SEO vs PPC – Which one Guarantees Results?

How important should SEO be to an Online business owner and should they focus more on PPC? The real question is which one guarantees results?

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Years ago when I was dabbling in the mail order business, I had to read books to get some kind of an understanding about how Direct Response and Mail Order marketing works.

The materials I was reading covered the marketing of physical products as well as services. All the books and videos from the marketing masters seem to talk a lot about one thing – Advertising.

No Guesswork Is Permitted

It turns out that the successful marketing masters such as Ted Nicholas, Gary Halbert, Claude Hopkins (to name only a few), all believed that Advertising is scientific and every marketing effort must be measured to the finest detail.

Mail order advertising is traced down to the fraction of a penny. The cost per reply and cost per dollar of sale show up with utter exactness. One ad is compared with another, one method with another. Headlines, settings, sizes, arguments and pictures are compared. To reduce the cost of results even one per cent means much in some mail order advertising. So no guesswork is permitted. – Claude Hopkins

How It Works

How it works is simple, it goes something like this:

You run a Test advertisement or direct mail piece which costs a certain amount of money lets say $100.00 which generates 30 leads. Out of the 30 leads, 5 pull out their credit card and buy the product you are selling. Then you crunch the numbers..

Crunch The Numbers

Calculator and financial reports
Marketing: $100.00
Product Fulfilment: $5.00 per unit x 5 = $25.00
Sales: 50 sales at $47.00 per unit = $235.00
Profit: $110.00

Based on the above figures, the Test was a success because it produced a profit. What they say to do if a marketing Test becomes a success is to simply roll out more advertising revenue to increase profits.

Therefore, based on the figures above, if $1000,00 is spent on advertising it would produce $1,100.00 profit, and if $10,000 is spent, it would produce $11,000.00 in profit.

This is not rocket science. This is simple math translated into scientific marketing principles. The basic rule-of-thumb of these marketing principles being:

If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.

So what does all this have to do with SEO and PPC?

I am just making a point that advertising is scientific and can be measured, and likewise, pay-per-click advertising can also be measured. By learning paid advertising methods one’s skills only improve over time. This is a real asset!

In contrast, SEO is not very scientific because search engines can move the goal posts at any time with an algorithm update. It can be sort of like being a consistent winner at a casino, eventually they ban you.

You buy the books and the latest link-building software, subscribe to members only SEO websites, pay professional SEO experts to do it for you and then after some success, BAM, the rug gets pulled.

The Sad News

Too often I read posts on Internet Marketing forums with marketers complaining about how their website is no longer ranked high in the organic search results and how the rug has been pulled out from their income.

After being addicted to SEO for many years, spending lots of money, wasting years of valuable time and having many rugs pulled from underneath my efforts, my conclusion is SEO is not exact while PPC is because SEO results cannot be measured exactly.

SEO vs PPC – Effort vs Results

Effort Results Graph
Guesswork: PPC results can be measured exactly while SEO cannot.

Effort: Once a successful PPC marketing campaign has been established, minimal effort is required to maintain and improve the campaign. Compare this to continual link-building requirements to stay ahead of SEO professionals who will forever target your keywords.

Guarantees: PPC guarantees a specific amount of traffic for a certain amount of money while SEO does not. What’s more, PPC traffic is instant.

Speed: PPC keyword Testing is fast and reliable while SEO is slow and unreliable.

Test and Track: PPC allows you to analyse which specific keywords are actually making money while free search engine traffic only allows you to track which keywords bring traffic.

Exponential Growth: Once a Test PPC ad becomes profitable, it can be repeated instantly with more ad spend to increase profits quickly and exponentially regardless of the cost-per-click while this is not possible with SEO.

Assumptions: There is no proof that a particular SEO strategy improves rankings for certain keyword phrases, only assumptions. This is because precise testing and tracking too is difficult.

Cheaper: When all the SEO spend and time has been calculated for an unmeasurable result for some time in the future, one can be making a profit with PPC with far less time and money.

You cannot rely on free search engine traffic because the rules can change at any time without notice.


SEO on Display of Vending Machine.
These days I’d rather spend $1,000.00 on a PPC Test which can be measured instantly rather than $27.00 on the latest SEO sales pitch which could end up wasting more of my precious time.

SEO tactics get outdated quickly which means all that time and effort goes down the drain for no guaranteed result.

I do not use SEO as part of a marketing strategy. SEO is an obsessive, expensive, time-consuming, money draining hobby. In addition, there is old outdated, and dangerous black-hat SEO secrets being sold by new experts. Who should you trust?

If you sell products and services, the best advice I have ever heard is:

Advertise your business or advertise it for sale.

Read all about scientific advertising.

Stock photos are copyright © tashatuvango, Sandor Kacso, designsoliman, Ivelin Radkov – Fotolia.

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