One of Internet marketing’s important questions is whether it makes sense to put a marketing budget toward search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), or both? You’ll find a mix of opinions on the issue. Some feel that adding PPC when a site is already ranking well organically creates unnecessary expensive cannibalism—paying for clicks that would have come for free through an organic ranking. Others believe in a synergistic effect that PPC has on organic traffic. So what is the right answer?
With most traditional franchise operations, the idea was simple. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, use a tested and proven business model and rely on the franchisor to handle advertising at the national level. Your only requirement was to put up the capital and cross your fingers. However, the internet changed advertising as we knew it.
Just as the dust seemed to be settling following Google’s original Penguin update, which rolled out about a year ago, the search engine giant has unleashed a major sequel. Penguin 2.0, which is also being called Penguin 4, debuted on May 22. Due to the fact that it’s still in its infancy, its far-reaching implications remain unclear. Still, a few things are apparent. This update seeks to drive home the fact that Google is out for sites that use black-hat SEO techniques. Like its predecessor, Penguin 2.0 is especially touchy about backlinks. Most importantly of all, it appears to have had a huge impact on local search results already.
When Google looks to evaluate the authority of a site, it would much rather see 20 sites casting a digital vote for your site (which is really what linking is) than one site casting 20 digital votes. I’ve seen countless backlink profiles of sites with thousands of links originating from only a couple of dozen different sites, often the result of footer or sidebar links that perpetuate themselves every time a new page is created. If I could only use one metric when talking about a backlink portfolio’s health or when comparing two sites’ backlinks, I would use unique LRD’s over total links every time.
As an SEO, it’s one thing to tell your boss or a client that you built some links of varying quality on various sites with varied anchor text which appear to be helping various rankings which pull in X amount of organic revenue. It’s quite different to say “I built a link that drove traffic and made $8,000.” The first statement will always sound a bit shaky. The second will always sound confident. With attribution becoming an increasingly hazy science, direct link revenue is really the only safe ground to stand on as a link builder.
The keywords that impact organic search revenues are often as complex as the business itself. Our ability to recognize that each keyword we target requires different tools to identify and different approaches to optimize can mean the difference between a successful SEO campaign and a failed campaign. As you try to visualize annual search volumes for a particular keyword more as one of many possible demand curves rather than a pure number, you’ll gain greater segmentation abilities and better optimization strategies.