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Question about the value of SEO vs PPC

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by qwiktrade, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. qwiktrade

    qwiktrade Newbie

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    This is my first post on this forum. I have been browsing for a couple of weeks (even bought a bunch of stuff) and finally got around to signing up.

    I have been a full time IM for 8 years, exclusively with PPC. In December I decided to begin doing some SEO for my main site just to see if it is worth pursuing. I rebuilt the site using drupal as the core to make it easier to work with and then I chose some pretty general keywords to try and rank for and started building links. Right now I have two #2 spots, two #3's, and the site is #12 for the most important keyword in my test. That's great since I was not ranking for any of them a short time ago. I had not built a single link to the site previously except a paid listing from Yahoo directory.

    What has surprised me is the lack of traffic from the keywords that I am ranking for. It seems that the site only ranks for the exact match of the term targeted, which reduces the potential traffic substantially.

    I bid on more than 100k keywords in my PPC campaigns, most of which are phrase or broad match. I am trying to understand what it will take to be competitive with SEO. If I narrow my focus to the 500 keywords that bring me the most traffic, it is still a very big job.

    Since I have to target each variation of a keyword individually, that immediately becomes 500 x 15 or 7500. If I have to build 100 quality links to get one variation ranked, then I will need to build 750k links. That's a lot of links.

    The bottom line is that I do not have experience working with SEO and so my assumptions are probably wrong. If anyone has some tips or advice about my situation, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. meatro

    meatro BANNED BANNED

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    There are a few huge advantages of SEO over PPC.. And vise versa, it's all about what you're doing.

    For example, I sell an actual retail product. But in my niche, people are willing to spend so much on advertising that it really kills the profits. We get our stuff for the lowest possible price and it's honestly confusing to me how most of these people make money.. Of course I focus on SEO and not PPC. I attempted a PPC campaign and folks were bidding over $1/click on a <$10 product, we were making a sale at about 5-10%.

    Even at $500/day, we were getting about 300-400 visitors and sometimes ALMOST breaking even on AdWords and our budget barely supported 5-6 hours of advertising. So we gave that up and turned to organic results. That's where we're at now as it's a pretty competitive market and we're barely a 4 month old site.. We'll get there, though, it's just a matter of patience. (I've cemented sites in tougher markets, that helps.)

    With organic SEO, that's all it is. A matter of patience and diligent work until you see results and even then. Well written descriptions (I go for high AdWords quality scores even when I don't use PPC), regular fresh content (such as a blog or some type of article section of your site), these and other things will eventually pick you up for those longer tail keywords. Many onsite SEO factors also go into gaining long tail keywords, if you can include many of them in your navigation somehow, that helps rank the relevant pages A LOT.

    For example, I always take my menus deep as I can without going against user-friendliness:

    Cups
    --> Foam Cups
    ----> Small Cups
    ------> 8oz White Foam Cups
    ------> 8oz Brown Foam Cups
    ----> Cup Lids
    ------> 8oz White Foam Cup Lids
    ------> 8oz Black Foam Cup Lids

    Now I've achieved 2 things... 1.) My users can go from my homepage, directly to my page where they can purchase the cups and lids. So they go from landing to buying ASAP. 2.) Google can see that every single page of my site references that product as "8oz White Foam Cups." So it has a very, very clear understanding of exactly what's on that page before it even looks at it.

    Combine that with other onsite optimizations:

    URL: site.com/cups/foam-cup/small/8oz-white-foam-cups
    This URL not only contains my long tail keyword (8z white foam cups) but many, many others. Small foam cups, foam cups (twice), small white cups, etc. etc.

    TITLE: 8oz White Foam Cups > Small Cups > Foam Cups > Cups > Site.com
    This is my personal preference, to have the title long like this and for the same reason as the URL. Some will say that it takes away from keyword density in the title.. However, I say it limits the number of keywords that ARE IN your title. Plus, the product page's title is usually long (like above).. So it's going to get cut off by Google anyways. Why not throw another word in there that diversifies the title.

    In that particular example, it would not get cut off (as it's less than the 70~ character limit), but many cases do. And if your product takes up many of those characters, for example:

    8oz Dixie Foam Cup With Custom Logo & Matching Lid > Small Cups > Foam Cups > Cups > Site.com

    This one gets cut off after "> Foam"... So you've now got the word "small" and "cups" in there as well (where SEO'ing your entire site, including cat names, child cats comes in).
    small foam cup, small foam cups, foam cup with matching lid, 8oz matching cups, you get the picture.

    I do this all also with the breadcrumbs (if you are not using FULL breadcrumbs then why use them? Without FULL bread crumbs, it's just another home button and one less way for Google to recognize the structure and flow of content on your website) as well as the navigation.

    It helps to use dropline or sliding menus, you can get away with deeper levels than you can with say a dropdown menu or static menu.

    When you pay careful attention during the creation of your website to SEO (SEO begins at step 1 of the design phase!!) then your website will always be made to not only conquer and cement its place in competitive terms, but also offer a huge array of long tail keywords whether you planned them or not.

    Most of getting long tail keywords is on your site, not in your back links. Of course, if you have a SPECIFIC long term in mind and want to make sure you rank for it, then build links to THE PAGE that best suits that keyword on your site. (Links anchored "cup lids" would belong on site.com/cups/foam-cup/lids, not always the homepage).

    Just like ranking in a low competition niche as usual, so long as it's not overly competitive.. If you have quality content, especially if you have RELATED quality content, it helps if you're ranked for other related terms also, there's a good chance you will rank for those long keywords.

    Haha... I cannot tell you the first thing about PPC, though. :)
     
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  3. Markthedude

    Markthedude Power Member

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    @Meatro,

    That is some solid information, most of which I use on my sites as well but there is one thing that you mentioned that I've sort of ignored, breadcrumbs.

    Do you think it really helps if you have only say a 5-10 page site? I do micro-niche sites and so all of my pages usually fit in my navigation bar. I know I could simply turn breadcrumbs on and see what happens but have you noticed any real improvement with smaller sites?
     
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  4. Busrunner

    Busrunner Junior Member

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    Seriously... You have been in IM for 8 years doing PPC amd you have a campaign with 100k phrase and broad terms? Then I am pretty sure you can double your ROI without even seeing your campaign.
     
  5. sharolsmith

    sharolsmith Junior Member

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    My vote to seo
     
  6. meatro

    meatro BANNED BANNED

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    I've not made many smaller sites, but when I do.. I'm with you, I ignore breadcrumbs. Doubt they provide too much benefit for only a few pages, the structure of those sites is straight forward. Not saying it absolutely provides no benefit, but most likely is like baking at 405 degrees for 19:56 minutes as opposed to baking at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

    However, for larger sites like ecommerce, reviews and stuff with content that can potentially get buried in some deep category, breadcrumbs provide an extra reference to that point in the site's structure.

    Site.com > Cups > Foam Cups > Small Cups > 8oz White Foam Cup

    This references 3 categories (linking to them) and along with the navigation, URL, sitemap and title.. Provides one more blueprint for the way these categories are structured within your site. When you're going more than a couple of categories deep, you want to be sure to show Google exactly how to navigate your site in as many ways as possible.
     
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  7. qwiktrade

    qwiktrade Newbie

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    Meatro,

    Great post. This system does not want me to show appreciation until I have been a member for a while :).. I particularly like the idea about the menus. I'll definitely be looking into that.

    Probably your competitors were doing one of two things here. First and most likely, they have a better quality score and ctr than you and are paying much less than 1 dollar a click. Second, they may be subsidizing their adwords buy with revenue from their organic placements. In other words, they may need the sales generated by the adwords buy to meet volume thresholds.

    I have seen companies come and go in my niche that pop into the first or second place. Two months later they vanish. One company reached out to me asking if I would manage their campaigns for a fee after they lost 10k on their ads in a single month. My CPC in a very competitive market is about 11 - 16 cents and they were paying much more. I do not bid on the "money terms" related to my niche. I let everyone else pay 4$ and waste their budget there. I find keywords that are more loosely targeted. Despite the mantra spouted by experts and search engines, targeting the terms that are more relevant and convert at the highest rate is often not the best way to go. In other words, a keyword that converts at 1% and costs .06 is much better than one costing $1 that converts at 10%.
     
  8. hugh14

    hugh14 Newbie

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    Actually, this is not necessarily true.

    Assume 100 exposures, a CTR of 20%, and a sale price of $10

    Ad 1
    1% conversions = $10 revenue
    $.06 CPC = $1.20 costs
    profit = $8.80

    Ad 2
    10% conversions = $100 revenue
    $1 CPC = $20 costs
    profit = $80