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POV - You’re Overly Dependent On PPC Traffic and You Don’t Know How to Break the Cycle



Jul 19, 2023

Read Time

min read


Digital PR


Jul 19, 2023

Read Time

min read


Digital PR

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The search demand is there Digital PR and SEO should be firing Organic traffic tends to perform better anyway Digital PR for SEO is a marathon, not a sprint But the brand-building benefits of Digital PR last far beyond search rankings Finally, ask yourself, “What happens if we do nothing?”

PPC is a measurable, reliable source of traffic. It’s easy to see how you might get stuck in a cycle with it. After all, it delivers immediately and behaves predictably – both of which make it look like a smart use of your marketing budget, especially if you need to demonstrate ROI in the short term.

However, ‘performance marketing’ like this, focused on the bottom of the funnel works best when combined with brand-building efforts that feed the top of the funnel.

When it’s your main source of traffic, that’s when you’re at risk of getting stuck and over-reliant on a short term tactic. Instead, you need to think longer term and build a more sustainable flow of traffic.

This article explains why. It’s for you if you can relate to the following statements:

  • PPC is your main traffic source
  • You resent how much you spend on it but you or your team think it’s too risky to switch off
  • Your current position in organic search for generic terms is the bottom of page one, page two or page three

If these sound familiar, then read on.

The case for investing in growing organic search traffic through Digital PR:

The search demand is there

Evidently. Because that’s what you’re paying to capitalise on at the moment with your Google Ads. This means you could also be capitalising on it through your organic search rankings too.

Byron Sharp (author of How Brands Grow) has recently said, “Paid search is like shelf space.” It needs to be ‘always on’ to maintain visibility: that means, you must keep spending. One benefit is that spend can be optimised, and it can be a predictable channel with demonstrable ROI. The opposite is also true – you stop spending, the traffic drops, and the sales drop. The classic pay-to-play.

Digital PR and SEO should be firing

If you’re currently hovering around the bottom of page one or page two of the organic results, this is a no brainer. You’re already in the mix (due to the performance or quality of your website most likely). This means that with some focused, consistent attention, the top handful of positions are within reach and with that, comes much chunkier click through rates. I.e. more traffic. Just think – your competitors are probably there already, and they’re capitalising on this instead of you.

Organic traffic tends to perform better anyway

So, go and get more of it. When we say, ‘it performs better’, we mean it stays on the site longer, views more pages and has a higher conversion rate. It also has a higher CTR than PPC ads. This study shows that PPC on average gets 2.1% of clicks. Compare that with the first three organic positions, and it represents a small fraction of the traffic volume potential.

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Digital PR for SEO is a marathon, not a sprint

Barriers to SEO performance can be not investing enough, or consistently, perhaps you’ve been stung by ineffective or outdated advice, or it’s too long term a solution to get sign off on the budget required to make it happen.

In the short term, building organic search presence probably feels unappealing because it’s harder, it takes longer and there are far more variables at play. It may require a strategic shift in budget and resource: changing from a reliable, known (albeit expensive) quantity of immediate traffic to a sustained long term effort can be difficult to justify in the short term. Even for a financial year.

But the brand-building benefits of Digital PR last far beyond search rankings

The necessity for brand-building remains. An improvement in organic search positions is the desired outcome – but there are countless halo benefits from delivering the activity that influences that outcome:

  • Online media coverage and brand mentions. Reaching your audience in the many places they trust, where they are grazing for information.
  • Brand visibility and authority-building. You’re creating expert content or commentary on issues
  • Links back to your site. Even better if they’re links that get clicked on.
  • Onsite content. More reasons to visit, more reasons for your audience to stumble across you, and more reasons for a journalist or website to link to you.

Boosted rankings are the result of ALL of the above (and more). It’s online brand-building, none of which you are getting by just paying for clicks, all of which accumulates in value over time.

Finally, ask yourself, “What happens if we do nothing?”

Imagine yourself six months to a year down the line with your current PPC strategy.

Ad costs might go up (CPC). Your campaigns may be as refined and optimised as they can possibly be. You may be facing increased competition, or new competition. If that’s the case then you may feel even more stuck than you do today.

We're always interested in a new PR challenge

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