The Ultimate Search Battle

Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) are two distinct tactics operating within the search engine marketing (SEM) arena.

Though SEO (define) and PPC (define) are allies in the pursuit of high visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs), these tactics are often considered adversaries in the context of search marketing budget allocation.

At SES New York, which takes place from March 22 through 26, SEO proponents and PPC evangelists will assert their positions at the session, “SEO versus PPC: the Ultimate Search Battle.”

While it’s widely accepted that integrating both SEO and PPC lifts aggregate performance, the objective of this panel sets aside diplomacy in lieu of spurring some lively debate!

Panelists will present a case in support of their preferred search tactic in an open-discussion format, providing for an animated, relevant, and informative dialogue.

Key data and actionable insights derived from effective use of Web analytics will help address the plethora of unanswered questions generated by this pair of complementary, though competitive, search tactics.

Battlefield Search

The exchange will be intense as industry panelists tackle ongoing SEO versus PPC contentions such as:

  • Ramifications of flawed attribution methods between organic and paid search listings. Assigning 100 percent of the conversion value to the source last clicked by the user leads to miscalculations in ROI (define) and skews perception of the effectiveness of one tactic versus the other.
  • Considerations around organic search results operating without paid search ads running in tandem. Some hold that there is a synergistic effect in exposing searchers to both organic and paid listings. Others argue that paid search ads cannibalize organic site visits and incur superfluous click costs. But can we truly test the efficiency of one tactic by withholding the other?
  • Evaluations of how the nature of a search query, whether navigational, informational, or transactional, plays into a searcher’s propensity to click on organic listings versus paid counterparts. Understanding the motivation behind the click, coupled with SERP (define) position analysis, can expose areas of opportunity to strengthen search initiatives.
  • Implications of ever-evolving search engine innovations such as algorithm updates, integration of social features, and new product roll-outs on organic and paid search results. New additions mean more competition for above-the-fold placement on both the organic and paid sides. Savvy search marketers must tweak their tactical execution to either embrace these innovations or compensate for the loss of SERP placement affecting both organic and paid listings.

A Call to Arms

Ultimately, the true winner in this hotly contested debate is the search marketing tactic that meets the specific needs and objectives of the business or company in question. Ideally, it’s not an either/or scenario for any online entity aiming to gain its share of SERP real estate.

But as search marketing budgets tighten and the marketplace crowds, understanding proper execution of these crucial tactics will return greater results from both the paid and organic ends of the search spectrum.

Don’t miss this no-holds-barred session that promises to (finally) shed some data-driven light on this ongoing battle for search marketing supremacy.

Meet Rhian Ryan at SES New York, March 22-26, 2010 at the Hilton New York. SES and ClickZ are both part of Incisive Media.

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