SEO vs PPC is a hot and widely debated topic that leaves business owners with a decision to make on which marketing channel they will use.
Which approach is better?
It’s a close battle which is why in this article, we’re going to take a look at the details of both SEO and PPC to help you find the one suited best for your business.
SEO vs PPC: What’s The Difference?
PPC ads are the ads that appear at the top of the search results, while the organic results underneath are the results affected by how well you do your SEO (search engine optimization).
If you want to appear right at the top, you will have to pay Google to advertise on their platform.
On the organic results below, you don’t have to pay to appear. Google ranks the organic results in the order they believe which suits the user interests best.
By optimizing for what the user is looking for and in a way that search engines understand, the chances of your website ranking are much higher.
Pros of PPC
First of all, let’s take a look at the main pros PPC ads have to offer.
Firstly, they are extremely quick. Once your ad is approved which can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, your ad is ready to go and will start appearing on the results of your targeted keywords.
This means, you can start a campaign and it will be launched in a matter of days. The longest part is probably the planning and research beforehand.
As long as you pay for ads, Google won’t mind adding your ad at the top of the SERPs. Google is a business too.
Appear At The Top
Another pro of PPC ads is that you appear at the top of the results.
This means the user is first exposed to your ad. If it’s exactly what the user is looking for, you will likely receive a high CTR (Click-through rate).
Choose Keywords Easily
When launching a PPC advertising campaign, it’s extremely easy to pick your dream keywords.
You show Google where you want your ads displayed and then that’s where they are displayed assuming you cover the cost.
No Need To Optimize Pages With SEO
The final big pro of PPC ads is that there is no need to optimize pages with SEO.
This means, your page does not have to follow any of the SEO best practices and can still appear in the results.
It can be a squeeze page, a sales page, or whatever else and you will not have to format it a certain way.
Pros of SEO
SEO on the flip side also has some great pros too.
Trust & Authority
Firstly, by getting into the organic search results you still build trust and authority.
Even today, a lot of users skip past the ads without even thinking about it and take a look at the organic results because they trust them more.
That being said, this is slowly decreasing, but it’s still often the case.
Results that appear in the organic results are also extremely authoritative and you wouldn’t really question what they say compared to a paid ad.
You don’t have to pay anything to Google to appear in the organic listings.
However, it can be time-consuming if you choose to do it yourself.
Free Traffic Through LSI Keywords
When building a website for your business, you’re probably going to start to rank for LSI keywords which will help you get more traffic.
LSI keywords are semantically-related keywords for which your page can also help the user, so Google takes your page and ranks it into the search results for those keywords too.
Long Term Results
SEO is something that provides you with long term results if done correctly.
You have the ability to get a lot of free visitors to your website and usually, this stream of free visitors is consistent too.
It also is a perfect example of the snowball effect, so that’s one big advantage SEO has.
Cons of PPC
Just like any marketing channel, there are also some cons when it comes to PPC ads.
Firstly, they can be extremely expensive.
Some commercial keywords can cost as much as $50 per click, but usually, for most local businesses the cost per click is anywhere from $1.50 to $5.
If you add the cost of getting somebody to manage your PPC advertising campaigns, the cost can really start to add up.
Plus, as soon as you stop paying, you stop receiving traffic. However, with the right strategy, PPC ads can be extremely effective too.
Many Still Don’t Trust Ads
The other main con of ads is that many people still don’t trust ads for specific terms.
It always depends on the term, but for some terms, you may even notice yourself that you scroll down past the ads without even thinking about them.
On the flip side, if you were to be looking for a specific book and you see an Amazon ad for that exact book, you probably would click on it.
This is for two reasons:
- They are offering exactly what you were looking for
- Amazon is a company that has built a lot of authority over the years
These two factors combine and make Amazon’s ad effective and something which a lot of PPC ads should learn from.
Cons of SEO
Just like PPC, SEO also has some cons.
First of all, it’s quite slow.
SEO is a long term process, so in the beginning, you’re not going to be able to see results quickly.
This shouldn’t be too much of a big deal because later on, the benefits are so significant, but it’s definitely something you should be aware of.
Don’t expect to see results with SEO overnight.
You Have To Optimize For SEO
Next, you also have to optimize for SEO.
This means you may need to use a certain type of layout on your page which means you have a little less freedom.
Usually speaking, this is not a big problem though.
Which Is Better For Your Business?
Both SEO and PPC have their pros and cons, but which one is better for your business?
Well, it depends on many factors.
While making a choice can be right in some situations depending on budget and goals, you can also consider using a combination of both.
Do you remember the earlier Amazon example?
Amazon has built up trust and authority over the years which means when you get an ad from them, you trust it. You can build up this trust and authority for your brand with SEO and it will also help make your PPC campaigns more effective.
Plus, for the keywords that are really going to grow your business, you can consider running PPC ads and battling over the organic listings.
This will give you a lot of visibility on those keywords and ultimately help you generate more business.
Choosing Based on Goals
If you do feel as if you need to pick and you’re not sure about which option to go with, take a look at the goals of your marketing campaign.
Is it to bring in a few hot leads extremely quickly? Or, is it to build a strong steady flow of leads consistently?
Take a look at your goals and then also see whether the pros and cons of SEO or PPC are more in line with them.
This is the best way to determine whether to use PPC ads or SEO ads if you do want to make a choice between the two.