team of marketers reviewing graphs showing results of SEO vs PPC advertising efforts.

SEO vs PPC (Search Engine Optimization vs Pay-Per-Click)

Which is best for your business?

In all marketing, the goal is to get as many eyeballs on your content as possible. Search engine optimization and Paid Ads are the two main ways of getting viewers to your digital content. In this post we will look at SEO vs PPC, and determine which one is best for your business.

What is SEO? And, what is PPC?

Before we dive into which is better for your business, let’s make sure we all understand what we are talking about. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of ensuring that your website is going to show up in search results for given search keywords.

PPC is Pay Per Click, and is the process of bidding on having your post listed at the top of search results (often call “Sponsored Results”).

Both provide the opportunity for your website to be listed at the top of the page, but they provide the opportunity in two very different manners.

Why should I focus on SEO?

You know the fable of the tortoise and the hare? Its a bit like SEO vs PPC. In this race, PPC is the hare, and SEO is the tortoise. We all know that the tortoise ended up winning the race by taking a slow and steady approach. SEO will often take 6-12 months before your efforts start to show results. But, this can be a problem if you don’t have 6-12 months to start generating results. Ongoing SEO activity will turn your website into a long term asset that continues to drive leads and client acquisition far into the future. The value of the activity ends up being worth multiples of your investment.

Some of the pros of SEO:


  • SEO is cheaper in the long run
  • You can target different points in your sales funnel
  • Traffic volume is more steady
  • Organic traffic has higher brand value


Some cons of SEO:


  • Algorithms change
  • Requires regular review
  • Takes time, sometimes 9-12 months
  • Requires a level skill and expertise


Why should I focus on PPC?

Sometimes you need results, fast. PPC is great to “turn on” traffic when you have a short window of opportunity that you need to generate results. You pay for each click through to your website. This can create a tremendous upswing in traffic, however, it can get expensive, and as soon as you stop, so too does your traffic. As part of a larger campaign, with additional creative or ad placements, PPC campaigns can drive fantastic short term results.


Some pros of PPC:


  • Quick results
  • Appear higher on the page than organic results
  • Allows you to choose target audience
  • Can A/B test your creative


Some cons of PPC:


  • Can get expensive, quickly
  • Reduces profit margins
  • Creative gets stale if not optimised regularly 


How to determine which is best for me, SEO vs PPC?

There is no easy answer to determining which solution is best for your business. Making a business decision around SEO vs PPC will be highly dependent on where you are in your business cycle, what sort of traffic your target keywords generate, and the amount of competition, along with your available budget. Deciding whether you need immediate results, or longer term results will help you decide which option is best for your business at any given moment. And remember, whichever you decide is more important today, might not be the same answer in 6 months time. Get help making the decision by auditing your website for FREE here.

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