SEO versus PPC: Which Is Better for Marketing?

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It’s a question that comes up again and again. Which is better: SEO or PPC?

In general, paid advertisements can be more expensive than organic search engine results. According to Wordstream, a small business owner spends about $9,000 a month on Google Advertising. SEO, meanwhile, could cost the same person up to $5,000 a month. That might already include a long list of inclusive services.

Why would you ever want to have PPC services instead of SEO (or vice versa)? The answer has a lot to do with long-term versus short-term gains, as well as other factors specific to your business.

Let’s break down the pros and cons for each marketing option so that you have a better idea of which strategy will work best for you.

Why You Might Choose SEO Over Paid Ads

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques that can help improve website visibility in search engines or organic search results.

What does organic mean here, though? It usually refers to natural or unpaid methods of making it to the search engine results pages (SERPs). While you can use tools to help perform SEO, overall, the success of the marketing campaign is still at the mercy of the algorithms of search engines, among other factors.

Techniques like optimizing a website with keywords improve its rankings in organic (non-paid) results. Promoting a site to influence click-through rates, a technique known as search engine marketing (SEM), also affects organic rankings.

You might want to do SEO because of the following:

1. SEO Is Often Cheaper

If you’re starting as a small business owner, it might be difficult to afford Google Advertising or other types of PPC. On the other hand, SEO might be cheaper, especially if you don’t have competition for your keywords.

2. Organic Search Results Generally Last Longer than PPC

SEO has a longer lifespan. Because you build up your presence over time by creating content and building backlinks, your search engine results will continue to be visible for years. (Note: This happens only if you update your SEO strategies like search engine algorithms, and ranking signals can change over time.)

This means even if your money runs out after six months, if you’ve established yourself properly with organic search engine results, you can still generate traffic for years to come without spending any more money.

marketing chart

Why You Might Choose Paid Ads Over SEO

What Is PPC? PPC is short for pay-per-click, and it’s a type of paid advertising. With it, you create an ad (e.g., a promoted tweet on Twitter), set an amount per click, and then your ad gets shown to users until you reach your maximum budget or decide to stop it yourself.

When someone clicks on the ad, they are sent to your website immediately. You only get charged when someone actually engages with the ad. These can include clicking on the link, sharing it with their friends, etc.

PPC might appeal to you because:

1. PPC Marketing Can Immediately Boost Traffic

Even if you’ve established yourself in organic search engine results, it can take weeks or months before anyone starts clicking on your links because they trust what the search engines tell them about your website and its content.

With PPC advertising, you don’t need trust. All you need is a click! Ad networks like Google Advertising will put up an ad immediately when someone searches for a keyword related to your product or service. This means people will see what you offer right away, and you won’t have to wait on a new customer to find your website.

2. PPC Is Less Risky

If your budget is limited, it might be better to use PPC since these ads are more likely to earn you sales immediately. You might also find PPC to be less risky since it’s not as vulnerable to changes in search engine algorithms.

Why You Might Choose Both

Many online marketers often combine both types of advertising campaigns because each option has its strengths and weaknesses. A combination can be a great way for a business to start with limited funds and then grow into a larger marketing operation later.

At this point, you might have an idea about which type of advertising you’d rather use for your business. However, some factors might influence your decision further.

For example, if you’re just starting as a new business owner, PPC will often earn you sales fast because it’s so immediate. You won’t have much time to generate buzz or build trust before customers already buy what you have to offer.

However, you cannot afford to spend big bucks on paid advertising all the time. You can then complement this online marketing technique with SEO because it helps generate more organic traffic.

 

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