lost
in SEM sometimes because people concentrate more on the variable CPC
Your billing rate to your clients takes these things into account.
Doing this in-house also has an implied billing rate that will go
into the ROI calculation. Measuring return for either is similar
although SEO probably requires better baselining and a longer
timeframe to measure the effects. But still, most marketing progrmas
should have both short and long-term ROI calculations anyway.
Since your business is providing SEO services, you are probably much
better at computing your costs than internal personnel, but this is
more of an issue of organizational familiarity rather than intrinsic
differences between cost measurement of SEO and PPC.
The specific methodologies and tools are different between the two.
There are some accuracy differences as well. But the overall process
of measuring return on marketing projects still seem similar to me.
Just a question of how hard the organization wants to pursue the
- Despite the prevailing industry spin about a "multiplier" Paul's
experience looks to us to be fairly typical. We (Semphonic) have
measured this effect repeatedely for clients and have found - not
surprisingly - a wide range of results. In every case, there has
been "incremental" lift (buying PPC ads didn't actually lose total
clicks). However, in most cases, far from being a multiplier the
client experienced at least some cannibalization of organic
listings. In other words, just as in Paul's experience, there was a
measurable (and in some cases quite large) decrease in organic
clicks. I've written about this several times including this DM News
marketing/35918.html and here http://www.adotas.com/2006/06/sem-
The bottom line is that while we have occasionally seen cases where
there is some multiplier effect (though nothing like the 6x
mentioned - the biggest jump we've ever actually measured was about
15%) it is much less common than cannibalization (which we've seen
top 50%). Because experience has been so varied I, like Paul, urge
you measure if for yourself. But whatever you do - don't simply
accept the fact that PPC will boost your organic click-through. This
myth has been repeated so often (not always without bad motive) that
even well-meaning practictioners have come to accept it as true. But
saying something over and over don't make it so!