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Are constant Google fluctuations causing a potential renaissance in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising?

  • 5th November 20135/11/13
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If you have spent money on search engine optimisation or have spent a long time trying to increase rankings in Google yourself, it can be demoralising to find that the latest Google algorithm has seen your site go down or fluctuate in the rankings. Is this causing pay per click to become a relied upon alternative?

To address this we first need to clarify the difference between search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is looking at and addressing onsite and offsite factors that effect your website in order to help it rank more highly in Google / other search engines. This can include activity such as looking at your sites meta information or structuring, gaining publication opportunities and links back from other high ranking websites or creating social buzz around your content and site.

The activity will usually surround a few key phrases which have been selected to drive enquiries and potential customers to your website, weighing up where there is good search volume against the level of competition for that term.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay per click advertising is where businesses pay for advertising on Google. They appear at the top of the search results page in a coloured box, or down the side of naturally achieved (organic) results. They pay for each click their advert receives.

The benefits of ranking naturally in Google are clear. Despite not every search engine user fully understanding the distinction between paid-for and organic search listings, the organic listings achieve significantly higher click through rates (CTRs) than their equivilant paid for listings. They therefore drive more traffic and custom to your website.

This is a big positive for the use of search engine optimisation; ranking on the first page and in particular the first three results listings will give you the best potential performance for that search term.

So if that’s the case, why would you turn to pay per click advertising and reallocate budget? The potential cause of this is the element of fluctuation.

Google are constantly working on their algorithm. The most recent changes and updates have included Google Panda and Google Penguin. These changes are not bad news; in fact it is great news as they are constantly working toward improving the search results that the majority of us get every day. What change has brought is fluctuations to search results and as always there have been winners and losers in this shake up. For those that lost out there may be legitimate reasons for these drops, for example the use of what many call ‘black hat’ SEO tactics which have sought to attempt to find holes in the existing algorithm to be exploited.

For others poor or mass quality content, or a very high ratio of onsite advertising may have been the cause for drops.

For those that haven’t been using these techniques there can be a feeling of exasperation and a pointed finger toward the SEO agency acting for them.

Why the sudden drop?

In this instance, where there isn’t a full understanding of the reason for perennial changes to the rankings, you can see the justification or perception of pay per click being a safe pair of hands so as to speak. You know what you are getting with your advertising spend. Pending significant changes to competition for the key phrase you are advertising for you know where and when you are going to appear.

The trade off is a much lower click through rate against the guarantee of search engine visibility. It is this trade off that is seeing at least some businesses reallocate budget away from search engine optimistaion and into pay per click advertising.

The truth is that they both have their place in maximizing the revenue you are able to generate from your search engine presence. They should be seen as linked, rather than an ‘either or’ solution.

Pay per click can be used to supplement and focus search engine optimisation spend, for example gaining advertising visibility on lower volume terms and thus allowing budgetary expenditure allocated to search engine optimisation gaining more bang and focus for you buck on the bigger volume phrases. You would therefore end up spending less on lower volume terms and more on higher volume. Another example may also be to utilise pay per click to gain penetration into geographic markets in which you don’t currently have a physical presence.

So, whilst some may be turning to pay per click as a search engine optimisation safety net make sure that your business is looking at its search engine marketing as an integrated, not isolated, strategy.

For more information on how we can develop your search engine strategy and improve your rankings please give us a call or email hello@mihidigital.co.uk

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