No, I’m not against paid online marketing and sometimes it is necessary to indulge in it to get quick, timely exposure to your online business. Paid online marketing means running Pay-Per-Click campaigns and paying other webmasters (sometimes directly, sometimes through ad-brokers) to display your links and banners. Unlike natural search engine optimisation paid online marketing doesn’t require lots of time and effort: all you need is money and some strategic sense to choose your ad partners. You can start getting traffic within minutes in some cases.
But I’ll never recommend paid online advertising as a long-term solution for various reasons.
Search engine users prefer naturally appearing links
Most search engine users don’t pay much attention to pay-per-click ads that appear along with the natural search results because they think the links that pay to appear don’t have the relevant information on them (and that’s why they needed to pay). In most of the cases banners that appear on content-rich websites too don’t generate many clicks because people are more interested in consuming the actual content on the web page.
An aware user knows that only those links get higher, natural rankings that the search engine algorithms prefer and since they trust the search engine they use, they normally show more interest that appear with higher rankings rather than links that appear in the PPC sections.
The cost of paid online marketing is recurring and never stops
Since you are paying for every click and every ad impression, you are always paying, and this cost keeps mounting with increasing competition for the same spot or the same keyword.
Traffic coming from SEO on the other hand is practically free after your website has been search engine optimised. After that you just need to maintain your position and it doesn’t cost you much. Look at it like this: if your link appears on the first page of a search engine, whether it generates one click or a million clicks, the only money you spend on — if you do at all — is the SEO effort.
SEO keeps your website in shape
SEO done in the right manner makes sure your website has clean markup, has relevant content, has a well-defined navigation system, loads fast, and is totally accessible. And this is very good for your online business.
With paid online marketing you can generate traffic even with a lousy website, and this in turn costs you lots of money without generating much business.
So considering the above points, I recommend paid online marketing as a short-term strategy, but not a long-term strategy, especially if your marketing budget matters to you.