I've always been an SEO guy. I like getting into websites, optimizing for keywords, fixing problems and then watching the rankings climb.
Because SEO is relatively so inexpensive compared to other marketing efforts, I am often surprised by the amount of dollars companies are willing to invest into PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, while at the same time balking about a similar investment in SEO.
In my experience, SEO often translates into better ROI than PPC! But the primary difference is that PPC is far more trackable than SEO. PPC analytics can give you amazing flexibility into your campaigns and insight into your conversions that just isn't available with SEO.
Another benefit of PPC over SEO is the immediacy of it. SEO takes time to get results and drive traffic. PPC is easy to set up and can start delivering traffic near instantaneously.
But that's also the biggest problem with PPC. Because they are so quick and easy, most PPC campaigns are simply not managed properly. I often talk with people who believe "PPC doesn't work" for them. It's not that PPC doesn't work, it's that the campaign was built to generate traffic rather than managed to generate a profit.
If you don't know the difference between the two, then it's likely you're not going to be as profitable as you should be.
Investment in the stock market and PPC marketing has a host of similarities. By drawing these comparisons, I hope to shed some light on the expectations of a well-managed PPC campaign and provide some solutions to effectively managing your PPC "portfolio."
Researching the PPC market should include research of your keywords, your competition, your available budget and the estimated search volume and click-through rates for your keywords. But you also need to know your conversion rates, profit margins and a whole lot more. With this information you can then set realistic expectations for what your month-over-month return should be.
Google and Bing have made managing your ad campaigns as easy as possible. You get reports, historical data and real-time performance results. But again, easy to use does not translate into profits.
Most business owners don't know enough about PPC to manage their campaigns profitably. Effective management of your PPC campaign requires a great deal of knowledge about each system. There are a lot of cool tricks you can do but only if you know about them. Even those who do nothing more than PPC all day still have a hard time keeping up!
Any PPC campaign will see similar results when looking at overall cost per conversion. Some days you'll have a really high CPC and other days it'll be much lower. There will even be spans of time when your cost per conversion is unprofitable. This, again, is normal.
The difference here between stocks and PPC is that with stocks, you rely on the market to decide the value. With PPC, you rely on your own management skills to keep your cost per conversions where they need to be to make a profit. But, just as with stocks, there are also outside factors that weigh in on profitability.
The goal of stock investment is for long-term financial security. PPC can help deliver that, too, when smart management principles are applied. Looking for short-term gains with PPC often goes against your long-term business growth strategy.
Building a smart PPC "portfolio" can be a key component to your business growth. Many people look at PPC as a supplement to SEO until you get natural rankings. Instead, look at PPC as just one of your investment options. Think diversification. But smart diversification is what you need, and smart management of your PPC campaigns can ensure that this avenue of investment not only brings sales, but profits as well.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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