Is SEO fruitless if you don’t have an Adwords campaign running?

SEO by itself carries a lot of risk, a lack of easily monitored metrics and a general lack of certainty. SEO success is at the whim of Google. Whether it works or not will vary massively based on link building strategy, link quality, link velocity, on-page factors, your niche, your selected keywords and your ability to keep up and adapt to the monthly updates that Google tends to make.

The situations that you want to avoid include  using the wrong strategy and be penalized for that or using a sound strategy but picking the wrong (non-profitable) keywords.

On the other hand, AdWords, whilst generally "more expensive" is inherently less risky. You can track it daily, pull out reports daily, rapidly turn keywords on/off etc. In other words, AdWords is a great way to "test" and "prove" that certain keywords have potential for profitability before going down the uncertain path of running a successful SEO campaign.

As a general rule, if a keyword in Adwords drives sales and/or leads (conversions) then it is safe to assume that an SEO campaign will help you to "win more" and scale up those results by an order of magnitude.

This approach of using both Adwords and SEO also encourages businesses and agencies to focus not just on vanity rankings but also on conversion rate and getting the fundamentals right.


David Price

Director at Price Advertising

I am a Cambridge University Honours graduate with postgraduate business qualifications. I am also a qualified Secondary School Teacher having taught at schools including Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College in Perth. Married with 4 kids, I am a cricket tragic. I love business, marketing, advertising, music, playing guitar and singing. My music can be found here http://soundcloud.com/plopconsortium/sets/tunes My linkedin profile can be found here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidprice2

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James Norquay

James Norquay , Consulting Director at Prosperity Media

It depends what market you are in, I have clients who work in markets where the CPC with Adwords is 50-100 dollars a click. So why would they blow thousands on PPC when you they use SEO to have higher tier ROI. I agree in some markets you are 100% worth doing PPC and SEO where the CPC is fair to the customer, yet in other markets you need multi million dollar budgets to keep your head above water. Any any one who does correct white hat SEO in line with the Google guidelines should not be worried at all, it is the ones who are doing low quality spam which are the problem.

David Price

David Price , Director at Price Advertising

Thanks for the comments James!

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