We talk lots on this blog about search engines. As a website builder, search engines will probably be the single biggest source of traffic to your website.
Search engines can deliver traffic to your site from two separate sections of the results page.
Here’s an image that shows the sections I mean.
The lower left hand side (highlighted in green) is called the ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ listings. To boost your site higher up this section of the page you need to carry out Search Engine Optimisation. Take a look at our SEO Guide on how to do that.
The upper and right hand side (highlighted in red) is called the ‘sponsored or ‘paid-for’ or ‘AdWords’ listings, To boost your site higher up the top and right hand side of the page, you need to carry out Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click (PPC). We’re shortly going to be launching a full guide to PPC, and offering our own PPC help service.
The big question for every website owner is: Is a visitor from the organic or paid listings worth more?
The only real answer for your website can be found by analysing your Google Analytics data, and working out which visitors led to sales. Here’s a video tutorial on how to set up Google Analytics.
But from a ‘top down’ perspective, Google themselves have recently released an economic study suggesting that clicks on the sponsored listings are worth more than those on the organic listings. In fact, Google say that clicks from the natural listings are worth just 70% of those from the sponsored listings.
Google don’t give any background on why they have made this assumption. So here are a few thoughts of our own:
1.The Ads are more controlled than the organic listings. Organic listings are Google’s best judgment about what you’re looking for. But an advert is specifically targeted at your search, judged by both the advertiser and AdWords as being relevant.
2. Ads are deep linked. Ads should take you straight to the page on the website that is most relevant to your search. Organic listings often send traffic to home or category pages.
3. Once you click on an ad, you have identified yourself as someone with specific intent. You’re not turned off by the ad, and you click it with the intent to complete an action.
4. Users clicking on an advert know they’re entering into an open commercial relationship with that advertiser, and are therefore more likely to carry out a transaction.
5. There’s less competition in the Ads. At most there are a few thousand advertisers on a keyword. The organic listings by contrast have 10,000, 100,000 or even a million results.
6. By a process of analysis, the only advertising that survives is the stuff that’s working. Advertisers only put money into keywords and ads that work, and pause it if it stops working. The organic listing, by contrast, deliver visitors even beyond the point where the website deems its interested in having them.
Are you using PPC or SEO to drive traffic to your website? Which option is giving you the best results? Leave us a comment below.