SEO vs PPC: The Best Option for Your Business

When planning the perfect marketing strategy for a company, business owners are often faced with the question of “what to prioritize more SEO or PPC?”.  This classic question has been a part of digital marketing plans for years, and its answer changes with every variable.

Hence, if you are also in the same boat, trying to figure out which one to focus on, you need to first understand the difference between SEO and PPC. A deeper understanding of the two will not only help you apply them better but will clarify the confusion as well.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization or SEO is a list of practices one uses to rank on the SERPs organically. It approaches the different ranking factors that search engines have set and optimizes a site’s content for that.

It has three major aspects to it, namely On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and technical SEO.

  1. On-Page SEOIt involves all the optimization practices that one applies”On” the website itself. This includes keyword integration, optimizing meta tags, improving site loading speed, etc.
  2. Off-Page SEO/ Backlinks Building On the contrary, this particular part involves all the tactics you can apply outside of the website to improve its visibility and traffic. Some of its practices are guest posting, Google My Business listing, social media marketing, etc.
  3. Technical SEOFinally, technical SEO involves tactics that optimize a website and its server. With its help, you ensure search engine bots crawl your site better and index it properly.

While it is referred to as the crux of website development, it has its own advantages and disadvantages.

On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO

 

Pros and Cons of SEO

To properly understand SEO vs PPC for your business, you must view both practices objectively. And to do so, you need to consider both the good and bad parts they come with.

So, here are all that you need to know about search engine optimization:

Pros

  1. Organic Traffic – The searchers are getting more and more aware of how search engines work. So, many would skip the ads at the top and click on the organically ranking pages.
  2. Better CTR – Since more people tend to click on the organic search results, you will see a significant hike in the number of clicks than you used to get through PPC.
  3. Targeted Traffic – Proper keyword integration and customized content creation will help you target your customers better.
  4. Free of Cost– All the clicks that you get through search engine optimization are free of cost.
  5. It Doesn’t Stop Rewarding – Even if you stop practicing its tactics, you will still keep getting traffic on your site for a significant amount of time.

Cons

  • Unpredictable – Even though it can be highly rewarding, you cannot predict whether you would actually rank high or not as the algorithms are always updating.
  • Slow – You would have to wait months to see a difference in your site’s performance after applying it.
  • High Competition – Since it is free, almost every other website is practicing it, increasing the competition significantly.
  • Need For Authority – A significant difference between SEO and PPC is that you would have to establish significant authority over a certain topic to rank high for it in SEO but not in PPC.

What is PPC?

Pay Per Click, popularly referred to as PPC, literally means that you are purchasing visitors. The search engine will rank you high for the keyword you have done the bidding for, and you only pay when one clicks on your link.This amount is not fixed and changes from one keyword to another based on their search volume and demand.

What is PPC?

Much like SEO, it too has its own benefits and backdrops, and discussing them would further clarify its importance in your marketing plan.

Pros and Cons of PPC

The following are some prominent advantages and disadvantages that you would come across while using PPC.

Pros

  1. Maximum Brand Visibility – These links are always placed above the organic results. This means even if the users do not click on your site, they will definitely come across your brand.
  2. Complete Control – Unlike SEO, you are not aimlessly shooting arrows with the “hope” of hitting the target. PPC lets you decide your targeted geography, call buttons, pricing, budget, etc.
  3. Targeted Users – You can place your ads on the SERPs your targeted audience would visit. And with the control mentioned above, you can decide who will see your content.
  4. Fast – You don’t need to wait months to see a difference in your page’s performance. The moment your PPC ad is live, you will see it above the organic SERP.

Cons

  • Continuous Investment – You would have to continuously invest a certain amount to keep your PPC ads running. Once you stop providing money, the ad will also cease to exist on the SERPs.
  • Quick To Lose Effectiveness – If you run the advert for way too long, it will eventually lose its effectiveness as it might start to irritate searchers after a certain point.
  • In the end, it’s an “Ad” – People understand the difference between a genuinely ranking site and the one that Google has placed in exchange for money. Of course, not everyone is a big fan of these, and you will have to accept that.

The Difference Between SEO and PPC

The thing that gets affected the most due to these pros mentioned above and cons is their respective return of investment.

Since search engine optimization practices are basically free if you work on them yourself, you are getting returns by just investing your time. And even if you start taking assistance from a professional SEO company, you can fetch about 15 times more clicks than PPC.

However, for that, your page needs to rank high for a keyword with excessive search volume. You will also garner 25% more organic searches for a keyword if your page is one of the top organic results.

So, you can compare SEO vs PPC ROI with the legendary tortoise and rabbit race. Here the rabbit, that is, PPC might seem fast, but the slow and steady tortoise or SEO wins the race.

Difference Between SEO and PPC ROI

 

SEO vs PPC Statistics

To further emphasize this notion, here are some statistical data collected on the very topic.

  • As of 2021, about 42% of all Google searches result in an advert link click, while organic link clicks make up about 45.25%.
  • Approximately 64% of marketers diligently invest in search engine optimization.
  • It is observed that SEO drives almost 100% more traffic to a site than its paid counterpart.

However, PPC has its advantages as well. That is:

  • Pay-per-click ads, if done properly, can boost a brand’s awareness by almost 80%.
  • PPC converts visitors into customers 50% better than organic links.
  • About 40% of companies and brands believe their PPC budget should be more than what it is currently.

From this, we can understand how even though there is a significant difference between SEO and PPC, both can help a business flourish.

SEO vs PPC Statistics

Which is Best for Your Brand?

Since both have solid advantages that one can leverage to benefit their business, it can be challenging to decide which one to focus on. Hence, when framing your strategy, see how big of a budget you have.

If you are low on funds, affordable SEO service is best for you. However, if you have substantial capital that you can invest in digital marketing, PPC advertising is your best friend.

So, use SEO service if

  • You want a strategy that maximizes your company’s long-term ROI.
  • The website is targeting audiences from the different stages of the sales funnel.
  • You want to build strong brand authority for your business.

But, use PPC service if

  • The product you sell is first-of-its-kind or novel
  • You want to direct your audience to a landing or sales page.
  • What you are promoting is time-bound, like a sale or holiday deals.

Now that you know the pros and cons of SEO and PPC, along with their ideal application, let’s discuss how they can work together.

How SEO and PPC Can Work Together

If these two can work so well on their own, think how great your digital marketing campaign would be if you used both simultaneously. Both are essential elements when it comes to online branding, promotion, and sales. So, there won’t ever come a day when one would make the other go obsolete.

Though there is a substantial difference between SEO and PPC, they share the same space in the SERPs. So, it is best if both share their individual knowledge. This will help the greater cause in hand, which is facilitating a business with higher sales.

Through PPC, you can better understand what kind of keywords your targeted audience uses and then incorporate them in your SEO. Similarly, applying SEO content writing strategies in PPC content can take conversion to another level.

SEO and PPC Can Work Together

However, you should think of using them both only if you have adequate funds to do so. This is because a lack of expenses can lead you to make severe mistakes.

Probable SEO vs PPC Mistakes

The following are the possible mistakes you can make if you do not select the right digital marketing agency.

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Cloaking
  • Hidden texts or links

If the company of your choice offers both SEO and PPC assistance at a surprisingly low price, understand that it is using unethical practices. Such practices will only harm your website in the long run and bring no benefit.

Also, cheap companies will have relatively low experience and not know the proper difference between SEO and PPC.  This will create further optimization and marketing issues. So, you will end up investing the little fund you have for nothing.

SEO and PPC Checklist

To ensure you do not make such mistakes, here is a checklist that you can ask your online marketing agency to use. It will both save your money and improve brand visibility.

  1. Run ads only for the best-performing pages.
  2. Give the landing pages a test run before publishing them.
  3. Re-target your organic traffic for phrases and terms that have a higher commercial intent.
  4. Educate your visitors about your company’s products by linking your PPC landing page to your other content.
  5. Reduce the risk of spending all the funds on a single channel.

The decision of selecting one over the other can become simple. All you need to keep in mind is what you want and if you have the means to achieve that.

Even if you want instant results but cannot afford to pay for PPC, you can always build authority with SEO. Once you start earning from the little traffic you get initially, you can put that into advertising.

Now that you have a clear idea about the difference between SEO and PPC, find a professional digital marketing company that can help your business grow with their help.

Ashwani has been actively involved in SEO services since 2005. His expertise and distinctive work approaches have made him one of the most experienced and trusted SEO experts in the industry. He is a certified SEO and Google Ads professional. He also has strong business development skills in advanced SEO, PPC, and digital marketing strategies.

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