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SEO, PPC, and Social – The Shootout Continues and a Winner is Crowned!

In Part one of this Online Marketing Heavyweight Shoot-out, we left off talking about what happens when a client – who for whatever reason – decides to pull the plug on their online marketing efforts. Crazy right? Hey, it happens, and when the call or email comes in it usually sounds a little something like this:

Our Online Advertising has worked well, but let’s ease off the gas and take a break for a while…

So – let’s indulge that thought for a moment. Heck, Let’s go all the way with it and  take a look at what a full YEAR of paying nothing but your hosting bill will actually look like, and how it affects each ‘type’ of advertising:

no online marketing graph

Dave and SEO:

While it took a while to get rolling over the first year, SEO has actually continued to increase even after we’ve stopped. Yes, Google is smart, but if often takes them a while to pick up on the signals we’ve been sending. Neat, huh?

Beyond this, however, the trend is a gradual, steady decrease, with the most significant drop again being around 4-6 months. Chalk it up to an ever changing SEO landscape, and the fact that your competitors may have not shared in your desire to ‘take a break’. (though they may still be seeing other people).

If we were to continue this graph beyond the year, we would likely see that our SEO efforts would continue to provide traffic and exposure indefinitely, albeit in much lower quantities.

Dave, for the most part, would probably be unbearably pleased with himself seeing the long lasting effects of the SEO work. “This is where all the hard work *really* pays off” he says smugly to himself, because…well…no one really wants to be around him anymore.

Andrew and PPC:

No Surprise here. As soon as we stop PPC, the effects are immediate. While there may be a trickle of prospects who had jotted down your number, the traffic and exposure are pretty much nil. Expect the odd ‘blip’ via repeat business or referrals over the year, but that’s pretty much it.

For all the ‘Good’ that was PPC in the beginning, the reality is as soon as we pull the plug, the party is over. “But” Andrew argues, “We can turn this back on at any moment. We can pause it while the owner is on Holidays. Turn it up to ’11’ during the clients peak season. It’s 100% within our control.” Again, he makes a good point. And how could you NOT agree with him when he flashes you those puppy dog eyes.

Michelle, Nate and Social:

While ‘disengaging’ in Social efforts and brand reputation is obviously going to result in a decrease in reach, what you may be surprised to learn is that after 3-6 months, your Social presence (or lack thereof) may actually be HARMING your business. Warning: The orange line thingy went below zero!

Yes, your  ‘Merry Christmas 2009!’ Tweet, and Ghost Town Facebook timeline aren’t making your business look very alive.  “Are these guys still in business?” wonders an ever increasing social audience. And heck, by now Google has got to be close to rolling out it’s slam-dunk-how-ya-doin-Google+3.0 driven search algo. – “What do you MEAN you didn’t merge?! You don’t have ANYBODY in your circles??”

Hey, Nate and Michelle Warned you.

What does it all MEAN?

O.k, I’ve had a lot of fun with this but if you’ve got this far you’re probably seeing that each of these ‘styles’ of online marketing have their distinct pros and cons.

Ironically, they also have a ‘time required to achieve/lose results’ curve that are curiously inversely proportionate to one another.

So what does it all mean? I did promise you a shoot out, after all.

Without further ado, the results of the Heavyweight shootout are:

In Third Place:

SEO – *But only if*: You are really interested in mid term, sustainable growth, and have the patience to sit it out.

In Third Place (tie):

PPC  – *But only if*: You want the results NOW and like to be in Control.

In Third Place (tie):

 Social – *But only if*: You want to protect and nurture your brand, and are in it for the LONG haul.

So, a 3 way tie for 3rd?! Boo!!

Sorry Kiddies, but the reality is – running each of these styles of online Marketing alone does not a #1 contender make.

Alas, it is only when these 3 online heavyweights JOIN FORCES, each compensating for the others weaknesses that a true champion is spawned.

winners of online marketing



In a classic Disney ending, Dave, Andrew, Nate, and Michelle each Stand on the podium, holding each other’s arms up as Champions. Tears. Strings. Tons of mutual respect. We all learned a little something, didn’t we? Yip.

And that is that SEO is still the best option. Ever.

Why? Because it’s my post, that’s why.