Some things in life we can’t avoid paying for like rent, and taxes etc. In a recent “study” released by Google they claim that users are almost 2x as likely to click on your organic listing if they see you have a paid search Ad also. This may be efficient for large enterprises with uncapped budgets wanting maximum market share, but to a small business, the idea of spending an extra couple thousand dollars or more extra a month just to increase their organic clicks is a bit misleading I think. It’s great information to know, but should be taken with a grain of salt.
Now with the exception of bidding on your own brand terms which should cost you only pennies, other terms will still cost you a premium even if you rank high organically. If you’re a large enterprise with unlimited funds then yes it may make sense to combine SEO with PPC, but if you’re a small business wanting the best ROI then it makes sense to first make sure your SEO efforts are maximized. Also what phrases was this study done for, I’m sure for some phrases a paid Ad may help, but on others not even if you rank organically.
Of course Google is going to release a study saying you should make them even more money by using Adwords as they’re the main benefactor of the study. But according to most marketing managers in the recent Merchant confidence study by MerchantCircle paid search’s importance was far below their SEO efforts . They would only put one third of their budget towards paid search in comparison to SEO.
Google’s study actually proves the value of SEO by showing that most people don’t click on paid search ads, but instead prefer the SEO organic results instead. But of course if you have your brand listed twice on the search results page that will help get more click throughs and help with branding, but are you willing to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars extra per month for the people that click on the paid ad instead even though you rank high organically?
SEO is by far the best investment to make when compared to just about any other form of advertising.