PPC vs. SEO: Difference and When to Use SEO and PPC

If you’re confused about whether your webpage will benefit more from PPC or SEO, worry not. In this guide, we will examine both these marketing techniques and their significance on your website’s visibility. 

PPC vs. SEO

PPC (“Pay Per Click”) is an advertising method in which advertisers pay every time a user clicks on their ad. Ads appear at the top of the search results every time you search for a product.

The advertiser creates an ad for their product using targeted keywords. He also sets a cost he’s willing to pay for each click known as the maximum CPC (cost-per-click). 

That ad then goes into an auction. When a user searches for a product, the algorithm that the auction runs on will decide which ads are most relevant and will display those. The algorithm will decide this based on the maximum CPC and the Quality Score. 

SEO(“Search Engine Optimization”) is the process of writing your web content in a way that it ranks higher in the search results. You can carry out SEO by including keywords that are more searched for, adding more relevant words to title tags, etc.

SEO offers organic search results that are free of cost, while PPC requires you to pay for them.

While both are beneficial for your website, they each have a few disadvantages too.

Pros and Cons of PPC

Is paid search better than organic search? With instant results and higher brand awareness, it certainly offers a lot. But it also has some limitations.

Let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of this strategy. 

Pros:

  • Improved Ads

PPC is a better way to advertise your products or site. It is optimized to reach the people who are most likely to click on your product. As such, it’s more targeted marketing.

  • Higher Ad Visibility

If your ad is relevant to the search result, Google puts you at the top right away. This visibility is very useful if you want better website traffic.

  • Visual product ads

When you advertise on the search results page, Google gives you the option to upload an image along with the ad. This visual aspect increases the chances of someone clicking on it. This feature can’t be found for organic search results.

  • Higher Brand Visibility

PPC allows you to choose who you want to advertise your brand to. You can advertise your products for a local or an international audience. The level you pick will determine how much visibility you want your brand to get.

Also, by ranking high on web pages, more people will see your brand and trust it. According to Google, PPC helps increase brand awareness by 80%.

  • Targeted Audience

PPC allows you to use metrics such as user ages, locations, and interests to target your audience. When you target people who can benefit from your business, you get higher ROI and retention rates.

  • Speed

The PPC strategy gives you results right away. You don’t need to wait for your webpage to make it to the top. With three simple steps, you can create your PPC campaign and in no time, someone will click on your ad.

  • On point marketing data

PPC allows you to improve your customer marketing strategy by using marketing data to target customers according to their interests, their location, spending habits, etc.

  • Stability

PPC algorithms don’t change much. This is in contrast to SEO algorithms which undergo frequent updates. In this way, PPC provides stability. 

  • Budget

PPC allows you to customize your budget. You can set up your own maximum CPC.

  • More Measurable

PPC results can be measured better than the results of SEO. This is because Google offers a feature known as Google AdWords, which allows you to see the data regarding your ads. This way you can assess the productivity of your ads e.g. through ROI. 

Cons:

  • Cost

Having a budget large enough to maintain an ongoing PPC plan is quite difficult. On top of that, if the user clicks off without buying or engaging with your website, you could be losing money.

  • Easy to Copy

PPC ads are very easy to replicate. A competitor can simply copy your ad which can steal some of your potential customers.

  • Time Consuming

You need to keep improving your PPC strategy by gathering data to continue making productive decisions. This can take up a significant amount of time.

  • Needs Expertise

You need a great amount of know-how regarding PPC strategies to create an effective campaign. You either need to be an expert or hire one. If you hire someone with expertise, you’re effectively increasing costs for your business.

  • Lack of Trust

People don’t always trust ads. They’d rather hear about your product from someone they rely on, e.g. a celebrity or fellow customers. But this doesn’t mean you should abandon the strategy. 

Sometimes, PPC is very effective. 

Pros and Cons of SEO

While SEO is known for providing credible, long-lasting results, it does have some drawbacks. Let’s look at some pros and cons of SEO to assess how reliable it is as a marketing strategy.

Pros:

  • Drives Brand Awareness

Being at the top of the list on Search Engine pages increases exposure. Users get to see your site more often and are more likely to click on it. This creates brand awareness.

  • Increases Brand Trust

If you rank higher in the search results, your audience will believe that you offer the most useful information in your industry. It shows that you’re an expert in your field and that many people access your website. This increases their trust in your brand. 

  • More Organic Traffic

More than 50% of traffic was generated from clicking on web pages in the organic search results. This means that the websites using SEO are getting 50% of the total traffic on the net.

  • No cost per click

You don’t need to pay to get traffic to your site. The traffic will come based on your webpage’s ranking which, in turn, depends on your SEO techniques.

  • Sustainable

By implementing the best SEO practices, your web page optimization efforts can be sustainable and last for years. Effective strategies like modifying your title tags or using the right references can boost your SEO efforts.

  • Better ROI

According to this survey, 49% of brands state that organic search has the highest ROI for a website, followed by paid search (19%).

  • Higher CTR

According to a CTR study, 71.33% of searches led to a page 1 organic click while pages 2 and 3 get 5.59% of clicks. This is a significant number of clicks for organic searches.

The remaining traffic, amounting to 15%, is directed towards PPC. 

  • Wider Scope

There are tons of queries being made every day on the web. You get a wider scope—and a higher CTR—with organic visibility. And that is only possible through SEO. 

  • Long-term advantage

To sum up, it’s as hard for you to lose your web page ranking as it was to gain it. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. You don’t need to worry about losing your website’s visibility any time soon.

  • Creates Growth for your Business

As more people click on your website, you’re more likely to increase sales. According to a statistic, around 76% of people who do a Google search are looking to visit a nearby business. That business could turn out to be yours.

Cons

  • Results Aren’t Instant

It usually takes 5-6 months for you to see results from SEO. This is because Google takes time to rank pages. It will look at several factors such as how relevant and reliable it is, how effectively you’ve used your keywords, and other such factors.

  • Costly

A statistic says that businesses spend upwards of $5000 on SEO per month. SEO is so costly because you need to invest in an SEO expert to guarantee you get results. On top of that, these companies usually require an audit which can raise costs as well.

  • Needs Constant Quality Content

You need consistent quality content for your website to keep CTR at a high. Quality content is also important if you want to create backlinks from the most reliable websites. 

Without good content, you simply can’t offer a quality user experience. This can affect your retention rates.

  • Needs Expertise

From selecting keywords to working on a strategy to drive positive results, you need an expert to do these things for you. You will most likely need to look into hiring an SEO expert or consulting an SEO company. 

Does PPC Help SEO?

You might be wondering whether you should invest in SEO or PPC, or both. Does investing in SEO have an effect on PPC or the other way around? Read on to find out more.

As it so happens, PPC can influence SEO. Here are a few ways how:

  1. PPC generates more exposure for organic results.

When you use PPC advertising, people see your brand at the top. Your brand will also be listed in the organic search results. If they scroll down, they’ll see that too.

This produces greater exposure for your brand and increases customer trust. 

  1. PPC optimizes your SEO keyword search.

If you use PPC, you’re handpicking your keywords. PPC will give you immediate results on how effective these keywords are in drawing traffic to your site. Then you can use those same keywords in your SEO.

  1. PPC gives rise to brand awareness.

When people click on your PPC ads, they learn about your business. In the future, they may click on your brand name in organic search results, which will lead to more traffic and higher conversion rates.

  1. PPC gets local leads.

PPC ads can be used to target local customers. This way, local buyers get to know about your business and be more likely to click on your website. This translates to a higher organic ranking.

Which is Better: PPC or SEO?

The answer to this depends on you. PPC gives you immediate results and can bring your business to the top whether it is well-known or not. SEO may take more time, but its results can last for months—even years. 

SEO provides an inbound marketing solution that is more centered on what customers want when it comes to gaining information. A report states that 59% of marketers said that inbound strategies give the greatest leads for their sales teams.

On the other hand, PPC ads provide quick traffic that may be more time-consuming to get if you’re using only SEO. According to statistics, 75% of people who click on PPC ads state that these ads make relevant information easier to find. This is because they appear right at the top of the search page.

It is also true that both SEO and PPC have some influence over each other, so an integrated approach is also a doable option. 

It’s important to keep your business goals, budget, and other such factors in mind when deciding on choosing SEO or PPC. In this article, we weighed the pros and cons to help you select the strategy that works best for you. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask us in the comments!

Rahul Yadav

Rahul Yadav is a Digital Marketer based out of New Delhi, India. I have built highly qualified, sustainable organic traffic channels, which continue to generate over millions visitors a year. More About ME

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