SEO vs. PPC - Which is Perfect for Your Business?

Social Media Marketing
Shaikh Nahian
6 mins read
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You know your brand to stand out from the crowd, right?

It’s a no-brainer in this era.

That being said, establishing an online presence requires you to build on your SEO and PPC marketing. For any advertiser, building on these fundamentals is critical to ensuring you’re well-connected with your market.

However, it can be a tad confusing to figure out which should you pursue: SEO or PPC.

That’s why we’re here to help.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an organic way of driving traffic to your website through search engines. Your online business website is optimized in such a way that it is relevant to the keywords your customers type. Thus, you’re ranked higher up the search engine results page (SERPs). SEO is one of the most important marketing strategies ever. So much that around 50% of marketers believe it has the best ROI by far.

Benefits of SEO

  1. Free: The biggest perk of SEO is that you don’t pay for bringing traffic to your website.
  2. Sustainable way of promoting brand image: In the long run, if you’re doing SEO right, your higher ranking for keywords will keep you at the forefront of search engine results.
  3. Content autonomy: SEO gives you control over what kind of content you put forward to your customers. You can advertise the best and unique selling points of your business.
  4. Easy targeting of keywords: Keyword search is the single most important factor determining traffic success. SEO enables you to build content by targeting any keyword you want.
  5. Consistent great ROI: Because it's free and sustainable, SEO will give you good ROI over time, provided you’re consistently creating useful content that is relevant to targeted keywords. This is optimal for long-term lead conversion.

Drawbacks of SEO

  1. Time-consuming results: Favorable results from free tools take time and SEO is no exception. Keyword search is a lengthy process and there are thousands of other businesses that are competing for the same keywords.
  2. Difficult learning process: The process of SEO is complex and so is doing the work. Researching keywords, determining the content, collecting data, building links, and copywriting etc. - these take time and money to learn and apply for best results.
  3. High uncertainty: Anybody can start learning and applying SEO concepts. But, it’s a lot of trial-and-error. Even experienced marketers get confused from time to time by the regular changes in search engine algorithm rules (hint: Google).
  4. Scaling becomes tougher: Especially when you’re a beginner solopreneur with a limited budget. You don’t have control over pushing traffic to your website. You can just nudge them to do so with interesting content. For this, you need extra help which costs money.
  5. Less targeted towards buyers: SEO is a good way of establishing yourself as an information authority for specific queries. It is not a sales tool.

Best to use when: you want to explore your market demand and competition. SEO becomes crucial when you want to build credibility around your brand for valuable and interesting information.

Since results take time, it is recommended to start this process as soon as you can.

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click is essentially paying a unit fee to the search engine platform every time a user clicks on the (sponsored) advertisement posted for the keywords.

It is one of the most common forms of advertising strategies, with less than 50% of small businesses using it.

Learn more about PPC in-depth via this guide.

Benefits of PPC

  1. Instant results: PPC ads are shown on the SERPs before the SEO content. Provided your landing page is alright and sufficient information is given in the PPC (contact number, links, and a clear Call-To-Action button), users will view or click on PPC ads first. This means faster traffic to your website.
  2. Targeted advertising: PPC allows you to position your ads in even highly segmented markets. So, if a customer is looking for the best helmet to prevent skiing injuries, and your ad shows up - it’s very specific and targeted to your customer. Thus, you’re able to communicate with your target audience directly.
  3. Can be monitored and tracked: Because you’re seeing instant results of your targeted advertising and you can see how much is spent on clicks for different keywords, you can track your advertising campaigns and budget both. This makes it very useful for customizing your strategy and future planning.
  4. Lower uncertainty: Tracking means you can change your strategy accordingly to increase PPC KPIs and stay in control. This lowers uncertainty and gives you greater confidence on what works and what doesn’t. Also, you don’t have to worry about unplanned content coming in front of your customers.
  5. Easy to do A/B Testing: A/B testing helps you understand the performance of your strategies. With PPC, this is easier than with SEO. You cannot duplicate content, but you can duplicate Google Ads.

Drawback of PPC

  1. Costly: Every click demands a cost. Costing can vary for keywords and industries, but if not kept in control properly, expenses may rise too much. This is detrimental if conversion is poor. In fact, this cost is the biggest con of PPC.
  2. Time-consuming data collection: PPC can take some time to drive effective results. Track all you want, you will have to wait till good data comes in your hands.
  3. Scaling depends on budget: The more you can invest on PPC, the higher will be your growth. Thus, if the budget is limited, you cannot expect growth from PPC alone.
  4. Stop paying, stop results: The moment you stop paying for PPC, you forego all your potential traffic. This is a continuous expense if you want sustained growth. Thus, this lowers your ROAS as well.
  5. Hard to learn: PPC is a specialized form of advertising which requires trial-and-error. Learning takes time. Add the cost, and this makes it an expensive learning process which can be a headache for some.

Best to use when: you’re a beginner who needs immediate traffic. Also when you have a good amount of money to spend on experts to help you.

The Bottom-line

When it comes to SEO vs PPC, the question isn’t which is better.

The real question is how can you use both together to maximize business growth?

The characteristics of SEO and PPC make them perfect complements to generate higher revenue.

In the short run, PPC ads will help you generate good traffic and sales. For long run sustainability, investing in SEO is the way to go. Alongside using PPC ads to increase sales volume as well.

But, the decision to take right now depends on various factors:

  • Your budget and goals,
  • The industry you operate in,
  • and, Your current business performance

Therefore, this guide will help you factor in these aspects and optimize your advertising strategy accordingly.

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