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Why It Makes No Sense (And What to Do Instead)

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Why It Makes No Sense (And What to Do Instead)

Everyone knows that structuring your website in a logical way is as important for users as it is for SEO, and “siloing” is one way many SEOs recommend doing this.

But I think that “siloing” is a terrible idea and isn’t something you should do.

In this post, I’ll explain why that is and what you should do instead.

But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page…

What is silo structure in SEO?

Silo structure in SEO is a type of website architecture where you group, isolate, and interlink content about a specific topic. This creates clean, distinct sections of related content on your website.

Here’s roughly what SEO silos look like in practice:

Flowchart of silo structure in SEO

You can see that each silo consists of a main silo page and related content, all of which are interlinked. However—and this is a crucial point—the content in one silo does not link to the content in another silo. That’s why it’s called silo structure, as the content is literally isolated in silos.

Why is siloing so popular?

If we run a quick search in Content Explorer, we see over 11K published pages containing the phrase “silo structure” and the word “SEO.”

Content Explorer search of "'silo structure' AND seo"

The reason for its popularity is the perceived benefits, which usually go something like this:

1. It helps Google to find your pages

Internal links are one of the ways Google finds new pages, so it’s best practice to ensure that all of your pages are interlinked in some way or another.

Siloing can help with this because it creates a logical hierarchical structure with consistent internal linking.

2. It boosts rankings

There are two main reasons why siloing may help to boost rankings.

Better flow of PageRank

PageRank (PR) is Google’s formula for scoring the value of a page based on the quantity and quality of pages linking to it. Backlinks are how PR flows into your site, and internal links are how PR flows around it.

As all pages in a silo are interlinked, siloing helps PR flow between them.

In effect, if one page in a silo attracts lots of high-quality PR-boosting backlinks, some of that PR is shared with other pages in the silo through internal links.

More contextual internal links

Silos are groups of related content. This means that the internal links between pages within them are usually contextually relevant. In other words, siloing creates internal links to and from pages about similar or related things—and usually with relevant anchors, too.

Both of these things help Google to understand the context of a page, as John Mueller explained in this Webmaster Hangout:

[Internal linking] also helps us to get a bit of context about that specific page. And we get some of that through the anchor text …  and some from understanding where these pages are linked within your site.
John Mueller

For example, if you knew that a page had these internal anchors…

  • The company founded by Steve Jobs
  • The iPhone manufacturer
  • CEO, Tim Cook

… you could probably figure out that it’s about Apple.

The same would be true if a page had internal links from pages about these things:

3. It creates a good user experience

Internal links aren’t just useful for SEO; they also help users to navigate your website.

For that reason, siloing can improve user experience, as it effectively brings topically similar pages closer together. In other words, siloing places content about Steve Jobs, iPhone, and iPad fewer clicks away and helps you find relevant content more easily.

What’s the problem with silo structure?

Given the potential benefits of siloing, you may be wondering what the problem is and why it’s not something I’ll recommend.

The answer: Forbidding internal links between silos is silly and doesn’t help SEO or users.

For example, let’s say you had these three silos:

Flowchart of three silos: gym studios, gym classes, gym instructors; notably, instructor "Sarah" is under the silo "gym instructors"

Very neat. But what if Sarah teaches Pilates at the New York studio? Wouldn’t it make sense to internally link Sarah’s profile, the class she teaches, and the studio she works at?

Of course. But this would ruin your “silos.”

It’s worth pointing out at this stage that some SEOs disagree with the idea of restricting internal links to silos, including Gael Breton from Authority Hacker:

Historically, when reading about SEO silos, you’ve probably read about the idea of ‘keeping link juice in the silo’ and only internally linking to pages that are in the same site section.

We disagree with this.

We believe that, in content, as long as it contextually makes sense to link to another page of your site, you should do it.

Gael Breton

However, the reality is that once you do that, you’re no longer siloing. You’re effectively just using a traditional pyramid site architecture, which is recommended by pretty much everyone, including John.

The top down approach or pyramid structure helps us a lot more to understand the context of individual pages within the site.

John Mueller

Best practices for site structure

With silo structure out of the window, let’s look at a few simple best practices for planning and structuring a website with SEO in mind.

1. Use a pyramid structure

Pyramid site structure puts your most important content at the top, followed by your second most important content, your third most important content, etc.

This is how most websites are structured.

For example, here’s what a website selling home furniture may look like:

Flowchart of pyramid structure with "home" branching out to "living room" and "dining room"; each of them then branches out to related furniture categories

You can see that the internal linking structure resembles a pyramid.

Here are the benefits of pyramid site structure:

  1. Easy to navigate – Visitors start on the homepage, choose a category, then dig deeper.
  2. Good PageRank flow – Site homepages tend to get the most backlinks, so having important content close by makes sense.
  3. Internal links are contextual – Categories link to their respective subcategories and vice versa.

You’ll notice that those three benefits pretty much align with the perceived benefits of silo structure. It just doesn’t have the downside of prohibiting internal links between silos, which brings us neatly to…

2. Internally link where relevant

The main problem with SEO silo structure is that it prohibits linking relevant contextual opportunities outside of the silo. Using a pyramid structure with no such stipulations solves this.

For example, let’s say that you have some dining room chairs and a sofa in the same style. You can happily internally link between those pages despite them being in different areas of the site.

Flowchart of pyramid structure; notably, "blue velvet sofa" and "blue velvet chairs" can be interlinked even though they're located in different areas of the site

This is better for users and your bottom line.

If you want to find relevant internal linking opportunities, there are a couple of ways you can do that using Ahrefs’ Site Audit (get access for free with Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account).

The first is using the Link Opportunities tool, which suggests where you should add internal links.

For example, here the report is suggesting we link from our SEO glossary to our meta robots guide:

Internal link opportunities report results

This is because our meta robots guide ranks in the top 100 for “meta robots.”

The second is using the Page Explorer tool, which allows you to search for mentions of any word or phrase on your website.

For example, if we search for mentions of “search quality rater guidelines” on the Ahrefs blog, which is a keyword we’re targeting in our QRGs guide, we see a mention in our list of Google ranking factors.

Page explorer report results

It probably makes sense to internally link from here, as it may help boost our page in Google.

3. Create content hubs for blog content

Blog content typically suffers from a lack of contextual hierarchy because it’s published chronologically. You can solve this by creating content hubs out of related posts.

Content hubs are similar to silos in that they are interlinked collections of related content.

Here’s what they typically look like:

Flowchart of content hub: "vegetable" is in center and branches out to different vegetables like carrot, beetroot, etc

The only true difference between hubs and silos is that you’re free to link between content hubs.

For example, let’s say that we have two content hubs: one about fruits and the other about vegetables. Given it’s a common misconception that tomatoes are vegetables, it may make perfect sense to internally link from the post about tomatoes to the vegetable hub page.

Flowchart showing 2 content hubs "fruits" and "vegetables"; "tomatoes" connected to "fruit" can be internally linked/connected to "vegetable" hub

You’re free to do that with content hubs because, unlike with siloing, there’s no rule that you can’t.

In effect, content hubs give you the best of both worlds; related content is grouped and interlinked (as is the case with silos), but you’re also able to internally link between pages where it makes sense. 

Recommended reading: Content Hubs for SEO: How to Get More Traffic and Links With Topic Clusters

4. Make sure important content isn’t too deep

Deep content is harder for users to find, but it’s a common misconception that this is also true for search engines. As long as your content is internally linked, Google will be able to find and index it.

The problem is that Google may not prioritize the crawling or indexing of deep content because it assumes it holds little to no value for searchers.

This is why you need to ensure that important content is not buried deep in your site.

You can see how deep your content is at a glance using Ahrefs’ Site Audit. Just go to the Structure Explorer and toggle the “Depth” tab.

"Depth" filter in Structure explorer

For example, you see above that most of the pages on the Ahrefs blog are between one and three clicks from the seed (in this case, the blog homepage). However, a few pages are 5+ clicks away, which probably isn’t ideal for important content.

You can see the pages in each depth bucket by clicking on the corresponding part of the visual representation.

For instance, if we click on the “5” bucket for the Ahrefs blog, we see only archive pages:

List of URLs and corresponding data in the "5" bucket

As these pages aren’t particularly important, the depth probably isn’t an issue. However, if we saw important pages or posts here, we might consider adding relevant internal links to them from other content higher in our site’s hierarchy.

Final thoughts

Organizing your content makes sense, but siloing your content doesn’t. All this does is preclude you from internally linking to your content from relevant and contextual locations on your site, hindering SEO.

My advice is to organize your site roughly in a pyramid structure, group related blog or informational content into hubs, and then simply internally link to and from pages wherever it makes sense. This is not only best for SEO, but it also makes your site easier for visitors to navigate.

Got questions? Disagree? Ping me on Twitter.




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How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

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How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

Getting to the top of Google can be quite slow. Especially so for small, new websites. And the competition can often be too strong, which makes it quite unlikely for you to outrank your rivals in the first place.

Well… if you can’t win, change the rules.

There’s a very simple trick for getting search traffic for the keywords that you want to rank for—without actually ranking for them.

Enter…

One of the most common pieces of marketing advice is to “go fish where the fish are.” Whatever product or service you want to sell, you have to follow three simple steps:

  1. Figure out who your ideal customers are.
  2. Find the places where those people are hanging out online.
  3. Go to those places and find ways to promote your product.

Quick example: if you want to sell fitness gear, it would be good to figure out how to tap into the r/Fitness community on Reddit, which has over 12M members.

What does it have to do with SEO though?

Well, whatever search traffic you want to drive to your own website… someone is already getting it to theirs, right? And their website is not necessarily your direct competitor.

If you own a bagel joint in Singapore, you definitely want your website to rank in Google for “best bagels in Singapore.” But the pages that actually rank for this keyword are listicles, which give readers a bunch of different suggestions. So your job is to get featured in as many of those top-ranking listicles as possible.

Ranking for a keyword with your own website isn’t the only way to get customers from Google. Getting featured on other pages that rank for this keyword is incredibly effective too.

I call this tactic “second-hand search traffic”.

The underlying idea is not new though.

You might have heard of the concept called “Barnacle SEO,” shared by Rand Fishkin back in 2014. There’s also a concept called “Surround Sound,” coined by Alex Birkett. And another one called “SERP Monopoly strategy” by Nick Eubanks. There’s also a reverse concept, called “Rank & Rent.”

The idea behind all of these tactics is practically the same: if a page gets a lot of relevant search traffic from Google—you have to try and get your business mentioned there.

1721330765 614 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330765 614 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything
Source

But that’s easier said than done, right?

Why would anyone bother to feature your business on their website?

Well, one simple answer is money.

If a website owner can make money from mentioning your business on their page, there’s a good chance they’ll do it. This money could come in the form of an affiliate commission or a flat fee for an annual or permanent placement. Sometimes these things can also happen as part of a broader partnership deal.

Getting listed for free is very, very hard. Especially so if you’re not already a big and respected business that people naturally want to feature on their website.

And yet—it’s not completely impossible to get listed for free.

Case in point, we just published our own “best SEO conferences” post, in order to rank for relevant search queries and promote our upcoming event, Ahrefs Evolve Singapore.

And then we went ahead and reached out to all websites that rank for the “best SEO conferences” keyword and asked them to add Ahrefs Evolve to their listicles. So far 10 out of 17 featured us on their pages, without asking for any payment whatsoever.

1721330766 734 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330766 734 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

The most straightforward way to execute this strategy is to compile a list of highly relevant keywords (with high business potential scores), pull all the top-ranking pages for each of them into a spreadsheet, and start your outreach.

But there’s one other fruitful source of pages to get second-hand search traffic from. These are pages that are linking to your competitors, while getting a decent amount of search traffic themselves.

Here’s how to find these pages in 3 simple steps:

  1. Put the website of your competitor in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the Backlinks report.
  3. Apply the “Referring page > Traffic” filter.
How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for AnythingHow to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

Here’s an example of a page I found while trying this out for the ConvertKit website:

1721330766 665 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330766 665 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

As you can see, this page is not about “email marketing” (the primary topic you’d go for, if you wanted to promote an email marketing tool). And yet, this page is receiving 2.6k visitors per month from Google (as estimated by Ahrefs), and it recommends a bunch of email marketing tools to its readers.

So if you own an email marketing tool—like ConvertKit—you definitely want to get mentioned on that page alongside your competitors.

The moral of this story is that you should look outside of the topics that are immediately relevant to your business. Any page that gets traffic and mentions a competitor of yours should become your target.

And Ahrefs makes it super easy to find such pages.

That’s it.

I hope you found this tactic useful. Don’t sleep on it, because there’s a good chance that your competitors won’t.

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What SEO Should Know About Brand Marketing With Mordy Oberstein

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What SEO Should Know About Brand Marketing With Mordy Oberstein

For the SEO industry, the Google documents leak offered an important view behind the scenes. Although the leak was not a blueprint of how the algorithm worked, there was considerable confirmation that SEO professionals were right about many elements of the algorithm.

From all the analysis and discussion following the leak, the one insight that got my attention was how important the brand is.

Rand Fishkin, who broke the leak, said this:

“Brand matters more than anything else … If there was one universal piece of advice I had for marketers seeking to broadly improve their organic search rankings and traffic, it would be: “Build a notable, popular, well-recognized brand in your space, outside of Google search.”

Mike King echoed this statement with the following observation:

“All these potential demotions can inform a strategy, but it boils down to making stellar content with strong user experience and building a brand, if we’re being honest.”

Mordy Oberstein, who is an advocate for building a brand online, posted on X (Twitter):

“I am SO happy that the SEO conversation has shifted to thinking about “brand.”

It’s not the first time that “brand” has been mentioned in SEO. We began to talk about this around 2012 after the impact of Panda and Penguin when it first became apparent that Google’s aim was to put more emphasis on brand.

Compounding this is the introduction of AI, which has accelerated the importance of taking a more holistic approach to online marketing with less reliance on Google SERPs.

When I spoke to Pedro Dias, he said, “We need to focus more than ever on building our own communities with users aligned to our brands.”

As someone who had 15 years of offline experience in marketing, design, and business before moving into SEO, I have always said that having this wide knowledge allows me to take a holistic view of SEO. So, I welcome the mindset shift towards building a brand online.

As part of his X/Twitter post, Mordy also said:

“I am SO happy that the SEO conversation has shifted to thinking about “brand” (a lot of which is the direct result of @randfish’s & @iPullRank’s great advice following the “Google leaks”).

As someone who has straddled the brand marketing and SEO world for the better part of 10 years – branding is A LOT harder than many SEOs would think and will be a HUGE adjustment for many SEOs.”

Following his X/Twitter post, I reached out to Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Brand at Wix, to have a conversation about branding and SEO.

What Do SEO Pros Need To Know About ‘Brand’ To Make The Mindset Shift?

I asked Mordy, “In your opinion, what does brand and building a brand mean, and can SEO pros make this mindset shift?”

Mordy responded, “Brand building basically means creating a connection between one entity and another entity, meaning the company and the audience.

It’s two people meeting, and that convergence is the building of a brand. It’s very much a relationship. And I think that’s what makes it hard for SEOs. It’s a different way of thinking; it’s not linear, and there aren’t always metrics that you can measure it by.

I’m not saying you don’t use data, or you don’t have data, but it’s harder to measure to tell a full story.

You’re trying to pick up on latent signals. A lot of the conversation is unconscious.

It’s all about the micro things that compound. So, you have to think about everything you do, every signal, to ensure that it is aligned with the brand.

For example, a website writes about ‘what is a tax return.’ However, if I’m a professional accountant and I see this on your blog, I might think this isn’t relevant to me because you’re sending me a signal that you’re very basic. I don’t need to know what a tax return is; I have a master’s degree in accounting.

The latent signals that you’re sending can be very subtle, but this is where it is a mindset shift for SEO.”

I recalled a recent conversation with Pedro Dias in which he stressed it was important to put your users front and center and create content that is relevant to them. Targeting high-volume keywords is not going to connect with your audience. Instead, think about what is going to engage, interest, and entertain them.

I went on to say that for some time, the discussion online has been about SEO pros shifting away from the keyword-first approach. However, the consequences of moving away from a focus on traffic and clicks will mean we are likely to experience a temporary decline in performance.

How Does An SEO Professional Sell This To Stakeholders – How Do They Measure Success?

I asked Mordy, “How do you justify this approach to stakeholders – how do they measure success?”

Mordy replied, “I think selling SEO will become harder over time. But, if you don’t consider the brand aspect, then you could be missing the point of what is happening. It’s not about accepting lower volumes of traffic; it’s that traffic will be more targeted.

You might see less traffic right now, but the idea is to gain a digital presence and create digital momentum that will result in more qualified traffic in the long term.”

Mordy went on to say, “It’s going to be a habit to break out of, just like when you have to go on a diet for a long-term health gain.

The ecosystem will change, and it will force change to our approach. SEOs may not have paid attention to the Google leak documents, but I think they will pay attention as the entire ecosystem shifts – they won’t have a choice.

I also think C-level will send a message that they don’t care about overall traffic numbers, but do care about whether a user appreciates what they are producing and that the brand is differentiated in some way.”

How Might The Industry Segment And What Will Be The Important Roles?

I interjected to make the point that it does look a lot like SEO is finally making that shift across marketing.

Technical SEO will always be important, and paid/programmatic will remain important because it is directly attributable.

For the rest of SEO, I anticipate it merges across brand, SEO, and content into a hybrid strategy role that will straddle those disciplines.

What we thought of as “traditional SEO” will fall away, and SEO will become absorbed into marketing.

In response, Mordy agreed and thought that SEO traffic is part of a wider scope or part of a wider paradigm, and it will sit under brand and communications.

An SEO pro that functions as part of the wider marketing and thinks about how we are driving revenue, how we are driving growth, what kind of growth we are driving, and using SEO as a vehicle to that.

The final point I raised was about social media and whether that would become a more combined facet of SEO and overall online marketing.

Mordy likened Google to a moth attracted to the biggest digital light.

He said, “Social media is a huge vehicle for building momentum and the required digital presence.

For example, the more active I am on social media, the more organic branded searches I gain through Google Search. I can see the correlation between that.

I don’t think that Google is ignoring branded searches, and it makes a semantic connection.”

SEO Will Shift To Include Brand And Marketing

The conversation I had with Mordy raised an interesting perspective that SEO will have to make significant shifts to a brand and marketing mindset.

The full impact of AI on Google SERPs and how the industry might change is yet to be realized. But, I strongly recommend that anyone in SEO consider how they can start to take a brand-first approach to their strategy and the content they create.

I suggest building and measuring relationships with audiences based on how they connect with your brand and moving away from any strategy based on chasing high-volume keywords.

Think about what the user will do once you get the click – that is where the real value lies.

Get ahead of the changes that are coming.

Thank you to Mordy Oberstein for offering his opinion and being my guest on IMHO.

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4 Ways PPC and SEO Can Work Together (And When They Can’t)

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4 Ways PPC and SEO Can Work Together (And When They Can’t)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your pages to rank in a search engine’s organic results.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee each time someone clicks their ad.

There’s no conundrum between the two types of marketing. You don’t have to choose one or the other; the best companies use both.

Here’s how they can work together and produce magic:

Creating SEO content is the process of figuring out what your target audience is searching on Google and aligning your content to their search intent.

To start off, you need to find out what they’re searching for. The easiest way is to use a keyword research tool, like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Here’s how you might find keywords for a hypothetical coffee equipment store:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a relevant keyword (e.g., “coffee”)
  3. Go to Matching terms

Go through the list and pick out keywords that are relevant to the site. For example, the keyword “how to grind coffee beans” seems like a good keyword to target.

The keyword "how to grind coffee beans" and relevant SEO statsThe keyword "how to grind coffee beans" and relevant SEO stats

Once we’ve chosen our keyword, we want to know what searchers are looking for specifically. Sometimes the keyword gives us an idea, but to be sure, we can look at the top-ranking pages.

So, click the SERP button and then click Identify intents to see what searchers are looking for:

The Identify Intents feature in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerThe Identify Intents feature in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

We can see that searchers are looking for techniques and methods to grind coffee beans at home, and especially without a grinder. If we want to rank high, we’ll likely have to follow suit.

Those are the basics of creating SEO content. But doing just this isn’t enough. After all, the quote goes, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?”

This applies to your content too. You don’t want to create into a void; you want people to see and consume your content. This is where PPC comes in. You can run PPC ads to ensure that as many people see your content as possible.

For example, at Ahrefs, we run Facebook ads for our content:

An example of a Facebook Ad we ran for our contentAn example of a Facebook Ad we ran for our content

We also run ads on Quora:

Our Quora ads campaigns we ran for the blogOur Quora ads campaigns we ran for the blog

This way, we make sure that none of our content efforts go to waste.

Links are an important Google ranking factor. Generally speaking, the more links your page has, the more likely it’ll rank high in the search results.

But acquiring links is hard. This is why it’s still a reliable ranking factor. And it’s also why there’s an entire industry behind link building, and tons of tactics you can use, all with varying levels of success.

One way you can consider building links to your pages is to run PPC ads. In fact, we ran an experiment a few years ago to prove that it was possible.

We spent ~$1,245 on Google search ads and acquired a total of 16 backlinks to two different pieces of content. (~$77-78 per backlink.) This is much cheaper than if you had to buy a backlink, which according to our study, costs around $361.44.

(It would be even more expensive if you acquired links via outreach, as you would have to consider additional costs like software, manpower, etc.)

Retargeting allows you to target visitors who have left your website.

Here’s how retargeting works:

  1. A visitor discovers your article on Google
  2. Your ad management software sets a cookie on the visitor’s browser, which allows you to show ads to these visitors
  3. When the visitor leaves your website and surfs the web, you can show ads and persuade them to return to your website

Depending on where they are on the buyer’s journey, you can convince them to take the next step.

buyer's journeybuyer's journey

For example, if someone found your website via your article on the “best espresso machines”, it’s likely they’re looking to buy. So, you can set your retargeting ad to encourage them to visit your espresso machines category page.

On the other hand, if a visitor discovered your website from your “what is a coffee grinder” article, they might still be early on the journey. In that case, it might be prudent to encourage them to sign up for your email list instead.

Every site has important keywords. For example, besides our brand and product terms, critical keywords are “keyword research”, “link building”, and “technical SEO”.

Since these keywords are important, it makes sense to dominate the SERPs for them. You can do this by simultaneously running ads for them while ranking in organic search. For example, Wix ranks for the keyword “create website for free” in both paid and organic SERPs:

Wix ranks for the keyword “create website for free” in both paid and organic SERPsWix ranks for the keyword “create website for free” in both paid and organic SERPs

This is especially useful if you’re a new or smaller site. The keywords that are important to you are likely important to your competitors too. Which means you can’t compete with them overnight.

So, a good strategy is to target those keywords via PPC first, while investing in your SEO strategy. Over time, as you acquire more backlinks and gain more website authority, you’ll be able to compete with your competitors in organic search too.

While both channels are complementary, there are times where it may make more sense to choose one over the other.

When to choose PPC

If you fit these scenarios, it might be a better idea to go for PPC:

  • You’re promoting a limited-time offer, event, or launching a product. According to our poll, SEO takes three to six months to show results. If your event, offer, or launch is shorter than the expected timeframe, it’ll be over even before SEO takes any effect.
  • You need immediate, short-term results. If you need to show some results now, then PPC will be a better choice.
  • You have a disruptive product or service. SEO depends on figuring out what people are already searching for. If your product or service is completely novel, then it’s likely no one is searching for it.
  • Hyper-competitive SERPs. Some niches have competing sites with large SEO teams and deep pockets. Coupled with Google’s preference for known brands, if you’re in these niches, it can be difficult to compete. PPC offers a viable alternative for gaining visibility on the first page.

When to choose SEO

Here are times when it may make better sense to choose SEO:

  • Keywords are too expensive. Some industries, like insurance or finance, have cost-per-clicks (CPC) up to a few hundred dollars. For example, the keyword “direct auto insurance san antonio” has a CPC of $275.
  • Your niche is restricted. Certain industries or niches (e.g., adult, weapons, gambling, etc.) are prohibited or restricted from advertising.
  • You have a limited budget. PPC requires money to begin, whereas SEO can drive traffic to your website at no direct cost per visitor.
  • You’re building an affiliate site. Affiliate sites earn a commission when people buy from their recommendations. While it’s not impossible to build an affiliate site from PPC, it’s difficult to control the return on investment (ROI) since affiliate site owners cannot control sales conversion rates.

Final thoughts

There are cases where focusing on either SEO or PPC makes sense.

But most of the time, the best companies don’t discriminate between channels. If they produce positive ROI, then you should be using all marketing channels.

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