Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing explore webpages content to gather information about the site. They present search results to a user against the search queries (keywords). The results are classified into two groups – “Pay-Per-Click” (PPC) and “Organic” results (SEO).
Now, many business owners ask me this question often “should my business be using PPC or an organic strategy?”
To be honest, both works great – there’s no definitive answer to this question. It all depends on the kind of results you want in the long-run and how much time you’ve got. You should be able to decide this before the end of this article.
Let’s dive in further.
SEO vs PPC
Both PPC and SEO are targeted towards increasing the visibility and ranking of a web page.
There are two differences between the two. Firstly, PPC ads appear at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs); while SEO is influenced by organic results. The second distinguishing thing to know is traffic from the SEO campaign (organic traffic) is free, whereas PPC has a cost for each click.
In many cases, SEO and PPC work best when integrated strategically together. Now, let’s examine the pros and cons of each of them.
The Advantages of SEO
Cost-Effective. One of the perks of SEO over PPC is its cost-effectiveness. Working with PPC, you’ll pay a lot more for your traffic than with SEO.
When it comes down to calculating your cost-per-click (CPC) with PPC, that’s a huge budget. SEO might just be the best option if your marketing budget is minimal.
Website Traffic. SEO provides you with long-term results for years to come. It results in sustainable, organic traffic and awareness of your business than PPC. Moreover, it engages your (potential) customers as to the benefits of buying from you.
Return On Investment (ROI). You’re likely to have an improved ROI with organic traffic from SEO overpaid media forms of PPC.
In other words, the ROI of SEO will continue to increase long after the paid campaign has peaked.
Think of it this way: every single click through PPC is paid for. So, what happens when you can’t pay anymore? No traffic! This inevitably reduced your ROI. But with SEO, you’re rewarded with great traffic for your hard work, and get pretty much straight profit.
Awareness. Your business becomes visible in search engines like Google and Bing for the targeted keywords. In other words, SEO puts your business in front of relevant audiences as they search for the keywords you are ranking for.
Improved click-through rate (CTR). The next big thing after awareness is your click-through-rate.
To be honest, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows; there are certainly downsides of SEO.
According to a marketing survey by hubspot, 40% of marketers say algorithm changes are the biggest challenges to SEO.
One of the top complaints marketers report is the frequent updates in Google algorithms and other search engines.
So, it’s important to point out unlike PPC, SEO isn’t a one-time-forget-it strategy.
It requires regular maintenance as well as staying updated with the current trends.
SEO requires lots of tactics.
Generally, SEO requires lots of tactics to make it work, including link building, on-site and off-site optimization, meta tags optimization, and more.
It takes time to see results.
The SEO process just takes time to see results – say about four weeks before Google index your content. Results with PPC could be instant.
A very clear disadvantage of SEO is the case of slow crawling and organic traffic; when you compare results to your goals. For instance, you against titans like Amazon and eBay trying to rank for similar keywords will require a lot of hard work. You may just need to consider your choices again.
The Advantages of PPC
Immediate Traffic Surge. The number one and by far the biggest advantage of using PPC is the instant surge in traffic you can get. Sometimes, it could even be x2 relevant traffic from SEO.
PPC is just perfect for new businesses who are looking to pave their way into the competitive online market. It helps to boost traffic massively to your website, and at the same time, provides quick visibility.
Conversion Rate. Another notable benefit of paid ads is that they boost your conversion rate.
With PPC, you spend more but a guaranteed of 1.5x more conversion rate than the organic way. You have a better space for delivering your marketing messages, can customize your ads, and target some unique high-intent keywords.
Laser-Targeted Visibility. With PPC, you can “shoot your shots” directly at relevant users. You can target ads by search keywords, specific time of the day, language, location, and audiences based on the peak visits to your site.
Stability. With the frequent changes around SEO and all, Google AdWords (paid campaigns used by 80% of companies) don’t suffer like organic results. Well, they get affected but with a far little impact.
Moreover, with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that offer pad ads, you can’t be stuck with AdWords.
The Downside of PPC
As with SEO, PPC has its pitfalls too. They are:
Upfront Costs. Despite the numerous benefits of using pad ads, the biggest challenge marketers face with them is the upfront costs.
And the insane thing is more and more platforms are raising their PPC pricing – since marketers will not stop competing.
If you’re a new business working with a small marketing budget, PPC may not be the best for you. SEO works then!
When Your Campaign Ends, Traffic Ceases. Now, this will be a big blow. The moment you stop pumping money into your PPC campaign, you get zero traffic.
While its counterpart – SEO and others such as social media and content marketing campaign – requires steady maintenance, you can still be sure of driving traffic to your site.
Sadly, that’s not the case with PPC.
Optimization with PPC requires Time. Perhaps you were thinking you can just buy some ads and it ends there? NO!
You’ve got to learn some basics, including monitoring bids, quality scores, click-through rates, and more.
If you don’t have all the time, you should hire an expert.
So, which is Right for Your Business?
Now, back to the original question of “should my business be using PPC or an organic strategy?”, it depends on several factors.
Let’s trash it together – SEO vs PPC
If you’re a startup business looking to get instant leads and brand visibility, use PPC.
Do you require a long-term ROI? A better click-through rate? use SEO
Use PPC if you have a large marketing budget. Otherwise, use SEO if your budget is just small.
Use PPC if your market is highly competitive or lead by high authority brands, use BOTH.
Finally, consider your goals
Well then, SEO and PPC – Do They Work Together?
If you need to use both of them together, use PPC and then, SEO.
PPC can bring you instant results, SEO will help you maintain your ranking and visibility.
When combined, SEO and PPC work great – especially if you need to rank in a highly competitive market.
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