SEO or PPC – Who Prefers What?

When it comes time for a company to decide how to best optimize their website, they often ask, “Do I just do natural SEO, paid search, or possibly both? What is the best thing for my company?” At Oneupweb we strongly using both SEO and paid search. But let’s take a look at the differences between them, and the different demographics they effectively target.

According to a survey of 1,649 people, 56.3 percent of the respondents use search engines at least once a day and 56.7 percent usually use the same search engine. Of all the respondents, 81.7 percent said they will try a new search if they aren’t satisfied with the listings within the first 3 pages. Also, the older the internet user is (or if they are a homemaker or unemployed), the less likely the user is to review the listings past the first SERP (search engine results page). Females are also less likely to go beyond the first page of results.

Another factor to look at is the search engine that the user is loyal to. (Believe it or not, this could have an effects on how relevant PPC or SEO are to the user.) The majority of users on Google and Yahoo! found natural search results to be more relevant to their searches. The majority of users who use MSN found paid search advertisements to be more relevant, while users of AOL found natural and paid search results to be equally relevant to their searches.

Gender also plays a role in which type of advertising works best. Overall, men and women both favor natural search results, but according to the survey, 43.1 percent of female respondents found paid search advertisements to be relevant to their search query, while just 34.6 percent of men found paid search ads relevant.

Education and employment also play a role in SEO. College graduates, those who are fully employed (as apposed to part-time), frequent users of the internet, and those who’ve been using the internet for a longer period of time all favored natural results, making them more relevant to their search. Non-college graduates and unemployed users favored paid search ads.

So when considering whether to use paid or natural search, it’s extremely important to look at your website’s target audience—whether they’re male or female, unemployed or employed, college grads or non-college grads, old or young, new internet users or die-hard web surfers— each option benefits a certain demographic and will help you to reach your potential customers.

Overall, it appears that people who seem to spend less time on the internet, who are unemployed and non-college graduates, and use MSN tend to favor paid results. Men, the fully employed, college graduates, experienced internet users, and those who use Google and Yahoo! tend to favor natural results. Women and AOL users tend to lean both ways.

Once again, it’s important to look at your website’s target audience, but it is strongly recommended to use both SEO and paid search in your company’s online marketing strategy. The two tactics will work together, reinforcing each other to lead more traffic to your website and give your company its best shot at success!