SEO vs. PPC – Which is Better for Your Business Growth

Every company that lists itself online with Google or other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, etc., wants to drive as much traffic as possible to its websites. When we discuss earning website traffic for companies online, there are two ways to get it. One is to build credibility before search engines attain high rankings in the search engine result pages(SERPs), and the other is to pay for the traffic. It should be no surprise to someone familiar with digital marketing that the above line points to PPC and SEO.

One of the common confusions that prevail in the minds of digital marketers and businesses trying to find the answer to the question, “SEO vs. PPC, which is a better bet?” In this article, we’ll evaluate organic SEO and PPC to highlight their key differences, analyze them, and discuss how, depending on several factors, a company seeking the best strategy may choose to use either or both. 

What is SEO and PPC?

SEO, as it is popularly known, stands for “search engine optimization” and includes all the activities a business or professional carries out to increase a website’s visibility in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The goal here is to move web page rankings onto the front pages. A company does not have to pay anything to search engines during this process. However, if a company decides to use the services of a professional search engine optimization company, it needs to shell out money for that. Search engine optimization practices take time to yield results. However, the gains obtained from SEO are long-lasting and bring a better return on investment than PPC.

PPC, popularly known as pay-per-click or Google click ads, is a method to gain instant traffic for particular keywords in search engine results pages. Whenever users enter a query into the search engine, they see the advertisements posted by companies according to the keywords that appear above the organic search results and on each page. A certain pre-decided sum of money is paid to the search engine each time a user clicks on an advertisement that was posted by a business. The benefit here is that PPC can instantly put a company’s visibility before users, and the company can enjoy benefits in terms of sales, lead generation, or visitor count straightaway. 

What are the common differences that exist between SEO and PPC?

Some of the differences are already discussed in this post, but those are the major differences between search engine optimization and paper-click advertising. 

The difference from the spending part is that when a company looks to adopt PPC, it can be sure of some predictable results, and it can formulate its strategy according to the competition. Moreover, usually, it is easier than what would have been possible with search engine optimization. However, in SEO, the results are never predictable, and one needs to be patient with strategies and carry out analysis at regular intervals to get the best out of any campaign.

Another difference is that once paid ads are paused or removed, they stop giving results. However, the search engine keeps giving results and may still produce results even after pausing the optimization activities.

An Analysis Of SEO vs PPC from A Business Point Of View

For business owners, choosing between PPC and SEO can be challenging after weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each. Likewise, digital marketers may find it difficult to recommend a strategy to their clients. It is not as simple as it seems, and lots of analysis goes into this decision.

Imagine an example of a company, “A,” selling music earphones. An imaginary situation where the company uses the Google Keyword planner and finds out that the keyword “best earphones on the market” is available for $2 per click. Suppose this company makes a $200 profit from each piece it sells. Going for PPC in such a scenario is indeed a feasible option. 

You must be contemplating why it is a better strategy than SEO. It is because, even with a 3% conversion, company “A” can expect to earn $200*3 = $600 in profits against ad spending of $2*100 = $200. With no guarantee of achieving traffic, the company would have lost money if it had attempted to use SEO by hiring an SEO agency for $1,000 per month( fee for SEO). In this case, PPC is a better choice. 

But in another case, we take the example of a company called “B,” selling online socks made of cotton. The companies only make $8 in sales per piece they sell. When it uses Google Adwords and finds the keyword “best cotton socks” available to them for $4 per click for a top-placed ad, it is not a feasible strategy to go with PPC in this scenario. If you wonder how it is possible in this example, it is because the PPC budget is likely to be higher than the realistically anticipated profit, even with a healthy 4% conversion rate.

These examples highlight how PPC campaigns are planned, but obviously, there is more to it than the simple mathematics when we evaluate PPC and SEO against each other. So, one must know what factors help anyone choose between the pay-per-click method and search engine optimization strategies, and for a general idea, read ahead. 

  1. If a company is new and has limited financial resources, PPC is generally out of the question. 
  2. If a company is looking for SEO, the targeted keywords are owned by big companies like Amazon. Microsoft, and Apple, going with SEO, doesn’t make sense unless there is a significant deviation from keywords.
  3. For particular events, holiday offers, year-end sales, or any other seasonal trending events are ideal times to put Google paid ads in motion.
  4. For quick success, PPC is definitely a better choice than search engine optimization.
  5. When opting for either, analysis of products, keyword selection, and the targeted audience are major factors.
  6. Companies looking for a long-lasting return on investment are advised to choose SEO as their counterpart because SEO does more than just attract traffic. It helps generate credibility in the eyes of the audience and leads to brand-building and word-of-mouth publicity. 
  7. One of the best benefits of going with Google click-through ads is that advertisers can target demographic audiences according to many criteria, such as age, location, income, gender, etc. This kind of control is impossible in search engine optimization. 

The above information clearly shows that everything is not chalk and cheese when choosing a single method to attract online traffic. Many factors, including search engine optimization, play a huge role in selecting keywords. 

Why is it Necessary to Compare How Keywords are Used in SEO and PPC?

Any seasoned online marketer will tell you that the most important aspect of SEO and PPC campaigns is the use of keywords. In simple language, a keyword is a word or combination of words or phrases entered by a user looking to get the answers to queries in a search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. In SEO campaigns, the target of using keywords is to become visible in search engines in front of the target audience to achieve a high rank on the search engine’s pages. For a successful SEO campaign, optimization of web page content in structure remains in focus so that it can remain credible in the eyes of search engine algorithms.

The mainstay of any Google advertising campaign or PPC is unquestionably keywords. Finding the right keywords to generate a high number of clicks and conversions for the relevant service or product is the most crucial step in any PPC ad campaign. The professionals working with keywords generally use Google Keyword Planner or another third-party tool to choose relevant keywords per the client’s requirements for their in-house business needs.

Generate recommendations after analyzing competitors’ websites, and don’t just use any selected keywords. The suggestion here is not to copy everything but to take the idea from them and find more keywords precisely like those with a variation or find unique ones that can be better than those already ranking high in the Google search engine. For instance, for a PPC program related to weight loss products, one can go for a general keyword like “weight loss product” or try to find other options like fat loss products or fat reduction products in the campaign. 

One should exercise extreme caution when choosing keywords because doing so can hurt a campaign’s chances of success more than it helps. For instance, selecting a keyword that is too general or unrelated to the products or services offered will have disastrous results for the campaign. 

There Are Three Main Types Of Keywords In PPC Ads That Are:

Exact Match

Under this type of keyword selection, users only see the advertisement if their query matches exactly with the chosen keyword set by advertisers.

Phrase March

Even if the user adds additional words before or after the keyword, searches that contain those words display ads when this keyword is used.

Broad Match

 It is the most lenient type of keyword where users get to see the ad as long as the entered query has a keyword in it, irrespective of word order. 

Google provides all of these keyword types to assist advertisers in creating PPC campaigns for all different target audiences, who are likely to enter the keyword in queries with varying degrees of variation. Businesses can increase their likelihood of increasing traffic to their campaigns by using broad match and phrase match keyword types in their ad campaigns.

What are Google’s Display Ads, And How Do They Differ From PPC?

Through its AdWords program, Google makes its Google display advertising service available online. Like other online advertising programs, businesses that use Google display advertising pay Google for each click on their ad. Google display advertising is a popular way for businesses to reach potential customers online.

The primary difference between PPC and display ads is that they may be shown to users through push advertising, not when they search for the query. They can appear on their social media pages, companies’ websites, blogs, entertainment sites, etc. The main advantage is that display ads can reach up to 90% of the user base that uses the internet. 

Is It Good To Use A Hybrid Approach Using PPC And SEO?

Many companies combine SEO and PPC to draw in customers. Pay-per-click, or PPC. Going with a hybrid approach has its own advantages. Companies can leverage PPC to bring more customers, and it has been observed that if a campaign lasts for a good duration, the Google rank brain starts pushing the clients to the site for the targeted keyword to the advertised side in a higher amount. Therefore, even when a campaign is paused, the PPC’s benefits may also be reflected in the SEO. Combining both has another advantage: analysis of the data becomes in-depth since PPC is a great way to check the effectiveness of the keywords. 

Newly established businesses with strong financial resources can continue with pay-per-click ads and search engine optimization together. Once SEO benefits start out-running pay-per-click ads, they can slowly move their campaigns to SEO.

So, Between PPC And SEO, Who Prevails?

In conclusion, when it comes to picking just one strategy to attract traffic or achieve a high ranking between SEO and PPC, there is no clear favorite or victorious. In reality, it is wrong to see them as enemies or opposites, and if used intelligently, they complement each other. It all boils down to the company’s requirements, vision, resources, target market, time, and other factors. However, one particular aspect is true for both SEO and PPC, which needs to be carried out with lots of research and analysis. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that either PPC or SEO will produce the desired results. 

Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Founder & CEO

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