oa South African Journal of Information Management - Comparative case study on website traffic generated by search engine optimisation and a pay-per-click campaign, versus marketing expenditure : original research
Background: No empirical work was found on how marketing expenses compare when used solely for either the one or the other of the two main types of search engine marketing.
Objectives: This research set out to determine how the results of the implementation of a pay-per-click campaign compared to those of a search engine optimisation campaign, given the same website and environment. At the same time, the expenses incurred on both these marketing methods were recorded and compared.
Method: The active website of an existing, successful e-commerce concern was used as platform. The company had been using pay-per-click only for a period, whilst traffic was monitored. This system was decommissioned on a particular date and time, and an alternative search engine optimisation system was started at the same time. Again, both traffic and expenses were monitored.
Results: The results indicate that the pay-per-click system did produce favourable results, but on the condition that a monthly fee has to be set aside to guarantee consistent traffic. The implementation of search engine optimisation required a relatively large investment at the outset, but it was once-off. After a drop in traffic owing to crawler visitation delays, the website traffic bypassed the average figure achieved during the pay-per-click period after a little over three months, whilst the expenditure crossed over after just six months.
Conclusion: Whilst considering the specific parameters of this study, an investment in search engine optimisation rather than a pay-per-click campaign appears to produce better results at a lower cost, after a given period of time.
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