Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is considered the "dinosaur" of Internet lead-generation tactics for some online marketers. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-lead (PPL) marketing have become more powerful tools for many online lead-generation companies. But is there still a viable need for PPC?

As you know, with pay-per-click marketing, the advertiser bids to have their ads appear in the search engine sponsored results. The advertiser pays a pre-set price each time someone clicks on the ad. Facebook, Google and Yahoo offer some of the more popular PPC services.

SEO has become a very effective way to drive traffic to websites for many online enterprises. Many consumers prefer to click on the organic search results, as opposed to the sponsored results. When implemented properly, SEO can potentially generate a high volume of website traffic, without having to pay for every unique click to the site. SEO, however, is a time-consuming, labor-intensive practice.

PPL marketing is a relatively new concept. With PPL marketing the advertiser only pays for leads received. PPL services are typically very adept at SEO marketing, and they take advantage of this expertise to funnel a high volume of traffic to the advertiser's site. The volume is significant enough to generate a substantial quantity of viable leads. Companies such as, for example, with its sophisticated affiliate marketing program, generate an enormous volume of leads for payday loan merchants and other online vendors.

So, with the growth of the SEO and PPL marketing, when does it make sense for an advertiser to utilize PPC campaigns?

* PPC is still a desired marketing tactic for advertisers needing results ASAP. Depending on the search terms purchased and the bid amount, an advertiser may see traffic generated within minutes. PPC is used effectively to launch new products or services, to promote events and to market for seasonal products and time-sensitive products with an expiration date.
* PPC is an effective tool for geo-targeted marketing campaigns. PPC campaigns allow advertisers to segment by age, gender, income, marital status and even hobbies and interests.
* PPC can be a good marketing tool for online websites that are not set up for SEO. For example, if the advertiser's website does not include a plethora of content and links, and if the text is not updated on a consistent basis, then PPC may be one of the more effective ways to generate web traffic.
* PPC may be a good marketing option for advertisers with a limited budget or limited capacity to take on new business. PPC campaign costs can be capped, so the flow of leads ceases once the limit has been reached.

Of course, most Internet marketing experts will recommend advertisers utilize a strong mix of online tactics. No matter what type of campaign you launch, it is critical that you track the ROI of each to determine how to best allocate your expenses in the future. Technology is always changing at a rapid pace. Online marketers need to be on their toes to keep up with the changes.