Whether you are starting out or have an already established business, getting your business found online is vital to its success.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but the most common and effective methods are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.
Both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, we will compare SEO and PPC, so that you can make an informed decision on which is best for your business.
What does PPC mean?
PPC stands for “pay-per-click”.
It is a form of online marketing where businesses display ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) or other platforms, like social media networks.
Each time a user clicks on one of these ads, the business will have to pay a small fee to the publisher (like Facebook or Google Ads).
In this type of marketing, businesses only have to pay when their ads are clicked on, hence the name “pay-per-click.”
The cost of a PPC Campaign will depend on how much you are willing to bid for each click, how popular the keyword is that you are targeting, how much your competitors are bidding, and a few other factors.
Most businesses set up PPC Ads bidding for their own brand name On Google Ads, since if they don't, competitors will.
When should you choose PPC?
PPC Advertising is a great option if you are looking for immediate results and want to be sure that your ad will be seen by potential customers.
If you have a lot of marketing budget, then PPC Advertising can be a good marketing strategy as well.
Advantages of PPC
1. Fast and Immediate Results
One of the biggest advantages of PPC is that you can set your ad up and have it running in a matter of minutes.
After you have set up your ad, it will start appearing and people will be able to land on your website, complete your form or call you.
If you are in a rush to generate leads or sales, PPC Advertising is a great option since it can produce results much faster than SEO.
2. High Visibility
When you set up a PPC ad, it will appear in the very top spot on the SERP, above all the organic results. This means, when someone searches for your targeted keyword, they are very likely to see your ad since it will be one of the first things they see on the page.
3. Better Targeting
When you are running a PPC ad campaign, you have a lot of control over who sees your ad. You can target people based on their location, age, gender, interests and more.
This ensures that your ad is being seen by people who are most likely to be interested in what you are offering. For example, if you are advertising on Facebook, you can even target people who follow certain pages or have certain interests.
3. Quick Action (A/B Test)
Another advantage of PPC Advertising is that it is very easy to track the performance of your ad and make changes on the go.
You can see how many people have seen your ad, how many have clicked on it and what actions they took after clicking on it. Based on this data, you can make changes to your ad to improve its performance.
For example, if you see that only a few people are clicking on your ad, you can change the headline or image to make it more appealing.
Or, if you see that people are clicking on your ad but not taking any action after landing on your website, you can change the call-to-action or the offer.
Cons of PPC
1. Running a PPC Campaign is Expensive (Especially if not set up right)
If you are targeting competitive keywords or you don't set up your ad campaign , running a PPC Advertising campaign will get very expensive. In some niches, like Law and Insurance, you can end up paying $50-$100 per click.
This means, if you are not generating a lot of sales or leads from your PPC campaign, you will quickly lose a lot of money.
So, it is important that you understand how to set up and run a PPC campaign before investing any money in it. Or hire a professional to do it for you.
2. If the platform goes away, you are done
Google, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms are businesses. They can do whatever they want with their business model. They can go out of business and shut down, a new competitor could come and take away their market share or they could decide to stop allowing ads on their platform.
We have seen this happen countless times and if you are relying on any of these platforms for the majority of your new business, you are in their hands.
You should always built a list for yourself that you can use later.
3. Lower Profit Margin
PPC Advertising will always have a lower profit margin than Search Engine Optimization since you have to pay much more per lead or sale. If you do SEO, once you are in the TOP 1-3, you will be generating leads and sales for free, 24/7.
4. If You Stop your Ads, Your Traffic is Gone
Running Ads will get immediate traffic to your website, but once you stop paying for them or pause the campaigns, the traffic will be gone just as fast.
Is PPC cheaper than SEO?
No, PPC is not cheaper than SEO. In fact, SEO is a lot more affordable in the long run, since you are not paying for each click like you would with PPC.
With SEO, once you rank on the first page of the Organic Search Results for your targeted keywords, you will get organic traffic that is free.
Is PPC better than SEO?
If you are looking for fast results, then yes PPC Advertising is better for you than SEO. If you are in it for the long term, then SEO will give you a better ROI (return on investment) than PPC.
Does PPC help SEO?
If your website doesn't receive any traffic, then yes, PPC can help with your Search Engine Optimization. Don't expect huge ranking increases, but receiving traffic will positively impact your website's SEO.
How much should you spend on PPC?
As a small business, you should expect to spend at least $500 per month on PPC. If you want to be more competitive, then you should expect to spend upwards of $5,000 per month.
If you decide to spend a lot, we recommend hiring a PPC professional to manage your campaign for you, as setting it up correctly is very complex, time and money-consuming.
What does SEO mean?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) in search engines.
The goal of SEO is to get organic or unpaid traffic from search engines like Google, rather than from other sources like social media platforms or PPC ads.
When should you choose SEO?
If you are looking for long-term results, then SEO is the best option for you.
It will take months to see results from an SEO campaign, but once you rank on the first page of Google and other search engines, it will generate leads every day.
Advantages of SEO
1. Long-Term Results
Search Engine Optimization is by far the best investment you can make for your business as it will bring you long-term results.
Once you rank at the Top of the organic search results, you will get organic traffic that is free for years to come, if you take care of your SEO.
Staying on the Top takes SEO work, since your competitors are always improving, but not as much as paying for Paid Search Ads would.
2. Targeted Traffic
People type in specific queries, and keywords to find a solution to their problems.
If you rank for these specific keywords, the traffic you will get will be very targeted.
These customers are ready to buy your product, or service to get their problems solved.
3. Warm Leads
Since you are not interrupting people's days or their browsing experience with your Ads, the leads you get from search engines will be a lot warmer than PPC.
People that find your website from the organic search results are looking for what you have to offer and are thus more likely to convert into paying customers.
4. Better ROI (return on investment)
SEO has a much better ROI than any other marketing channel, including PPC.
In fact, SEO is the best investment you can make for your business.
Usually, it takes between 6-12 months to rank for competitive keywords. After that, you are only paying for the maintenance and improvement of your website.
With PPC Ads, you are paying as long as you want to receive traffic.
5. Improved Brand Awareness
When you rank for a lot of keywords, people will start to remember your business's name.
Ranking on the top of Google (or other search engines like Bing) equals being an authority in your niche and with that, you can create a bigger awareness of your brand.
Cons of SEO
1. Takes a Long Time to See Results
Depending on the keywords you want to target and rank for, SEO takes a longer period of time to show results.
Usually, it takes at least 6 months to see any good results, like more leads coming in.
2. Can Be Competitive
Another disadvantage of SEO is that it can be very competitive, especially in certain niches or industries.
If you want to rank for popular keywords with a lot of traffic, you will need to invest more time and money into your SEO campaign than a business in a less competitive industry.
This is especially true for niches like Casino, Gambling, Law.
3. Algorithm Updates
There are a lot of Google Algorithm Updates during the year that search engines like Google release, which can ruin your rankings and work if you didn't do SEO correctly. The same happens if you receive an SEO penalty, your traffic will be gone
If you want to make sure you won't lose any traffic during an Algorithm Update, make sure you keep working on your website.
SEO vs PPC: Is SEO cheaper than PPC?
In the short term, SEO can be more expensive than PPC Ads. But, in the long run, SEO is much cheaper than PPC Campaigns.
SEO vs PPC: Is SEO better than PPC?
If you want long-term results and don't need traffic right away, then yes, SEO is better than PPC.
How SEO and PPC are different?
SEO is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), while PPC Advertising is a form of paid advertising where businesses only have to pay when their ads are clicked on.
How can PPC and SEO Complement each other?
There are a few ways where SEO and PPC Advertising can complement each other, especially if you are doing both at the same time.
Testing Keywords with PPC First
Even before creating content and trying to rank for a certain keyword, you can set up PPC Ads for it and test how well it converts for your business. This way, you can rule out non-performing keywords and find the ones that are worth ranking organically.
Getting Keyword Data from your PPC Campaign
If you have been running a PPC Ad Campaign for a few months, you can also check which keywords performed the best, where was your CPC (cost per click) the lowest and so on.
You can then take this data and use it to create content and rank for those certain keywords. After that, if you rank for those keywords, you can even turn off the ads.
I have a small budget, which should I choose SEO or Paid Ads?
If you have a small budget to invest in your digital marketing, then you should definitely spend it on Paid Ads as that could bring immediate results, which you can reinvest.
If you still would like to spend your limited budget on SEO, we would recommend taking a DIY aspect on SEO and doing as much work as you can, like article writing, optimizing and reaching out for links.
Times and Niches where SEO doesn't work
There are some niches and business areas where SEO might not be the best option to invest in.
If you have a revolutionary new product and you have to create the market for it, paid ads might be a better option as you won't have a keyword to rank for in the search engines, since no one is searching for it yet.
You can of course always target keywords that are somehow related or address the problems that your customers face and that your product will solve. But, when dealing with a new product, it is better to create the market first with Paid Ads.
Low Search Volume
There are niches, where there aren't enough people searching for the keywords that you would want to rank for.
This can make it very difficult to get any ROI (return on investment) from SEO, as even if you rank for these keywords, the volume of visitors you get from Google will be very low.
In that case, your potential customers (tribe) will be more active on other platforms, like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram.
A good example of that is dropshipping.
There are some niches, where the competition is too tough to break in. In this case, you can either aim for low search volume keywords that are long tails or use paid ads to get in front of your potential customers.
A good example of this is online courses.
SEO and PPC are two different digital marketing strategies that can be used to complement each other.
Which digital marketing strategy you use, depends on your business, products and services, budget and many other factors.
Both have their pros and cons, but if you want long-term results that are cheaper in the long run, then SEO is the better option. If you need results fast and are willing to pay for it, then PPC is the way to go.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!