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ClickZ ran an article about PPC cannibalizing SEO recently; and it brings up the old debate “If I’m number one for my keyword, should I do PPC?”

This is a tricky question; but with most things in the PPC world – it comes down to numbers.

I once worked with a client who’s traffic on a highly branded term per month looked like:

  • 800 Organic clicks
  • 400 PPC clicks

So we stopped doing paid search for a month and ended up with 1000 Organic clicks for that word.

Ahh HA! PPC stole 200 organic clicks – we should stop buying that word.

Was that your reaction?

Mine was to ask where the other 200 clicks went. 200 branded clicks went to a competitor.

The real question should have been “Is it more profitable for our company to buy that keyword knowing we’re paying for some ‘free’ traffic than to give up those 200 highly branded clicks?”

In this case, it was a high converting term and it was worth ‘cannibalizing’ the organic traffic.

That doesn’t mean you should always buy traffic where you’re receiving organic traffic.

It means you should let the numbers tell the story.

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