Search engine metrics are dense. What’s more is not a lot is actually known about the logistical inner workings. What those of us on the outside know is generalities, augmented through trial and error experimentation. To further complicate matters, search engines change their algorithms periodically. One such change occurred in late 2011–Google named it “Panda”–as a result, the dynamics of using article directories for backlinking changed. Though the change was slight, the hysteria prior to the update made many uneasy.
What is publicly known about search engine processes is jaw-dropping. We all know there are two types of SERP population or Search Engine Results Page rankings: PPC and organic. The differences are not only in aesthetics, vertical appearance and price but in statistics.
Pay Per Click Drives
Everyone who has been on the world wide web is familiar with these populated search results. After typing in a term to search, the first results are highlighted and appear with a pseudo-disclaimer, alerting the viewer of the fact the first results are paid advertisements but not endorsements of the search engine.
Known as “PPC” or Pay Per Click, these results are the product of what film makers and television executives call “product placement”. The advertiser is paying a premium to be at the top of the SERP. With that type of exposure, one would almost certainly conclude there is a substantial return on investment. But the truth of the matter is, it might be better viewed as a loss-leader of sorts. Amazingly, only 10 to 15 percent of click-through traffic is generated by PPC drives. Not much bang for the buck.
Another way of measuring this poor performance is to put it in some perspective. There are approximately 7.5 billion searches performed on Google each month in the US alone, according to Tech Crunch. Of those, about 30 percent are redundant searches, meaning different users searching for the same items, like “cheap computer tablets”. That leaves a hefty 70 percent to what are classified as “long tail” or searches which are irregular keywords or search terms only performed a few times a month. Incredibly, Google has let it be known that one-fifth or 20 percent of those 7.5 billion searches are performed for the first time ever.
That means the PPC drive must be one of the most searched terms in the 30 percent of redundant queries–chances are this won’t be the case.
Organic SEO Campaigns
Organic SERP or populated results are those links returned after performing a keyword query. They appear below the PPC results but generate far more traffic.
Organic campaigns are different in they are done through natural search behavior. A well-visited site with quality content and a myriad of third-party inbound links outperforms PPC. In fact, 85 to 90 percent of all click-through traffic is from organic search results–far better than any pay per click campaign can demonstrate. The reason for such a showing is simply because to the human eye and mind, organic results are trustworthy. They garner this accreditation because of their popularity.
The moral of the story is PPC, no matter how inexpensive, simply doesn’t deliver. SEO is best left to cultivating organic results. Moreover, once the PPC drive ends, there’s little postliminary effect. Organic SEO, however, remains and grows.