SEO vs PPC: which should you choose?

google organic search results

To be successful in any online endeavor, you need traffic. For businesses, it can be the difference between a successful business and a dead end. Your business’ web pages need traffic to survive.
The question that many businesses face is how to get that traffic. This is where the question of SEO vs PPC comes into play. These are two of the most powerful approaches when it comes to generating traffic.

SEO audit
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and PPC stands for Pay Per Click. Both SEO and PPC are viable options for businesses to increase their rankings on search engines. Their main function is essentially the same, to drive traffic. However, their techniques are very different.
There are different circumstances to consider when deciding SEO vs PPC ads.

google organic search results

You’ll want to consider which method you want to choose to drive traffic to your site. With these methods, both have their strengths and limitations which should be considered when approaching the issue of traffic.
Knowing this will allow you to make the right decision, thus helping your business grow.

SEO vs PPC – When SEO is the Right Choice

When speaking of SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization, we are usually referring to a group of techniques that are used to help increase a website’s ranking on search engine results pages, thus making it more visible in organic search results, and driving organic traffic.
Proper search engine optimization is a key component for most online businesses (and working with a great SEO agency never hurts). Just think about when you are looking for a product or service, where do you usually go? Say you need a plumber, do you ask around on Nextdoor, or check Google first?
Speaking of Google, if you are going to choose the route of search engine optimization, Google is a great place to start.

google organic search results

It is by far the biggest and most popular of the search engines. Google has become for search engines, what Kleenex has become for tissues. Google boasts over 5.5 billion searches per day, That’s over 63,000 searches PER SECOND! If you aren’t molding your SEO strategy to fit Google, you’re missing out on A LOT of organic traffic.
So when would it be a good idea to use search engine optimization instead of PPC ads with search engines? Here are some examples:

  • When you want consistent results – While the long term success of search engine optimization cannot be denied, the key here is in fact, “long term”. You won’t get to the top spot in the search results overnight. It takes time and work. On that note, if you can keep up with the demand, and properly analyze the data provided, you will enjoy consistent traffic and the long-term benefits that come with it.
  • When you are looking to build authority.  When we speak of an authority website, we are talking about a website that has become an established resource center in its own right. A place where people in a certain niche go-to for information. To do this you’ll need excellent content, and a high powered SEO strategy.
  • When you are looking to increase your website’s value Websites in themselves are virtual real estate. If you want to increase your website’s value, you’ll need to focus on the amount of consistent traffic that is driven to your website.

One thing to keep in mind is that while an SEO strategy is “free” the time and effort it takes to craft and create content, will certainly be an investment.

SEO vs. PPC -When PPC is the right choice

google organic search results

Pay-Per-Click marketing consists of paid ads on search engines such as Google. These paid ads will appear in the results page when a user performs a search that includes the key words you chose for your marketing.
Every time a user clicks on the paid ads you are promoting, you pay for that user to click through to your website. Hence you “pay per click.”
Some popular PPC advertising platforms include Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords), Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads. There are many systems in PPC that can be utilized for niche marketing.
Google ads is a great place to start your PPC marketing campaign. Google ads, can be used with Google Analytics to help you figure out what is working, and what isn’t when it comes to Google Ads management. When used together Google Analytics can provide incredibly detailed data on what happens someone clicks through from your paid search advertising to your website.
Under what circumstances are PPC ads right for you?

  • When you desire immediate results – PPC ads will deliver results FAST. The moment your PPC campaign is approved and goes live, you will start to see an increase in visitors. There are certain caveats to this of course. A PPC campaign works on a bidding system, so you are bidding against your competitors for that top spot for paid search ads. PPC campaigns, particularly on Google ads, are a fantastic tool to use if you are launching a new product or program.
  • When trying to target a specific group of users. PPC advertising differs from SEO in that you can narrow down who will see your business’ web pages in their search results based on their demographic data. Many sites, including social media platforms allow you to target users based on factors such as age, gender, education level, income, and marital status. Some sites, such as Facebook, will also allow you to target users based on their hobbies. Being able to target people who would organically be interested in your brand makes this option of reaching new customers extremely valuable.
  • When you have a time-sensitive offer to promote. If you have an event, service, or product that is available for a limited time, you need to work hard to make sure it does well. This is where PPC marketing comes in handy.
  • When your website isn’t properly set up for SEO. Proper SEO requires stellar content that is regularly updated. This allows the search engine to know that the site is relevant, which is one of the top ranking factors for SEO. Squeeze pages, for example, usually don’t have the content that is required to land any kind of ranking. This is where PPC can be extremely beneficial.
  • If you want to be at the top of the search results for your keyword category. PPC results are shown above organic search results on the search engine results page. Because of this prominent position, these sites generate a lot of traffic. In fact, as much as 50% of the traffic stemming from a search result page goes to the top 3 sponsored links. That means if your results aren’t at the top with your competitors, you are most definitely missing out.

google organic search results

When it comes to SEO vs PPC, they both have their draws. In fact we wouldn’t even consider it to truly be a battle of SEO vs PPC when it comes to search engine results. Both are excellent tools to use for your business, they complement each other well, and both should be used as parts of your online marketing strategy to increase search traffic and website traffic, in their respective proper settings.