The Sustainability of SEO over PPC

SEO vs PPC - What is the best tactic for you?

Sustainability of SEO Over PPC

In a previous post, we discussed the main differences between search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC), the two main web traffic drivers.

For short-term marketing goals, PPC is a great source of immediate traffic, but for a traffic source that consistently drives high quality long-term traffic then SEO is the best option.

One factor that makes PPC a difficult sustainable marketing channel is the steady increase in CPC as can be seen below. Some highly competitive keywords have seen their CPC more than doubled in the last four years.

We call this trend CPC inflation which is the gradual increase of average cost-per-click over time when other variables appear to be the same. It means having to spend more per-click just to maintain your average position or impression share.

That is why the sustainability of SEO makes it the most cost-effective driver of website traffic in the long run because it delivers (1) high-quality traffic with intent to buy and (2) an increase in ROI over time. No digital marketing channel generates long-term traffic, leads, and sales with a better ROI than SEO.

On average, SEO is 12% of a typical marketing budget but generates 14% of leads.

Despite having 8% of the marketing budget, PPC generates only 6% of leads. If you are spending more of your marketing budget on PPC than SEO, then your lead generation program is costing you traffic and revenue.

It’s not just the number of leads generated from SEO that makes it such an important inbound tactic it is the quality of those leads.

When asked for the average percentage of leads converted to sales by marketing channels, marketers sighted SEO as the most effective marketing channel.

That’s why Search Engine Optimization is a more sustainable and cost-effective driver of website traffic than PPC is in the long run. The longer you engage in good SEO practices, the lower the cost of driving each visitor to your website. No other traffic source does that.

Ready to integrate SEO into your business strategy? Contact us today!


If you’re looking for help with SEO, contact Braveheart Digital Marketing today. We are a leading SEO Agency in Manchester NH that can help you to improve your website and reach new customers. Contact us today


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The Three Traffic Sources For Startups

Paid Earned and Owned Traffic

The Three Traffic Sources For Startups

I was recently re-reading Randall Stross’s book, The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s Most Exclusive School for Startups. Inside is a quote from Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham about growth rates for start-up

A good growth rate during YC is 5-7% a week. If you can hit 10% a week you’re doing exceptionally well. If you can only manage 1%, it’s a sign you haven’t yet figured out what you’re doing. A 5%-7% weekly growth rate is extremely aggressive but if you want your start-up to get traction in the market, it’s a good growth number to aim for..
Y Combinator Logo
Paul Graham
Y Combinator

The big question then is “how do you do that”?

There are three sources of website traffic for a startup. In order to be successful and meet Paul Graham’s growth target you need to master at least one of these, if not two of these traffic sources.

Rented or Paid Traffic

The first traffic source that most start-ups use is paid traffic. Paid traffic gives you time to allow your other traffic channels to grow and evolve. It allows you to get product market fit, find those those first customers and find out if you have product market fit.

The most common paid traffic sources are Google Adwords (PPC), Facebook ads, display ads, retargeting, paid influencers and paid content promotion.

With paid traffic you are able to contribute content and engage with the audience. You might be able to control the conversation, but you do not own anything else (data, relationship, creativity, etc. etc.). Hence the name rented traffic.

Without the initial steady stream of visitors from paid traffic, you might never get enough data to growth hack your way to success. That is why paid traffic is the most important traffic source for many startups. Over time, that might change, but it is rare to see a startup succeed who does not buy their initial visitors.

Owned Traffic

The second most common traffic source is owned traffic. Owned traffic is traffic from properties that you own. You own the customer relationships. You make the decisions around content, creativity and evolution. The more owned properties you have, the more chances you have to drive traffic to your website.

Examples of owned properties are websites, blogs and customer forums. Social media properties like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter can also be considered as “owned sites”.

One of the most overlooked owned traffic sources is your email list. You have total control over the timing of the messages you send to your subscribers. And when you click “send,” your messages get delivered straight to them.

The challenge for start-ups is that owned traffic takes time. It takes time to organically grow a following via social media or build an email list. That is why owned traffic is usually the second traffic source that startups tackle.

Earned Traffic

The third traffic source is Earned or influenced traffic. This traffic is online word of mouth, usually seen in the form of mentions, shares, reposts, reviews, recommendations, or content picked up by 3rd party sites.

It is traffic source that you cannot directly control. For example you cannot directly control whether people will “Like” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, and then visit your website and become your customer. Nor can you control whether a a piece of content you have produced goes viral.

Earned traffic also includes organic traffic from search engines. Traffic from organic search is considered earned traffic as you cannot control how much traffic the search engines can send you. But like other influenced traffic you can impact this by following SEO best practices.

The challenge for startups with earned traffic is that it is too difficult to predicate, especially in the early stages. You cannot build a growth strategy hoping that you make it to the front page of Hacker News or Business Insider. That is why this is usually the third traffic channel that startups focus on.


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The BEST Way To Generate Leads In 90% Of Industries

Lead Generation

The BEST Way To Generate Leads In 90% Of Industries

A new report from Bizible analyzed more than 480,000 leads through its Salesforce marketing analytics platform and the data showed that Search does a better job of generating leads than any other marketing channel.

A Hubspot report last season showed that SEO provides the best ROI of any inbound marketing channel, and the Bizible study reinforced that data. There is a subtle difference between the two reports as the Hubspot report was able to track both SEO and PPC separately. In the Bizible study they combined both organic and PPC under the single search umbrella.

The Bizible data showed that when looking at first touch, Search drove 56% of leads generated. When looking just at last touch, Search accounted for 41% of the leads generated.

Not a surprise then that the combination of Search first touch and Search last touch was the most productive channel for lead generation, accounting for 37% of all leads from first/last touch combinations.

Lead Generation by First/Last Touch Combinations.
Lead Generation by First/Last Touch Combinations. Source: Bizible

For those marketers who believe that search will not work in their market, Bizible refuted that. The data showed that Search was the leading channel for 9 out of 10 of the industries measured for generating leads by first touch. The software/SaaS sector was the only sector in which search did not drive the majority of first touch leads.

First Touch By Industry

Don’t Overlook Social In Lead Generation Process

Social is a market that has really matured into a valuable inbound marketing channel in the last year of so. When Bizible looked at the percentage of closed deals that were won by first touch in each channel, social impressively came in third with a 30% win rate, despite driving just 5% of leads. Social impact on lead generation is a not widespread yet because the social leads were concentrated among two industries; Education and Finance.

Note that Direct and Search had the two highest closed rates at 56% and 40% respectively with Display having the worst at only 12%.

First Touch Lead Generation By Industry
First Touch Lead Generation By Industry. Source: Bizible

Social shortens the length of the marketing cycle. When Social was the first touch, the marketing cycle was 30% shorter than average.

Marketing Cycle


Search is the most popular first touch channel for lead generation accounting for 56% of all leads acquired. Search, especially organic SEO, has to be a part of your company’s inbound marketing strategy. Whether your market is B2B or B2C, Search generates more leads, more cost-effectively.

The Bizible report shows that the last touch severely undervalues the top of the marketing funnel and does not account for the buyer’s decision journey. Companies need an inbound marketing analytics program that allows for Multi­touch attribution.

You can’t ignore Social in B2B marketing; it has a 30% shorter marketing cycle than the average inbound channel. Social is not just for posting statuses anymore. It is also a valuable lead generation channel.

The full paper “Multi-touch Attribution for Companies with Sales Teams” is available for download here.

We’re offering a free inbound marketing assessment. We will evaluate your current website, and show you the most direct ways you can get more traffic and leads from your website.

Click here to receive our FREE Inbound Marketing Assessment.


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Why SEO Still Provides The Best ROI Of Any Inbound Marketing Channel

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO Provides The Best ROI Of Any Inbound Marketing Channel

I built my first web site in 1996. In those days I just needed to update a meta keyword tag in order to have a site rank highly in the search engines.

Today’s search engine algorithms are very sophisticated and you’ve got to have deep knowledge and well-honed skills to win at SEO. SEO is still the most productive and economical way to generate qualified leads and customers. It’s also the one that Marketers say is the hardest to execute. As a result, more and more companies are letting their marketing budgets get eaten up by PPC and switching their attention away from SEO to the latest shiny toys like Instagram. SnapChat or TikTok.

Despite the appeal of all these new social channels, one thing remains consistent: SEO ROI provides the best return of any inbound marketing channel.

Marketing Spend closely tracks led generation rates

SEO on average is 12% of a typical marketing budget, but generates 14% of leads. PPC, on the other hand, is generating only 6% of leads, despite having 8% of the marketing budget. If you are spending more of your marketing budget on PPC than SEO then your lead generation program is likely upside down.

It’s not just the number of leads generated from SEO that makes it such an important inbound tactic it is the QUALITY of those leads.

In the same study, Hubspot asked marketers for the average percentage of leads converted to sales by marketing channel. SEO leads inbound marketing conversion rates, netting 15% above the average conversion rates.

SEO delivers best ROI of any marketing channel

SEO continues to deliver the best ROI of any inbound marketing channel. It’s worth more attention from marketers. Don’t let the idea that SEO is hard keep you from winning the online game. The right resources will make it easy for you.

Has your organic search traffic has fallen over the last couple of years? If it has then a technical site audit will uncover why the search engines are not ranking you as highly as they used to.

Contact us today and learn how you can increase the ROI of your SEO campaigns.


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