Dallas PPC – When Is Pay Per Click Better Than SEO

A common question many Dallas area business owners have asked me is if it is better to follow a SEO strategy or a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy.  The answer depends on the actual keyword being chosen. Ideally, if your budget allows for both strategies then you should consider doing both.  If your budget, however, is constrained then here is an example to help you determine which is best for your specific situation.

At the time of this example, the Google Keyword Tool says that the following keywords have this data:

  • The keyword phrase “Nail salon Dallas” has 2900 searches per month, has some degree of seasonality (but nothing skewed or out of the ordinary), and has an average cost-per-click (CPC) $0.83 per click.  Note that the CPC is not a “fixed price”; but it is the best available data you will have to work with that is not from a paid keyword research data mining software program
  • The keyword phrase “Nail salons in Dallas” has 590 searches per month, and has a posted CPC of $0.05 per click.  This extremely-cheap pay-per-click cost may not be realistic, and an inexpensive CPC would require ideal optimization of the ad and landing page for the keyword.  Nonetheless, you can be conservative and assume that the keyword would cost, in reality, somewhere around $0.30 per click

One other assumption:  let’s assume that if you rank # 1 in the “organic” (left-hand side) keyword results (not including the Maps listings) for a one-month period, then you will receive  roughly 40% of the searches.

Here is the math for our example:

  • If you were to rank # 1 for “Nail salon Dallas” then you would receive 40% of the  2900 searches for the month.  This would translate to roughly 1160 visitors for the 30-day period.  To buy 1160 visitors (clicks), you would have to pay roughly $962.80 per month at an average of $0.83/click
  • If you were to buy all 590 clicks for “nail salons in Dallas” (which would take longer than thes one-month period) at $0.30 per click (our conservative adjusted CPC) it would cost you roughly $177
  • 590 clicks for “nail salon Dallas” would cost you on PPC, at $0.83 per click, roughly $489.70

Let’s assume that your SEO efforts will get you roughly 2 months (60 days) of ranking # 1 in the search engines for the keyword.  If the cost, in terms of time and cash outlay, are cheaper for SEO then it is advantageous to pursue a SEO strategy instead of a PPC strategy.  This assumes that you are willing to follow the rules for intelligent and optimization.


Please note that the pay-per-click costs we are discussing is not the Google Content Network.  This post is about the traditional Google Search Network, Yahoo’s PPC network, and the Bing/MSN AdCenter network.

If you need any help designing a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy then please feel free to contact me at your convenience.