Ah-Oh…PPC Feeling A Lot Like SEO

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Is it just me or is PPC starting to feel a lot like SEO these days? I recall back in 2001 when effective PPC marketing was about writing compelling ad copy, selecting relevant keywords and being more vigilant than your competitors by scanning for bid gaps and catching high bidding sleepers off-guard. A simple process compared to (at the time) what appeared to be a more complex “algorithmic-gaming” process playing out in the search engine optimization trenches. SEO seemed to be growing more and more complex while PPC hummed along as a direct marketers’ online kingdom.

I recall when Google AdWords was launched. Its new PPC model enabled smart “performance” marketers to reap the spoils. AdWords’ new cpc model enabled marketers to compete within competitive markets regardless of budget size a major benefit over the older “pure bid auction” environment that Overture created. Effective management of the ad copy and keyword selections helped maximize the CTR while strategic landing pages secured the most important metric – the conversion. It was a direct marketer’s game.

Times have changed. Google’s quality scoring innovations have brought new levels of complexity to PPC while also bringing it closer to the fine art of SEO. With “aging” requirements, page load times, privacy and other credibility links, historical CTR performance and other quality variables, “algorithmic-gaming” predominantly a SEO thing, is becoming a PPC thing too. Strategies for optimizing your landing pages like those documented here: http://www.msdanielle.com/how-to-raise-your-google-adwords-landing-page-quality-score/ remind me of earlier SEO strategies.

The game is changing again – are you prepared?

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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6 Comments

  1. Greg Laptevsky

    Sounds like PPC managers better get cranking on "SEO for Dummies"...

  2. No kidding! Gone are those days when ROI was as easy as launching the campaign. Our approach has definately evolved to look more like SEO with respect to the quality aspect of PPC campaigns. We now need to stay on top of the campaigns - use fewer keywords - optimize landing pages for PPC etc. Actually the changes have really worked in our favor - thew more complex the system the more our customers appreciate our expertise. We have taken over campaigns from do-it-yourself clients and saved up to $2.00 per click simply by optimizing them for PPC - a very SEO like approach.

  3. Excellent contribution Mark. Thanks! Congrats too on the growth from DIYs.

  4. Stephanie

    Every week we update over 10,000 keyword bids and over 250 ad group bids on one Google AdWords campaign including placements. We have had to write our own software application (fortunately our business is software) which includes some pretty heady math formulas applied to a mix of several different AdWords reports that will spit out a resulting file which is dumped into the editor. It is made even more difficult by the fact the Yahoo and AdCenter are both still web based and clumsy in regards to being able to tightly control keywords, bids, negative and more. Actually PPC outstrips SEO in complexity.

  5. Is SEO becoming more complicated, absolutely! To Kevin's list we could add complications w/ negative keywords, content network strategies, etc. But is it like SEO... not quite, despite the complexity, for one major reason: -- SEM is an infinitely faster was to reach customers, control volume, control "who sees what," combine offer and landing page, etc. It's much more nimble. This is still part of the promise that SEM delivers but SEO struggles with. - speed! We can develop an SEM campaign and be live in a few hours (and for many clients, profitable same week). SEO typically doesn't deliver for weeks, or months. Yes, SEM is getting more complicated, and greater returns await marketers that keep up w/ the changes. But SEO remains the slower, less nimble, option when compared to SEM performance. Cheers to all! [Guy DroidINDUSTRIES

  6. Yes i also want to say Excellent job keep up thanks