SEO vs. PPC: Which One is Better?
Chad Kodary
Feb 22nd, 2021 at 08:02 PM

SEO vs. PPC: Which One is Better?

When creating your marketing blueprint and deciding how to allocate your time and resources to it, you should consider a few crucial distinctions. SEO and PPC (Pay Per Click) ads are two major digital marketing strategies, but you need to understand the difference between them to adopt the right approach for your business. 

This article will explain whether you should invest in SEO or PPC to achieve better traffic and conversion results. It becomes even more critical when you are on a shoestring budget. SEO helps boost your search engine ranking and makes your website more relevant to users’ queries. 

You can’t pay to rank high in organic rankings, this can be either a good or bad thing depending on who you ask. Furthermore, Google is committed to keeping organic search content extremely relevant and trustworthy for the users. 

On the flip side, PPC ads are paid advertisements that we see next to the organic search results if you are looking at SERPs and also at other places online. It’s important to note that running paid ads will not improve your SEO rankings and Google refutes such false claims.

SEO vs. PPC: Which One is Better?

Google started with organic search results, and still, it is its biggest USP (Unique Sales Proposition). When you perform a search on Google, organic listings come just after paid ads or sponsored results. 

SEO vs PPC: Which one is better?

Organic Rankings: What is SEO?

It’s crucial to optimize your website properly to increase the visibility of your website. With increased visibility, your site will show up quite often when relevant search phrases are used. When improving your site’s SEO, there are several things you can tweak

What is PPC, and When Do We Need It?

Google Pay Per Click advertising offers many solutions, and Google Ads is one of them. It allows marketers to bid on the chance to appear as an ad next to the organic searches when a user makes a query to look for what you have to offer. However, in this case, you pay when someone clicks on your ad.

These ads provide you the opportunity to be in front of a wider audience online. You also have the freedom to tweak your ads at any point in time to target a specific customer segment by demographics or interest.

Apart from that, it also allows you to promote a specific deal. It’s an excellent opportunity for small businesses and startups who cannot invest in their SEO. Still, at the same time, they need enhanced visibility to keep themselves in business by promoting sales. 

Google Display Network

Beyond Google search, Google Ads also allow you to be in front of your audience through your ads on relevant websites in the Google Display Network or GDN.

GDN comprises thousands of websites on the Internet, where you can access many potential customers.

You can also have the freedom to pick specific sites from the network and select the type of audience you would like to target. You can also let Google create a customer list to meet your objectives.

Google Display Network

It’s important to note that Google Ads don’t provide the same results as SEO, and it will also not help you improve your natural search rankings. However, they give so much flexibility that you can grab your potential audiences’ attention right when it’s crucial for you. It also helps you even if you are a startup and don’t have enough resources and money to invest.

Why Won’t PPC Help Improve My SEO?

The ultimate objective of Google is to provide relevant and high-quality search results to users. If businesses are allowed to pay for higher rankings, the user experience will suffer and users will not get the required information through Google search. It will defeat the very purpose Google was created for.

Google Ads (SEO) Tools

Google Ads can’t boost your SEO, but when you create a Google Ads account, it provides you several tools that you can use to optimize your site. For example, you can use its Keyword Tool to create a list of phrases and keywords relevant to your business. These keywords are frequently used and have the potential to generate a lot of searches. You can include these keywords in your site’s content to boost your search rankings.

Google also offers some ad tracking tools through its ads account to measure the impact of tweaks made to your website and ad campaigns, leading to more visitors and conversions. Such insights are beneficial in optimizing your website and campaigns in a much better way, which is not possible without using these tools.

Google offers these tools to its ad users for free. The search analytics report comes built-in with Google Analytics, and it can track the queries and keywords that are attracting more visitors to your site even when you aren’t using Google Ads. These insights are incredibly valuable from an SEO perspective. 

The Pros of SEO

Before you figure out where to invest your marketing budget, you need to understand SEO’s main advantages.

Here are some essential facts about organic SEO:

  1. It’s the most cost-effective way to improve your website’s visibility.
  2. Natural rankings are entirely free.
  3. With improved rankings, you can see sustained results for a long time.
  4. The results you get are similar to placing your ad on the web for your potential customers 24/7 without paying a dime.
  5. It does not depend on the bidding by your competitors, so results are mostly stable.
  6. It’s the most cost-effective option in the long run when you expand your operations and number of keywords; this is not the case with PPC as you would have to pay for every click even when you grow.
  7. According to a study by Sparktoro, organic rankings can attract more than ten times the amount of visitors than with paid results. 

The Cons of SEO

Even with the tremendous advantages SEO offers, it is not the right fit for every business. It has the following cons. 

  1. SEO takes time, especially for startups and small businesses.
  2. There is no way you can start receiving traffic through SEO from day one, which is possible with PPC.
  3. Since SEO is vast and involves many things such as content creation, technical SEO, link building, and data analysis; you need an entire team of marketers with a solid strategy to work together on your SEO project. It requires a considerable and continued investment.
  4. SEO is an ongoing process that is never complete, so you need to consistently work on it.
  5. SEO is not only time-consuming, but it’s also overwhelming and you need to optimize your site for the algorithm updates every year using advanced SEO tools.
  6. SEO offers no guarantees for higher rankings but you’ll attain significant results with perseverance and patience if you have a strategy in place.

The Pros of PPC

  1. The instant results you get through PPC offer various advantages such as instant traffic and conversions.
  2. It is extremely useful for e-commerce websites with multiple products.
  3. It is the first thing that the user sees, so it is even more visible than the organic results.
  4. It offers more opportunities to attract search users’ attention to your ad as it uses eye-catching pictures and rich text with phone numbers etc.
  5. To run PPC ads campaigns, you need a small team of a paid search professional, a copywriter, and a graphic designer compared to a vast team you may require for SEO.
  6. It allows you to target your customers using shopping ads, search ads, video ads, Gmail ads, etc. Organic rankings do not offer you such a variety of options to tap your customers.
  7. PPC gives you a wealth of data on keywords and ad types that the customers click before making a purchase, providing better insights to tweak your campaigns and improve your return on ad spend (ROAS).
  8. It allows you to take a laser-targeted approach to serve ads to your segmented audiences based on different factors such as the time of the day, their location, and the device they are using. 

The Cons of PPC

  1. Attracting traffic using PPC advertising isn’t free, and you have to pay for every click. Sometimes these clicks are so expensive that you cannot afford them for specific product types where the cost margin is relatively low.
  2. You need to spend for every click, so your conversion rate is quite important. If your customers are not converting, it means you are wasting a lot of money on your campaigns.
  3. The cost of clicks may rise with every competitor entering into the fray bidding for the same keywords. It makes it difficult and unpredictable.  
  4. You may need a high initial investment to get started. 

Organic Search vs. Paid Search: Which One Should I Choose?

Ultimately, it’s your call. It’s worth considering that both SEO and PPC have their pros and cons and help your business in different ways. These days, people search online before making a buying decision, which applies to all products and services. People use Google to check business reviews and answers to their queries. They also check recommendations from influencers and verified customers and both SEO and Google Ads help get in front of these potential customers. 

While SEO is a traditional approach that gives your business the required visibility and the chance of being found by internet users worldwide, it takes time and organized efforts to achieve rankings on the first page of Google.

Paid Search vs. Organic Search

If you want to reach out to the people looking for the products you are offering, you can leverage Google Ads. It works immediately without having to wait for your site to move up in natural searches. PPC is helpful regardless of your business’s size, and it allows you to customize your campaign while on the go.

The Conclusion

Since we have discussed the pros and cons of SEO and PPC, it’s time to address the big issue — which strategy is right for your business? Even though it varies based on your situation and what you want to achieve, a hybrid model will work best. You can integrate both strategies intelligently and get each one’s benefits as per your situation and requirements. Dividing your budget and using both the techniques as a hybrid will help you bring traffic to your site in the short term and boost your online presence for long-term success.

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