Married to SEO But…

The start of a new year is a time when one tends to reflect on a lot of stuff, both intended and unintended. As the new year rolls on I started to reflect on my career choice as a digital marketer. I started my career as a SEO person and I am still married to it. But these days I am having an affair with PPC. Its less demanding, convenient, the outcome is predictable and there is no long-term commitment unless you really want it. Would I recommend PPC to our clients? I definitely would. We have been telling all our clients about our affair and even have a Google partner certification to prove it. (Try comparing this affair with a real life affair where you want to keep it a secret :)) Here in the digital marketing world, you can still be in love and have an affair and get the best of both worlds! Though silo based marketing channels are passé, each channel still does serve a particular purpose. SEO is more about brand building and content leadership. Social media is about interaction and engagement. PPC is where the salesperson in you gets a chance to actually complete your business' primary objective. The primary objective may be selling information, products or even services. The advantage of PPC is that it's specific compared to other forms of digital marketing as they are generic. You can target the actual geographical area right down to the zip code and the exact people searching for your product or services. This feature makes ROI calculation more measurable and it works for agencies like ours, and marketing departments in other companies because the deliverables are somewhat predictable based on costs. That leads to another question…. if PPC is so attractive, should we dump SEO? Nah… not at all, there is no comparison.SEO is still the long-term partner that fulfills its commitment. SEO can turn a business into brand. Plus isn't marketing all about creating requirement where there is none? This is where SEO and social media have an edge over other channels and are more cost effective. Here is an informal table I compiled for my sake though lots of experts have done it too.
  SEO Social PPC Email Marketing
Marketing Objective Brand visibility and Leadership Interactive Feedback and Engagement Sales and Leads Covert leads into customers
Reach General people browsing for information on services and products Interactive people looking for reinforcement on certain information Specific people looking for specific information Interested people looking for more information
It almost seems like a silo structure with no common ground. However, this is wrong. Human behavior through the unpredictable does follow an adhoc pattern. While planning a vacation to Alaska you probably will do a general search on a search engine (probably Google) and see the sites it throws up (brand value). You might then move to a site like Trip Advisor and search for reviews of places and tours. Next, you check out which of your friends on Facebook have been there (reinforcement). Then, you sign up for a few newsletters from tours that appeal to you for further information (email marketing). Then, based on the offers they may give, decide on a booking. The above cross channel search for information applies when you know that you want to go on a vacation to Alaska. However, I may be planning a weekend trip around some place near Seattle. Here my behavior varies. For example, I may just go to Trip Advisor and book a trip most recommended after a brief search. In case of emergencies like kitchen flooding or a severe toothache, one will probably call the first ad they see on PPC on their phone or tablet.However, they will surely check the website to see if they are insurance covered and check reviews too. Hence businesses need to have presence across all digital channels. There actually isn’t much of choice. The more the visibility, the better the chances of conversion. However, you can vary the focus as per your business requirements. Meanwhile my affair with PPC continues though I am still married to SEO.
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Sangeeta Kumar

Sangeeta Kumar is the Vice President of Web Marketing for GMR Web Team, a global online marketing, strategy, development and maintenance agency. Sangeeta is a jack-of-all-trades kinda person in the world of Internet marketing, excelling in market research to come up with a strategy based on the latest trends to get a website on page 1. She knows her stuff and enjoys a good discussion on SEO anywhere, anytime.