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May 12, 2017

SEO vs. PPC: Which is Right for You?

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“Search engine marketing and search engine optimization are critically important to online businesses. You can spend every penny you have on a website, but it will all be for nothing if nobody knows your site is there.”

Marc Ostrofsky, New York Times bestselling author of Get Rich Click and Word of Mouse

Every business owner on the Web is trying to claw their way to the top of the SERPs in hopes of striking gold in terms of traffic, leads and sales. While everyone has the same goal, each uses their own set of methods and tactics.

Two of the most popular routes for attaining higher rankings are SEO and PPC advertising.

These two disciplines largely serve the same functions; drive visitors to your website in hopes of gaining a new customer and increasing search engine rankings.

Most small business owners, however, are not sure where to invest their limited funds to receive the most meaningful results.

In all honesty, that answer depends on your company’s goals.

To help you establish which modality will be more beneficial for you, we are going to compare the two strategies so as to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

SEO vs. PPC

Before we dive in to the details, let’s take a moment to define each of these practices.

Search engine optimization is the process of using keywords and other applicable components to increase a website’s relevancy in the search engine results pages (SERPs) as a way to drive traffic to webpages that address the user’s query. People who visit these pages from search engines are referred to as “organic traffic.”

SEO, however, is not just about optimizing your website and content to rank for specific keywords; it is about becoming an authority within a niche and turning your website into a trusted resource for users to gain information and useful products and services.

Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) is the process of creating adverts to be served to users based on the keywords the ad creator has bid on; these phrases are used to target relevant traffic. Dependent on the money you are free to bid, advertisers can acquire the very top spot on search pages.

Each time a user clicks on one of your adverts, you will be charged the bid amount whether the user converts or not. These individuals are referred to as “paid traffic.”

Despite PPC existing as its own discipline with its own set of best practices, there is still a sizable amount of SEO tenants that apply to creating an optimized ad campaign.

The Benefits of SEO

SEO is one of the single most powerful marketing strategies available to business owners. In fact, 66 percent of marketers claim that improving their search rankings is their top inbound marketing priority.

This is quite understandable when you consider that 60 percent of all organic traffic is claimed by the top three search results.

The biggest advantage that SEO gives to businesses is that it drives tons of high-quality traffic. Part of the reason for that is visitors who click on your site organically are far more inclined to trust your business and its offerings. Any business that ranks high in the SERPs is clearly a credible source in Google’s eyes, and, therefore, can be trusted by the consumer.

Make no mistakes, however; SEO is a long-term strategy that does not deliver immediate results. This practice takes a heaping dose of time and commitment; and any SEO results likely won’t come for months. This shouldn’t discourage you, of course, but realistic expectations are important.

PPC’s Place in the Ecosystem

While SEO clearly is a dominant force in the marketing landscape, PPC campaigns should not be discounted; this modality does tout some advantages over SEO’s slow development cycle.

When optimized correctly, PPC campaigns can deliver businesses with an immediate influx of paid traffic, downloads, sales, or whatever other goal you are seeking to achieve. This statement is supported by the fact that more than 64 percent of consumers looking to buy an item end up clicking on Google ads.

PPC ads can also be placed on websites outside of search engines that boast a significant amount of traffic that fits with your buyer personas. This means that you potentially have a second chance to recapture individuals who didn’t click on your search engine advert.

The key to excelling with PPC advertisements is relevance to user queries. Since search engines are constantly aiming to produce the best results for users, you need to do a fair bit of keyword research to understand the phrases consumers are using to find products and services similar to yours.

The Bottom Line

Whether you opt to leverage SEO or PPC depends on your company’s goals and how long you have to achieve them.

A premier SEO strategy can deliver long-term results as far as traffic and sales are concerned. But in order to receive these perks, SEO requires constant attention and effort. Google is always changing its algorithms and competitors are likewise seeking to top any site above their own. This means that you will be fighting a never ending battle; albeit, one that has massive benefits for the top contenders.

If you have the time to explore different keyword results, monitor website traffic, A/B test various site components, create optimized content and continually refine your blueprint, SEO is definitely the way to go.

A well-organized PPC campaign is capable of providing you with an instantaneous boost in visibility, traffic and, potentially, sales. And keep in mind, the more competitive your bids are, the more likely you will attain higher levels of visibility.

The problem here, however, is that you will pay for the clicks you generate even if you don’t gain a lead or sale. But if you simply don’t have the time or know-how to craft a powerful SEO strategy, then PPC campaigns can provide you with a quick bump in traffic. Just do be aware that as soon as your campaign ends, you are likely to see this dip back down because it is not a viable long-term option.

The most effective thing you can do is combine these two modalities to create a synergistic relationship to drive traffic from multiple avenues. Combine these practices into a single, cohesive unit and you are far more likely to achieve more meaningful results than merely using one or the other.

Do you think SEO or PPC is better for your business in the immediate future? Do you have plans to launch an SEM campaign leveraging both practices?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

18 Responses to “SEO vs. PPC: Which is Right for You?

    Well Tina, you have covered all possible factors for both SEO and PPC. I must say, to get growth in online marketing, one must invest money and time as well for the business website as modern era is very competitive. SEO is a slow but long-term investment rather than PPC. Both have their individual values in terms of online growth. One cannot ignore both of these in this competition time. By the way, I enjoyed this article and am quite happy with the details you provided here. Thanks a ton, Tina!

    avatar Dimakh says:

    I think if you want to increase traffic to your website or want immediate leads you should start. PPC is one of the best option. SEO is also a best option but SEO is a long-term strategy it will take some time to deliver results.

    avatar Navin Rao says:

    Hey Tina,
    PPC is common these days, all the startups and affiliate​ marketers too run the campaign quite regularly.

    I am too amongst those affiliate marketers. It seems to be quite important these days. As we all know SEO takes time, but yes nothing can be better than that for the regular results.

    But on the other hand, waiting for such a long period might not possible because of several reasons.

    Thanks for sharing and making the comparison…A good read.

    As stated correctly in the article, it will be always be a never ending battle to stay at the top because of competitors and Google’s always changing the formula. But PPC is also the same battle because of people’s search queries will change from time to time and getting outbid for the “top Spot” is also a never ending battle.

    At the end of the day in, my personal opinion both PPC and SEO are necessary. However as for me me I have always felt that SEO was a better investment because of the long term benefits.

    avatar Robert says:

    My Site is building nicely, I do SEO and PPC, I have facebook, twitter accounts, I work the site a few hours each day.

    I also do good quality content on the website network blog.

    I agree PPC and SEO and great content, user experience is a must.

    I do not have any pop ups, if I visit a website and a pop up comes up straight away I bounce off the site.

    You see lots of people on Ebay trying to sell lots of websites cheap as chips, the people who sell these websites fail to say how hard it is to get a website noticed and established, this tells you that it is easy for these people to sell rather than do the hard work, clone a site and flog it.

    Regards

    avatar Ritu says:

    Both have their own advantages. I think SEO used for long term benefits. PPC is used for current benefits. And PPC required more investment than SEO.

    avatar Komal says:

    I think PPC is used for regular benefits. But main disadvantage is that if somebody clicked on ads and don,t enter query or buy any product or services, then this is only waste of money.

    avatar Marryann says:

    Thank you Tina for great article on SEO vs PPC. I have tried SEO but it really need long time and efforts to display required results. I am fed up with SEO now and will try PPC. I have a budget of 500$ per month for ppc. Is that enough for good results and ROI?

    avatar webone.co says:

    Great ! Thanks for sharing. I think both of them should be used together in order to reach the best results. Based on my experience SEO both on-page and off-page is necessary for all the websites but not enough when it’s used alone. PPC works well provided that your website is able to meet the users needs, as well.

    Having tried both SEO and PPC, I believe that both are important to use in business. PPC will get you started and potential clients onto your website but long term you should be looking for organic SEO methods.

    avatar Mark says:

    According to me, SEO is the best option! Why we need to spend more, where we can get enough ROI! Thanks for sharing! Keep it up!

    avatar Jessyca says:

    Personally i think SEO is the best option for a long term traffic for a website. What if you run out of finance to pay for PPC, your website will suffer a lot and will vanish between the vast search engines.
    Not bad to do both of them SEO and PPC at least you know you keep your position for your website.

    SEO is my first choice for organic traffic.

    avatar Lokesh Kumar says:

    Both SEO and PPC are have More benefits and advantages. PPC have more investment rather than SEO. PPC Completely paid and Results are shown immediate. SEO results are shown after some time but long term beneficial.

    avatar happy room says:

    I think PPC is used for current benefits. And PPC required more investment than SEO.. But main disadvantage is that if somebody clicked on ads and don’t enter query or buy any product or services, then this is only waste of money.

    avatar Aram says:

    Thanks for sharing the concept and explaining it in clear language.

    According to me, SEO is the best option! Why we need to spend more, where we can get enough ROI! Thank for this site

    avatar novin says:

    SEO is my first choice for organic traffic
    very nice

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