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Search engine optimisation or paid placement systems: user preference

submitted in fulfilment
of the requirements for the degree
Magister Technologiae
Information Technology
in the
Faculty of Informatics and Design
at the
2007 / The objective of this study was to investigate and report on user preference of
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), versus Pay Per Click (PPC) results. This will
assist online advertisers to identify their optimal Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
strategy for their specific target market.
Research shows that online advertisers perceive PPC as a more effective SEM
strategy than SEO. However, empirical evidence exists that PPC may not be the
best strategy for online advertisers, creating confusion for advertisers considering a
SEM campaign. Furthermore, not all advertisers have the funds to implement a dual
strategy and as a result advertisers need to choose between a SEO and PPC
campaign. In order for online advertisers to choose the most relevant SEM strategy,
it is of importance to understand user perceptions of these strategies.
A quantitative research design was used to conduct the study, with the purpose to
collect and analyse data. A questionnaire was designed and hosted on a busy
website to ensure maximal exposure. The questionnaire focused on how search
engine users perceive SEM and their click response towards SEO and PPC
respectively. A qualitative research method was also used in the form of an
interview. The interview was conducted with representatives of a leading South
African search engine, to verify the results and gain experts’ opinions.
The data was analysed and the results interpreted. Results indicated that the user
perceived relevancy split is 45% for PPC results, and 55% for SEO results,
regardless of demographic factors. Failing to invest in either one could cause a
significant loss of website traffic. This indicates that advertisers should invest in both
PPC and SEO. Advertisers can invest in a PPC campaign for immediate results, and
then implement a SEO campaign over a period of time. The results can further be
used to adjust a SEM strategy according to the target market group profile of an
advertiser, which will ensure maximum effectiveness.
Date January 2007
CreatorsNeethling, Riaan
PublisherCape Peninsula University of Technology
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish

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