Pay per click (PPC) vs automotive SEO is a marketing combination we monitor very closely. A common question in the auto industry is the PPC vs SEO debate and whether both types of online marketing are necessary, or and whether these efforts will detract from each other when used at the same time. (You can scroll down to see our conclusion at the bottom.)
This blog post shows the results of a recent SEO vs PPC case study we did but first let’s revisit a study conducted by Google a few years ago.
Paid Search vs SEO case study from Google
For details from the case study, click on this infographic provided by Google (left) and it will open in a larger pop up window. If you want a quick summary, here it is: for Google AdWords advertisers fortunate to have a top-ranked organic keyword, AdWords created an incremental 50% more clicks.
Advertisers with keywords in positions two, three or four, received 82% additional clicks. Advertisers with keywords ranked fifth position or lower got about double the clicks they were receiving from AdWords.
Initially we have to look at Google’s case studies with a little skepticism. After all, it’s in Google’s best interest to promote AdWords. However, we have been able to independently confirm similar results with Hedges & Company clients who are automotive advertisers. There are also many other case studies around the Internet showing that paid search works very well in conjunction with search engine optimization and you can find them pretty easily using Google.
Our newest Auto Parts SEO vs PPC case study
We recently pulled stats for a client where we have been managing search engine optimization as well as paid search campaigns for over a year. We compared monthly sales and visits from organic traffic as well as from paid search campaigns. While the Google case study mentioned above covers all types of advertisers, our SEO/PPC analysis focuses on automotive online marketing.
Our results are similar to the Google case study: online retailers received incremental web visits and sales using a combination of organic and paid search campaigns.
Here is a chart comparing sales from organic and paid traffic by month, for the past 13 months (we’ve removed any actual sales information and indexed the stats, rather than use actual, confidential data). In December 2014, sales from organic visits are up over 30% from a year ago and PPC campaigns have had a 68% increase from a year ago. These stats are to illustrate a point: if SEO competed with PPC, both results could not be up from a year ago as significantly as they are.
Sales are up in an efficient way, too. As you can see from the next chart down, visits are up but not as much as sales.
Monthly organic visits have been up 26% most recently, and paid visits have been up 42%. This indicates highly qualified visitors resulting in better conversion rates than a year ago.
PPC + SEO = more SERP real estate
One thing we like to emphasize is the concept of search engine results page (SERP) real estate. It’s pretty simple, the more real estate you occupy on the SERP, the less real estate is left for your competitor. If you have more paid search results showing on a page, including Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs), combined with more organic results, you will occupy significantly more real estate and squeeze out your competitors.
Conclusions on SEO for the automotive industry and auto parts aftermarket
Clearly, in the automotive industry as well as other industries, the combination of SEO marketing, combined with paid search marketing, results in more sales and traffic than from just one of those types of marketing efforts. For our last PPC vs SEO case study look at our previous automotive SEO blog post from 2014. As mentioned previously in this blog post, a quick look on various search engine marketing blogs around the Internet will show other, similar case study results.
The bottom line is, if you want to maximize traffic and revenue for your auto parts website then a strategic combination of organic SEO marketing, with a well executed paid search marketing program, is your best choice.
SEO and paid search marketing do not conflict, but complement each other resulting in incremental sales and profits.
If you have questions or want to discuss your online marketing please give our office a call and speak with one of our online marketing experts.