How We Replaced PPC with SEO and Saved $30,000

These are the results I love to share.  Back towards the beginning of the year, I spoke with someone who was concerned about  high PPC budget – she was spending roughly $2,500 monthly on Adwords and weren’t sure if the spend was paying off. In looking at the site’s performance it became clear that the client had most of her eggs in a poorly structured, untargeted PPC basket AND the site seemed to be grossly underperforming in SEO.

Over the past 6 months, we’ve turned her traffic upside down . . . . resulting in PPC savings of roughly $30,000.  While traffic is down about 15%, we’ve replaced the PPC spend with (free) SEO traffic and restructured an unprofitable advertising spend.  Here’s how:

replacing PPC

Step 1: Assess PPC ROI

We did a thorough business review of her PPC campaign – to assess just how much business the spend generated and calculated what her cost per client was for this channel.  (It was really bad.)  Armed with 8 weeks of eye opening data, we drastically cut the Adwords budget and launched a (small) Bing campaign at the same time . . . with CPC’s roughly 90% lower than her original bids. Take note: PPC is never the only answer.  If you look really carefully, you’ll see that we never entirely did away with PPC – its still bumping along, delivering a small trickle of traffic from both Adwords and BingAds – – – generating business at a very low cost per client (read: extremely high ROI).

Step 2:  Fix SEO Problems

Once we dug in, we found the client’s site had some major SEO problems and while they took some time to fix – roughly 3 months – the changes resulted in a 400% increase in her natural search traffic – essentially replacing the traffic drop from cutting the PPC budget.  Interestingly, even if the SEO hadn’t been borked we still would have killed the PPC campaign as it was literally costing her more than she was making from the clients.

Step 3:  Slowly Dial Advertising Back Up

Moving forward – now that we have solid business tracking (so we can ID cost per client by each marketing channel) we’ll slowly dial her PPC campaign up so her margins reflect her business objective:  ie. cost per client makes business sense.  We can also explore additional advertising venues and measure them on their ability to hit these cost per client benchmarks.


The net result?  The client is now bringing in roughly three times the business with the same marketing spend.  AND she could cut off her SEO spend and unlike and advertising spend, the traffic would continue.