SEO vs PPC: Which is Better for Your Business?
Statistics show that 75% of searchers never scroll past Google’s first page. In other words, if your site is not the first thing they see in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) you basically don’t exist.
Now there are different techniques you could use to boost your online visibility, but for businesses wanting to stand out this usually boils down to two basic options — SEO vs PPC. Even though they have a similar goal — to generate quality leads — these two practices deliver different results and work very differently in terms of general practice.
So when looking at SEO vs PPC , which is better for your business? What are the advantages and disadvantages of SEO and PPC? Should you invest in SEO or PPC services first?
Here are a few basic similarities and differences between SEO and PPC that may help you take the right path and kick off your rise to the top of the Google SERPs.
Organic search still dominates digital marketing. Given that 93% of online experiences start with the search engine and that 70%-80% of users ignore paid ads, not optimising your site for search engines would mean losing a great share of potential customers.
The advantages of SEO
When compared to PPC, SEO brings numerous advantages to the table. Here are a few key benefits of SEO:
- SEO costs less than PPC. Sure, to appear on the first page on Google, you need to either hire an SEO freelancer, an SEO agency or build an in-house SEO team. If you go with the latter option, there’s also the consideration of investing in the right tools and other resources that will help you stay on top of your technical SEO and content strategy.
- SEO brings long-term results. Even though it requires a significant time investment and may start off slow, SEO not only boosts your rankings and drives qualified traffic to your site, but also helps you build a solid reputation and stand out in the overcrowded digital landscape. Solid SEO strategy also aligns with other areas of your business such as content and social media as part of a seamless user experience.
- SEO is user-friendly. Unlike some intrusive outbound marketing techniques like cold calling or interruptive ads, SEO is an inbound marketing technique. In order to rank high and show up in front of your target audience, you need to bring value to both Google and your users. This way, people will find your site organically, when looking for businesses or products like yours. Google has repeatedly said that SEO strategists need to operate with the end user in mind, so you need to incorporate UX best practice as well. Keep this in mind when looking at your site architecture and technical SEO strategy.
The disadvantages of SEO
Today, rising above the competition and showing Google that you’re a reliable source of information is difficult. To deliver the exceptional user experience and eliminate spam, Google’s algorithms are constantly getting updated. This is why doing SEO cannot be considered a set-it-and-forget-it approach. It needs to be constantly monitored and updated according to the changes Google introduces. This needs to be considered as well as consistent competitor analysis as well so you’re constantly changing and staying ahead of the game. Here are the major drawbacks of SEO:
- If your site isn’t up to scratch in terms of spam score, link profile and good content, there is a risk you can get penalised by Google. There are different types of Google penalties and various different reasons you may encounter them. Read more about this here.
- SEO is not a strategy that delivers overnight results. It can take several weeks for Google to index and rank your content accordingly.
- A good Google ranking is not something definitive, as it depends on a wide array of factors.
Sometimes, investing in organic search can take a little too long to stand out among the rising competition. If you want an instant bang for your buck, this is where PPC shines, whether you’re bringing in an agency or hiring a PPC consultant.
The advantages of PPC
The benefits of PPC for businesses are multiple. Here are some of them:
- PPC services and campaigns are easily measurable from beginning to end. You can have a clear eye on what you’re spending and where, and how this is driving performance and ROI. Businesses can tailor their ad budget and bids and choose how and where they want to spend their money.
- It drives quick results, even for businesses that are just starting off.
- PPC offers incredible targeting options that will help you drive even more relevant traffic to your site and boost conversions.
The disadvantages of PPC
- The major drawback of paid search is, as you’d probably imagine, high costs. As the number of marketers competing for dominance in the online world is rising, PPC platforms are increasing their costs. So, if you don’t plan your strategy in advance, you may end up paying for PPC more than you will generate from sales. So much money can be wasted on targeting the wrong keywords, or a keyword set that are simply too competitive for you to make your mark on the SERP.
- Another huge problem with PPC is the fact that, once your campaign is over, you will stop generating clicks. So, to keep your traffic and conversions, you need to constantly invest in your paid ads. SEO is different. By building quality links, refurbishing your content, or producing evergreen articles for example, you can keep driving relevant traffic to your site for years.
Tailor your Digital Marketing Strategy to your Goals
Both SEO and PPC have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Of course, to get the most out of them, you need to set clear goals both in the long- and short-run.
From the previous examples, we can conclude that SEO is an absolute necessity for businesses. Apart from the fact that it is quite affordable, it helps you boost a solid and long-term online presence, builds your brand and puts yourself in front of the right people. Still, SEO is all about planning hard and then waiting for the fruit to grow. On the other hand, PPC is your safest bet if you want to boost your visibility fast and drive highly relevant traffic to your site fast.
Still, there is one thing you should never forget. In digital marketing, things are seldom black and white. There is no rule saying that you cannot combine SEO and PPC through a well thought-out overarching digital marketing strategy to give your online presence a boost.