Monday, February 05, 2007

Should You Pay For it?

Time is money. Money is time. Money is money. Yes... I’ll stop now.

The question is... what should you spend your limited time on in regard to name collection?

Pay per click (PPC) ads, or optimizing your pages for the free organic listings?

You'll need to figure out what will produce more names, what you can afford to spend and what will give you the best return on investment based on the limited time you have.

Hmmm… not to mention all the other areas to collect new names. But, let’s not even go there… this is about the engines. They are the largest producer of impressions on the web today.

First off, is time of the essence?

If speed matters... then PPC will get you up online and in front of hundreds of thousands in minutes. You build your campaign, and with the click of a button, you’re getting traffic. Top of the page, keyword of your choice, yet paying top dollar for every click.

Sure it's money that buys you a good top position but any changes you need made are immediate, and you are the one in control.

Isn't that worth the money?

Organic is not as immediate. Certainly you can optimize a page in a few hours just as you would with a PPC landing page… but your posting is not immediate. You must wait for the engines to find you. And that wait can be 24 hours… or 24 days.

Also keep in mind once your page is ranked, you may have to do additional tweaking to attain a higher ranking, or maybe change the keyword for better results. Plus, you'll need to continue to make subtle changes as either the engines algorithm criteria changes or subsequent targeted pages are ranked higher which bump you down.

So PPC wins. (I guess)

Nonetheless, I advise everyone to optimize ALL pages and keep tweaking and testing. It may not be the quickest way to get exposure but in the long run your site as a whole will rank higher with the more pages you optimize, and you will then collect in a constant steady stream of names.

What about the costs?

Certainly you have heard the horror stories of companies spending, or rather losing, hundreds of thousands of dollars on PPC, right?

Yep, I’ve seen it first hand. But that does not mean it will happen to you. You can buy smart and cast a small net... or conversely jump in overly aggressive and lose your ass. Of course, some are overly aggressive and bring in thousands of names a day. So it depends on your goals, budget, and your monitoring.

Is it worth the money spent?

Yes it is.

Even though you are paying for traffic and organic pages get traffic free… with PPC the flow and type of traffic is controlled by you. And that is just too overwhelmingly positive to pass up.

So figure out a cost per name acquisition limit that you can build a campaign around. Give yourself a specified break even… just like direct mail. In other words, if you bring in names at $5.00 and they produce $25.00 on the list who cares if the cost is in the thousands? It’s all about the value of the name and PPC allows you the control to acquire them at a set price.

Oh, it may take constant tweaking of your bids, teasers and landing pages, but yes, you can control every aspect.

Those horror stories are from so-called "marketers" who were not paying attention to the campaign and thus let the costs spiral away from them. That won’t happen to you. I know you'll be on it like a hawk!

What it comes down to is both sides of SEO have merit and you need to do BOTH.

Your site can make a name for itself quickly by buying the top ad spot in your niche. The same goes for having the best optimized web site than anyone else in the niche. (Not to mention that you've created incredible value with your content!)

You do both - “you are gold!”

Isn’t it all just about traffic?

Yeah, kind of. You certainly need traffic and you’ll die on the vine without it, but both PPC and organic will get you traffic. But the traffic only comes to page one, for organic, and the top of page one, for PPC. Then you'll get the highest volume of traffic on the web.

So here is the bottom line. ARE YOU THERE?

If today, you're not on the first page with a niche keyword search of your organic pages… then be at the top with PPC.

One or the other... but you need to be there. So, start with PPC. Then go to work on optimizing your site. When your site moves up... you can change the strategy of the PPC campaign and go to other keyword areas, or stay there with a double whammy!

Exciting, eh?

Yeah... so let’s stop talking about it and go do it. I’ve got a PPC campaign to get back up right now. How is it doing?

Not so good, so I’ve reformatted the landing page. Test, test, test.