The Winner Is … SEO or PPC?

So which do you think draws more traffic to your site. SEO or PPC? If you said SEO; you’re wrong. If you said PPC — wrong again!

For the second year in a row, the highest percentage of sales dollars (40%) was generated from visitors who arrived at a site via direct access or bookmarks. Engine Ready, an Internet marketing company, analyzed 18.7 million visits over two years to Web sites run by 27 of the company’s roughly 500 clients.

These figures once again prove out the importance of networking, relationship management and engagement with those visitors who you come in contact with!

SEO, PPC vs. Direct Access

  • Organic listings – 12%
  • Paid listings – 20%
  • Direct Access/Bookmarks – 40%
  • Other referrers – 28%

This could very likely be an indication of repeat visitors, despite the study showing that only 25% of the visitors were repeat visitors. Therefore one can surmise that the 25% repeat visitor value would have been closer to the 40% level had visitors not deleted their cookies.

SEO, PPC, Organic Conversion Rates

Such visitors, who tend to be repeat customers, linger the longest, spend the most money, and are the most likely to “convert” to buyers, doing so on 3.3 percent of their visits. On average, their visits are worth $5.69 apiece.

Inbound links to a site from other domains are both beneficial for SEO as well as driving additional quality traffic. And it was found that visitors arriving from other domains and emails took top honors for the highest value per visitor at $7.19, beating out last studies victor, direct access/bookmark by $0.16.

“Ever since the pay per click model became a channel for marketers, there has been an ongoing debate whether an investment in search engine optimization generates a higher ROI than paying for clicks using a PPC advertising model.

On an individual basis, there’s a multitude of factors that determine how well your visitors will convert when arriving from a search engine. Looking at the big picture across our entire sample size, though, did show that visitors from PPC ads outperformed those from organic listings in every category except average number of page views per visit. This was consistent with our study results from 2007. Overall, we found that the average sales dollar value per visitor arriving from a PPC ad was $2.38, or 76% higher than that of a visitor from an organic listing.

Additionally, paid traffic converted at a 54% higher rate and experienced an average order value 10% above that of traffic from organic listings.”

What this study confirms to me is something I’ve thought myself for years. When I’m ready to buy, I don’t trust organics. I assume (right or wrong) that those paying for PPCs and sending out professional marketing e-mails are those who take their business and therefore their customers more seriously.

If your online “advertising” model is solely about fretting over the natural/organic rankings you have or don’t have — you don’t get it. You need to have a healthy mix of marketing activities to attract your target customer. And clearly once they do visit, it is your site, your service and your product quality that can only keep them coming back for more.

At your service,