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ROI for SEO vs. PPC and Email Marketing

ROI for SEO vs. PPC and Email Marketing

ROI for SEO vs. PPC and Email Marketing

There can be no doubt that search engine optimization is important, but when it comes to return on investment (ROI), does it reign supreme? Are there other channels that will yield better returns on your investment? As you are considering what channels should be included in your marketing plan, it’s important to know what will bring you the best returns, in the shortest amount of time, and what is more of a “long haul” channel. Here is how ROI for SEO stacks up against other channels.


Pay per click advertising seems like a great deal, right? You only have to pay for the people who actually click on your link, not just the number of people who might view it. But PPC has its own shortcomings. There are lots of websites that pay people just to go and click on links—so that the platform will get paid, but the business paying for those clicks doesn’t really get any legitimate traffic or business. Websites that are not optimized for a PPC campaign have an extremely high bounce rate (people who click in and then immediately click away), making PPC extremely expensive for those who do not have a functional campaign in place.

SEO on the other hand, usually has a much lower cost and bounce rate. It does, however, take significant time to find a foothold, especially if you stay away from black hat SEO techniques (which you absolutely should). Lower investment, but slower returns. Plus, Google updates its algorithm and techniques that once worked no longer hold water, meaning you need to overhaul your campaign or risk being penalized.

So, both SEO and PPC have their own positives and negatives. When it comes to return on investment, who is going to win? It can be difficult to say, especially because a thriving PPC campaign can seriously boost SEO efforts—but here is some food for thought: SEO costs less to implement and it has a much more lasting effect than PPC. PPC is expensive and can have high returns in the short-term—but that’s really all PPC is good for—short term boosts while other marketing tactics take hold. SOI has the higher ROI, that cannot be denied, but it takes longer to get that return. PPC returns less (because the investment is higher), but it gets people to your page much faster. Is it worth the cost?

That’s not to say that you should cut PPC out of your advertising budget entirely, but that you should carefully consider how long to conduct the campaign and how much money you want to spend on it.

SEO vs. Email Marketing

Picking SEO or email marketing ROI is going to be tough—both have relatively high return on investment rates, especially when compared to other channels like PPC and mobile marketing. SEO and email marketing are widely considered as having either “good” or “excellent” ROI, with SEO having a slight advantage in marketing circles, because it has staying power that no other marketing avenue can even hope to approach.

The only pitfall that email marketing has is that it requires individuals to buy into the marketing—they have to provide their email address, in order for the marketing to reach their inbox. Actually ROI figures will depend on how aggressively the campaign is implemented and how well the webpage itself is catered towards either email marketing or SEO (true of all marketing channels).

Where SEO has a slight advantage over email marketing is that ability to reach individuals who have not even signed up for the message and the staying power of SEO. What makes email marketing unique, however, is that those who sign up to receive marketing emails are more receptive to the message, as they have chosen to receive it.

SEO isn’t too far off of this, however, as those who see a link boosted by SEO are searching for links like the one your SEO campaign provides them with. This is why comparing SEO to email marketing is difficult. The only real edge, then, is that SEO works in the long-term, while email marketing works only for the space of time that it remains in an individual’s mailbox.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that when it comes to long-lasting results, SEO is the best for ROI. When it comes to short-term boosts, PPC is the best. For reaching out to past customers or to those interested in your products or services, email marketing is the best. However, SEO’s return on investment is notoriously high not just because the campaign is inexpensive to get started, but also because it really works, and not just for a few hours or days, but for months and years.

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