Search Engine Optimization and Pay-per-Click Marketing Strategies

Kritzinger, Wouter Thomas; Weideman, Melius

Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce

W. T. Kritzinger & M. Weideman (2013) Search Engine Optimization and Pay-per-Click Marketing Strategies, Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, 23:3, 273-286, DOI: 10.1080/10919392.2013.808124

Any e-commerce venture using a website as the main shop front should invest in marketing its website. In this study, the relationship between website owners having invested in search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC), respectively, is investigated. The design used in this research involves an empirical field experimental approach in which implementation of both SEO and PPC are considered, with subsequent comparison of results. Data were gathered from Google search results after performing both Fat Head and Long Tail keyphrase searches based in various categories. Websites that were listed among the top 10 in the sponsored section of search results were recorded. These websites were then checked to see if they also had an SEO ranking within the top 100 for both the Fat Head and Long Tail key-phrases. It is found that website owners seldom invest in SEO as part of a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. This seems to confirm some of the findings by other authors. This research has important implications for SEO and PPC practitioners, and for website owners. It should influence the way budgets on search engine marketing are applied. Finally, it could be used by marketing managers in better utilizing their limited SEM dollars. No evidence could be found that this kind of empirical research has been done, hence the results are considered to be unique. Keywords: pay-per-click; search engine marketing; search engine optimization; website
  1. Abels, G., D. M. White, and K. Hahn, K. 1997. “Identifying user-based criteria for Web pages.” Web
    Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy 7(4):252–262.
  2. Anonymous. 2008. “Search engine optimization.” Retrieved from
    Search_engine_optimization (accessed June 18, 2012).
  3. Anonymous. 2011. “The beginners guide to SEO.” Retrieved from
    to-seo (accessed March 14, 2012).
  4. Applegate, L., C. W. Holsapple, R., Kalakota, F. Radermacher, and A. Whinston. 1996. “Electronic
    commerce: Building blocks of new business opportunity.” Journal of Organizational
    Computing and Electronic Commerce 6(1):1–10.
  5. Berman, R., and Z. Katona. 2011. “The role of search engine optimization in search
    marketing.” SSRN. Retrieved from
    Seminars%202010-11/zsolt%20Katona/berman_katona_seo.pdf (accessed May 20, 2013).
  6. Burns, E. 2007. “e-Commerce spending up for 2007 holiday and year.” Retrieved fromwww.clickz.
    com/showPage.html?page=clickz_print&id=3624408 (accessed July 7, 2012).
  7. Clay, B. 2006a. “Put SEO in your site design.” Retrieved from (accessed
    June 23, 2012).
  8. Clay, B. 2006b. “Avoiding SEO pitfalls.” Retrieved from (accessed
    July 29, 2012).
  9. Curran, K. 2004. “Tips for achieving high positioning in the results pages of the major search
    engines.” Information Technology Journal 3(2):202–205.
  10. Dou, W., K. H. Lim, C. Su, N. Zhou, and N. Cui. 2010. “Brand positioning strategy using search
    engine marketing.” MIS Quarterly 34(2):261–279.
  11. Flosi, S. 2011. “ComScore releases January 2011 U.S. search engine rankings.” Retrieved
    from comScore_Releases_
    January_2011_U.S._Search_Engine_Rankings (accessed June 21, 2012).
  12. George, D. 2005. The ABC of SEO. Morrisville: Lulu Press.
  13. Green, D. 2000. “The evolution of Web searching.” Online Information Review 24(2):124–137.
  14. Henshaw, R. 2001. “What next for Web journals? Implications of the trend towards paid placement
    in search engines.” First Monday 6(9). Retrieved from
    issue6_9/henshaw/index.html (accessed July 30, 2012).
  15. Holsapple, C. W., and M. Singh. (2000). “Electronic commerce: From a definitional taxonomy
    toward a knowledge management view.” Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic
    Commerce 10(3):149–170.
  16. Jansen, B. J., and S. Schuster. 2011. “Bidding on the buying funnel for sponsored search and keyword
    advertising.” Journal of Electronic Commerce Research 12(1):1–18.
  17. Kennedy, K., and B. B. Kennedy. 2008. “A small company’s dilemma: Using search engines
    effectively for corporate sales.” Management Research News 31(10):737–745.
  18. Kritzinger, W. T., and Weideman, M. 2005. “A study on the correct usage of webpage keywords to
    improve search engine ranking.” In Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Applications
    (ZAW3), 29–31 August, 2005, edited by P. van Brakel. Cape Town: CPUT.
  19. Malaga, R. A. 2008. “Worst practices in search engine optimization.” Communications of the ACM
    51 (12):147–150.
  20. Mouton, J. 2003. How to Succeed in Your Master’s & Doctoral Studies: A South African Guide and
    Resource Book. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.
  21. Moxley, D., T. Blake, and S. Maze. 2004. “Web search engine advertising practices and their effect
    on library services.” Managing Library Finances 17(2):61–65.
  22. Mukhopadhyay, D., A Banik, S. Mukherjee, J. Bhattacharya, and Y. Kim. 2007. “A domain specific
    ontology based semantic web search engine.” In 7th International Workshop MSPT
    2007 Proceedings, 81–89. Youngil Publication: Republic of Korea.
  23. Neethling, R. 2008. “User profiles for preferences of search engine optimisation versus paid placement”
    Master’s Thesis. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South
  24. PricewaterhouseCoopers. 2011. IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report. Retrieved from http:// (accessed May 18, 2013).
  25. Sen, R. 2005. “Optimal search engine marketing strategy.” International Journal of Electronic
    Commerce 10(1):9–25.
  26. Sherman, C. 2007. “The state of search engine marketing 2006.” Retrieved from http:// (accessed May 13, 2012).
  27. Shih, B.-Y., Chen, C.-Y., and Chen, Z.-S. 2012. An empirical study of an internet marketing strategy
    for search engine optimization. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service
    Industries, doi: 10.1002/hfm.20348.
  28. Spink, A., and J. L. Xu. 2000. “Selected results from a large study of Web searching: The Excite
    study.” Information Research 6(1). Retrieved from
    (accessed May 28, 2012).
  29. Sullivan, D. 2001a. “Congratulations! You’re a search engine marketer!” Retrieved from http:// (accessed July 13, 2012).
  30. Sullivan, D. 2001b. “The evolution of paid inclusion.” Retrieved from
    showPage.html?page=2163971 (accessed July 14, 2012).
  31. Sullivan, D. 2003. “Hot trends in search engine marketing.” Retrieved from http://searchenginewatch.
    com/showPage.html?page=2161911 (accessed July 27, 2012).
  32. Sullivan, D. 2010. “Does SEM = SEO + CPC still add up?” Retrieved from http://searchengineland.
    com/does-sem-seo-cpc-still-add-up-37297 (accessed April 16, 2012).
  33. Sullivan, D. 2011. “Facebook Friday question says: Most do both SEO & PPC, then SEO
    Only.” Retrieved from
    seo-ppc-then-seo-only-77682 (accessed June 30, 2012).
  34. Thelwall, M. 2001. “CommercialWeb site links.”Web Research: Electronic Networking Applications
    and Policy 11(2):14–124.
  35. Visser, E. B., and M. Weideman. 2011. “An empirical study on website usability elements and how
    they affect search engine optimisation.” South African Journal of Information Management
    13(1). Retrieved from (accessed June 17, 2012).
  36. Waltzer, M. 2008. “SEO vs. PPC, which online marketing is more effective?” Retrieved from http:// (accessed July 6,
  37. Weideman, M. 2005. “Web searching articles.” Retrieved from
    articles.htm (accessed July 24, 2012).
  38. Weideman, M. 2009. Website Visibility: The Theory and Practice of Improving Rankings. Oxford:
    Chandos Publishing.
  39. Weideman, M. 2012. “Weideman website visibility search engine submission vid#002.” Retrieved
    from (accessed January 3, 2013).
  40. Winterberry Group. 2012. Outlook 2012: What to Expect in Direct and Digital Marketing. NewYork:
    Winterberry Group.
  41. Wittenberg, P. 2004. “Search engines: Economics & ethics.” Retrieved from http://www. (accessed May 26, 2012).
  42. Zhang, J., and Dimitroff, A. 2004. “Web search engines’ response to metadata Dublin Core
    implementation.” Journal of Information Science 30(4):310–320.
  43. Zuze, H. 2011. “The crossover point between keyword rich website text and Spamdexing” Master’s
    Thesis. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa.

Full text of Journal Article No 0054: Search Engine Optimization and Pay-per- Click Marketing Strategies

Digital Library with full-text of academic publications on website visibility, usability, search engines, information retrieval

Back to Abstracts page