Not so long ago, paid and organic (PPC and SEO) marketing people were at very adversarial ends of the industry. In the regional parlance of my native state, PPC and SEO had an Alabama-Auburn like rivalry. Both were dubious and dismissive of the other side, and hence, both blind to the good and unique qualities the other side has to offer. (Hey, I remember going to an SEO conference in 2009 where paid search was barely mentioned beyond the occasional knock or scoff).
SEO: “PPC only gets short-term gains and your position on the search engine results pages is only as good as your budget.”
PPC: “SEO campaigns take too long to implement.”
SEO: “PPC visitors bounce off the website too quickly.”
PPC: “SEO is not focused enough on conversions.”
In fact, the pros and cons of PPC and SEO are all true, but when combined, they can work together as effectively as PB&J for each other’s mutual benefit: conversion optimization. This is a fancy term for increasing your website’s traffic for the right keywords — the ones that convert i.e. the ones that work for your business.
It’s true that SEO campaigns can take many months, possibly even up to a year, to take hold, and for that very reason, a PPC campaign can quickly and effectively allow you to test different keywords for conversion. Why would you want to spend months amassing content and backlinking on keywords that don’t convert website visitors? And it’s also true that PPC campaigns run only as long as they’re funded, and that statistically the visitors do spend less time on site, but PPC campaigns are usually effective in terms of conversion optimization because they require investment, and are usually backed by landing pages that target leads and shorten the buying funnel. Thus, a successful landing page should be like a PPC campaign in SEO clothing. (Too clever?)
At the end of the day, it all boils down to the search user’s intent: does your website match the targeted search query? If it does not, they will bounce off your site, and it won’t matter how they got there – PPC or SEO.