Talking SEO - Paid and Organic

Posted: 2010-11-28

 

Talking SEO...

I found myself reviewing the basics of Search Engine Optimization with many clients and felt that it was about time to document the basics; both so that I don't overlook an aspect when explaining and to provide a reference that clients can refer back to when they have questions.

This first SEO newsletter/blog will discuss the two basic forms of getting Search Engine placement; paid and organic.

Paid placement is pretty self-explanatory; while organic (which means natural) is getting good placement only by the merits of the content.

The Objective of SEO

Before we get into the types of SEO, let's review: SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization.  In other words, it's the process of getting the search engines to place your website at the top of the search results.

Whether you are paying for placement or going for organic results, the key to success is choosing appropriate keywords.  It doesn't pay to be on page one or in the top five with a page optimized for a keyword (or keyword phrase) for which nobody ever uses in a search.  A handy tool for researching the popularity of keyword phrases can be found at adwords.google.com (you will need a Gmail account to access this site).

Pros and Cons of Paid Placement

Paid placement can take several forms. One is to purchase a number of views or impressions.  Another, the most popular, is the Pay per Click (PPC) method where you only pay when a viewer clicks through to your website (like Google AdWords).  Popular keywords will cost more than lesser used ones. When your click through budget is exhausted, your link or ad will no longer be shown until the next budget interval.

Paid campaigns like PPC need constant monitoring, adjustment and balancing with your budget.  Of most import is the conversion rate for visitors to your site. (A conversion is an actual sale, not a visit.)  For example, if you buy 1000 clicks of a $0.50 per click keyword, this will generate 1000 visitors and cost you $500.  Then, if 3% of the visitors make a purchase of $100, this would be 30 purchases or $3000. Your $500 investment generated $3000 in sales.

However, if your conversion rate was less (or none), you may not make anything for your effort.  In fact, in highly competitive venues, it is not unheard of for the competition to use up your clicks.  Ethical, no; does it happen, yes!

 

Advantages of PPC Downside of PPC
  • You set your budget monthly
  • Ability to change keywords often
  • Guaranteed placement and views
  • Instant Results (views)
  • Easy Implementation
  • You pay only when viewer clicks

 

  • Many people ignore PPC/Sponsored links
  • Viewers trust organic links over Sponsored links
  • The best keywords are expensive
  • Costs are not stable as successful keywords may cost more in the future
  • Your Competition can 'use up your clicks'

 

Pros and Cons of Organic Placement

Organic ranking is based off your website's title bar, meta keywords, meta description, content and quality linking. After the search engine has examined these factors, in combination with each other as well as hundreds of other factors, they will place your website online at no cost.  The challenge is to get the search engines to place your website and pages as near to the top as possible for the keywords that you want to attract viewer with.

The biggest disadvantages of organic ranking are that it can be tricky trying to get top ranking, if you do not know what you are doing. If your website is not optimized correctly, then you may be losing out on search engine ranking.

Additionally, website age and length of domain name registration play a significant part in the search engines evaluation.  Sites with long track records and domain names that don't expire within a year support a site's merit and believability.

These disadvantages combine to work against new websites.  In fact, some believe that Google places new sites in a 'sandbox'.  In other words, no matter how good the content, you have to be around for a while before they will display your pages.

On the advantage side, site placement is done on merit and competition.  Aside from possible web developer costs to prepare and evaluate your pages properly, organic placement has no intrinsic price tag associated with it.  After a search engine ranks your page, only comparison with other pages can cause the ranking to drop. 

Organic ranking also has a higher believability factor with the browsing public.  Estimates are that the click-through's for organic placements represent around 85% of the search engine clicks, with the remaining 15% going to paid links.

Paid vs. Organic - Which is Right for You?

If you have a new site, you may want to consider a PPC campaign to get your site some visibility very quickly.  Remember, the search engines don't care about the quality of your site in a paid scenario.  Even if you successfully use PPC, you should optimize your site to obtain organic listings.

A well organized, content rich, properly optimized site will place better and in the long run attract more viewers. 

Only you can decide which is best for your business model.  PPC is fast but costly.  Organic is slower but more cost effective in the long run.

Coming Up Next

The next Foxstone article will discuss what makes a good organic site.

 

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2010-11-28 Talking SEO - Paid and Organic 0 0
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