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February 19, 2009

SES London 2009 - Balancing Paid & Organic

By SEOidiot

Mike Grehan, Global KDM Officer, Acronym Media


Andy Atkins-Krüger, Managing Director, WebCertain Europe Ltd
Caragh McKenna, Head of Search Marketing, ICAN
Dixon Jones, Managing Director, Receptional LTD


UK companies spending approx 52% of their budgets on paid search as appose to organic.

In 2008 39% of search engine users feel that companies listed first in the results are leaders in their field (That includes the paid listings)

Now made up of
Traditional web results
Youtube and video results
Stock results

Why organic?
More users click on the organic
Organic results instill greater brand confidence
Organic favors optimisation for blended search

Why paid?
Provides visibility for official site
Provide visibility for sites with indexing issues
Provide top listings where organic visibility has not been achieved
Suits short campaigns
Provides targeted entry points

Showing an example of a search for hotels you could see that the paid and local listings push the organic below the fold.

The future
The search results will no longer be the 10 blue links
2008 survey showed that search users favored results from: -
News 36%
Image 31%
Video 17%

Universal search is still patchy so its still worth concentrating effort on those 10 blue links


As the credit crunch has started to bite there has been a move by clients towards concentrating on organic more than PPC.

Being seen twice in paid and organic is a good thing when possible
It reinforces your brand and gives two opportunities to see the brand
Uplift in CTR of 25% on both listings (Research shows - E-consultancy)
It also increases your chance of converting to sale
Takes up real estate to help eliminate a competitor
Is really cheap on your brand term (Increases ctr and prevents brand reputation management issues)

Dixon showed an example of how spotting the paid listing is getting a little harder with blended search. The example showed a search for "sun" and Dixon drew our attention to some of the commercial businesses in the serps that were arguably paid listings rather than pure organic.

You need balance becuase...
Sometimes organic is too dangerous by itself
Sometimes ppc is too expensive
Two takes real esatet
PPC allows for quicker reaction and short campaigns

Strategic mix
Long term campaigns
The big keywords are the prize, but not always the goal

Calendar events
Scale using many highly focussed Adgroups / Targets
Use for rebuttals
Avoid broad match bids on big keywords
When universal search kicks in


Tweaking the conversion rates on ppc can make a serious difference to the maximum cpc
Then if you take into account the contribution of seo you can look at that as part of the calculation towards what the maximum available cpc there is for your ppc
This has the effect of allowing you to vastly increase the level at which you can compete and raises the bar for competitors. If they still have their ppc in isolation then they will have a break even point below ours and therefore we can make life very difficult for them.



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