Harnessing the Power of SEO to Combat Rising Paid Media Costs: Expert Insights



As the digital marketing landscape becomes increasingly competitive, businesses are encountering a significant challenge: the steady rise in Cost Per Lead (CPL) in paid media advertising. With growing demand for ad space and continuous platform updates, many marketers find it challenging to maintain profitability, with incremental paid media spend, while achieving their desired ROI. However, equivalent investment in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) offer marketers a higher ROI from the same incremental spend. In this article, we’ll explore how having a robust SEO strategy can be a powerful tool to combat the rising customer aquisition costs over the long term, with insights from a leading expert in the field.

Expert Insight – Richard Bedford, SEO and Digital Transformation Expert with over 20 years of experience in enterprise SEO

According to Richard, “As customer acquisition costs from paid media continues to soar, investing in a well-structured SEO strategy has become more crucial than ever before. SEO offers a cost-effective and sustainable way to drive organic traffic to your website and reduce reliance on paid media campaigns. By focusing on optimising your online presence for search engines, businesses can establish themselves as authoritative sources in their industries, attract relevant audiences, improve their brand presence, and significantly increase overall ROI from digital.”
The positives of embracing SEO to tackle rising customer acquisition costs:

Organic Traffic Acquisition:

Unlike paid media, where each click comes at a cost, SEO enables businesses to generate organic traffic from search engines without incurring direct expenses per click. By targeting specific keywords and producing high-quality, relevant content, companies can attract users who are actively searching for products or services they offer. This targeted traffic has a higher chance of converting into leads or customers.

40% of the keywords/search terms are in the informational phase of the sales funnel, 20% are navigational or branded terms, and 40% of the keywords are in the transactional or commercial part of the sales funnel.

Long-Term Investment:

Paid media campaigns provide immediate visibility, but their impact is often short-lived once the budget runs out. Conversely, SEO is a long-term investment that can continue to deliver results over time. By consistently optimising content and website elements, businesses can maintain a steady flow of organic traffic, reducing their reliance on costly paid advertising in the long run.

Enhanced Brand Visibility and Credibility:

Appearing on the first page of search engine results for relevant keywords boosts a brand’s visibility and credibility. Users tend to trust organic search results more than paid ads, and a strong SEO presence reinforces a company’s reputation as a reliable and authoritative player in the industry.


With rising CPCs, managing a paid media campaign can become expensive, particularly for smaller businesses with limited budgets. In contrast, SEO is relatively cost-efficient, requiring an investment in optimisation efforts rather than direct payments for clicks. This cost-effectiveness enables companies to allocate resources strategically and achieve more significant returns.

15% of the paid media investment is in the informational phase of the sales funnel, 30% is spent on navigational or branded terms, and 55% of the paid media investment is in the transactional or commercial part of the sales funnel.

Compliments paid media and CRM

Consumers driven to the website can be used as part of a CRM strategy and paid media remarketing strategy in the same way top-of-funnel paid media campaigns. Leveraging organic search to support paid media and CRM is a cost effective way of redistributing paid media budgets to bottom-of-funnel or higher-converting transactional or commercial intent based keywords as part of a holistic search and digital strategy.

20% of the traffic volume is in the informational phase of the sales funnel, 30% is in the navigational phase, and 50% of the traffic volume is in the transactional or commercial part of the sales funnel.

Future proofs businesses for the uncertain Natural Language AI Future

There is a lot of uncertainty about how Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and Bard will affect consumer purchasing behaviour, however one thing is certain; these Natural Language processing (NLP) models require high quality content from reputable sources to fuel their algorithms. Businesses that invest in high quality programs will be at a significant advantage as they will have the content and be considered experts in their fields and thus naturally appear as sources in LLMs.

  • Adaptability and Flexibility:
    Paid media campaigns can be constrained by budget limitations, but SEO allows businesses to pivot and adapt their strategies as needed. As search trends and consumer behaviors evolve, SEO strategies can be adjusted to stay relevant and continue driving organic traffic.
  • Supports a Great User Experience:
    SEO goes hand-in-hand with providing a seamless user experience. When businesses optimise their websites for search engines, they also enhance the overall user experience. This focus on user satisfaction can lead to increased engagement, higher dwell times, and ultimately improved conversion rates.


In the face of rising CPCs in paid media, businesses need to think strategically to ensure their marketing efforts remain cost-effective and efficient. By embracing a robust SEO strategy, companies can take advantage of the positives offered by organic traffic acquisition, long-term investment, enhanced brand visibility, cost-efficiency, adaptability, and improved user experience. Richard Bedford’s expertise in the field of SEO underscores the significance of incorporating SEO into the marketing mix. As businesses navigate the challenges of rising customer acquisition costs, investing in SEO will undoubtedly prove to be a valuable and rewarding strategy.

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