Kevin Lee has a new article up at ClickZ regarding the difference between organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click with respects to landing pages.
Paid search marketing campaigns provide something SEO doesn’t: complete user experience control. When you pay for clicks, your ability to afford high positions is directly related to your ability to meet marketing objectives with each and every inbound clickstream.
I’m going to half disagree with Kevin here. PPC does allow for complete control, but proper SEO allows the same.
The article covers 10 problems with generic SEO sites that Kevin feels PPC Landing Pages can solve.
Here’s how to solve them all with newly created SEO Landing Pages:
Call to action
Just because regular homepages/sites lack targeted call to actions, does not mean you cannot create separate SEO Landing Pages. By targeting specific keywords, you can control the user experience. PPC has the advantage since you can target keywords instantly, but an organic top listing will generate more click-throughs.
Copy for generic homepage search terms and targeted landing pages should be different. No argument there. But SEO Landing Pages can have targeted copy and rank well – same advantages as PPC Landing Pages.
Navigation & Animation
Same argument as Copy.
Here’s where you can do some fancy dynamic personalization based on search terms. By taking in the search term as a visitor comes into the page – you can personalize the landing page dynamically.
Create local SEO landing pages to target geographic markets for merchandising.
I agree here – PPC has the controls for better offer testing.
PPC Microsites can generate instant traffic, but SEO Microsites have potential to gain traffic for its entire life online.
Nothing different here with regards to SEO vs. PPC.
Create new SEO Landing Pages targeting keywords outside your market or to test new offers.
So playing off of Kevin’s advice:
If you didn’t set aside a separate budget or additional internal resources to take your site beyond what’s necessary for organic SEO, look closer and imagine the characteristics of the perfect landing page for each power keyword in your campaign. If those landing pages don’t exist, create them.
I’d also add – If you have the resources and the time, create SEO landing pages that are tailored perfectly for your campaign. PPC offers instant targeting and instant returns. But that doesn’t mean SEO can’t offer the same control and targeting. After the initial development, you’ll see continuing returns. Use the technique best fitted for your problem and get the most out of both techniques.
For example a search for “landing page handbook” returns Marketing Sherpa’s landing page for both organic and ppc #2 spots.