PPC or SEO: How to Figure Out What’s Better for You
The battle between PPC and SEO has been going on for years now.
And the reason is clear: both processes are different sides of the same coin – marketing approaches that try to boost your visibility, credibility, and traffic.
According to Internet Live Stats, 3.5 billion Google searches are made every single day – and if you don’t exactly see how this number impacts your business (people search for all kinds of things, after all), let’s put it a different way:
More than one – third of product and service searches start on search engines.
Most companies know this, which is why they don’t wonder IF they should invest in search engine marketing, but HOW MUCH.
But does this mean that PPC is more effective?
Well, this is not a question that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
Below, we will try to answer two key questions for you:
- What’s the difference between these processes in terms of costs and benefits?
- How to choose the best strategy for your business?
Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
PPC and SEO: The Difference
PPC and SEO are both inbound marketing strategies – which means that their purpose is the same: to increase your brand’s visibility so that the audience gets interested and comes to you.
However, each of these approaches takes a different road to get you to your end destination (increased traffic and high conversions).
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is a process of structuring your website and its content to make it clear to search engines what your company is about, and to position your brand as a relevant resource in your industry.
The goal of SEO efforts is to position your site on Google’s first page organically (hopefully, among the first five results which account for almost 70% of all the clicks).
Note that ‘organic’ does not mean ‘free.’ Although you do not get directly charged when a visitor lands on your page as a result of organic rankings for specific keywords, SEO takes time and continuous effort, which easily translates to money.
When it comes to PPC, or Pay Per Click, you need to place a bid to show up at the top of the SERP (search engine results page) for target keywords.
With PPC, you pay each time a user clicks on your ads. Google Ads (AdWords), Facebook ads, and Bing Ads are all examples of widely used advertising platforms.
PPC is fast – so fast that it can get your name on the first page in 24 hours.
But is it cheap?
As you can see, the main difference between the two is the time and the cost. So, how do you decide which approach to use for your business?
What’s Better for You: SEO or PPC?
Just like anything else in this world, both SEO and PPC have strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is not possible to make a unanimous decision on which of these is better for you – it will all depend on your business context, objectives, and budget.
Below, we created a list of possible scenarios where one approach would yield better results than the other.
These scenarios should give you an idea about what is the best strategy to use according to your business needs and current situation.
SEO: Long – term results are more important to you than immediate profit.
SEO is not fast. Whatever you do, and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t jump to the first search engine results page overnight. Chances are, it won’t happen after a week either.
True, SEO takes a long time, but once you managed to optimize your page, you can maintain your results and position on the top.
The results that come from PPC, on the other hand, disappear as soon as you stop paying.
PPC: You Need Results. Fast!
At times, you will need to see immediate results. Be it a product launch, a time – sensitive offer, a seasonal discount, or an event promotion – there are many reasons why you might need to gain exposure and drive traffic fast.
In these cases, PPC is the way to go. PPC campaigns will start driving traffic as soon as they are approved and displayed to the search engine’s audience of millions.
SEO: You are looking to create a sense of trust and build authority.
Have you been in a situation where you trust the information you read from one website more than you trust another?
That is what can be considered an authority website – an established source of information in a particular industry.
How do you get people (and Google) to trust your URL and site?
You guessed it – authority is fuelled by valuable content, crafted using SEO techniques.
It is more natural for customers to trust organic results more than they trust ads. When something is highly rated organically, it creates a perception that it has been accepted by many people, without being forced onto them.
PPC: You Are Targeting a Specific Demographic Segment
With SEO, you do not have any control over who sees your page. PPC, however, allows you to target a specific audience segment based on their demographic data, like gender, age, income, education, marital status, and so on, which means that you can promote your business to people who fit your target group and are most likely to convert.
SEO: You Are Planning to Sell.
Are you planning to build a valuable website and then sell it to an interested third party?
In that case, SEO is the only way to go. To get your website to sell for good money, you need to build a consistent flow of traffic, rankings, popularity and results over a certain period – and show the buyers that they are making a smart move that’ll bring them long term benefits by investing in your page.
PPC: When There Is Not Enough Content to Be Optimized
We already explained that it takes a long time for SEO efforts to deliver results.
However, not all webpages are designed in a way that allows search engine optimization. Take, for example, coming soon pages or squeeze pages. On both of these kinds of websites, there is not enough info to feed Google and show your relevance.
In cases like these, it is PPC campaigns that give you a chance of being noticed.
SEO: You Want to Gain a Competitive Edge
The fact that SEO takes a long time is ‘bad news’ when you are just starting out, but ‘great news’ once you have managed to secure a position for yourself.
SEO is not something all brands will do, so optimizing your page will give you a strategic advantage over your competition – when you arrive at the top, you will be there to stay, and it won’t be easy for others to take a shortcut and pay to get the same results.
PPC: You Want to Gain BI Insights
PPC ads are a great source of insights, both on the effectiveness of copy and structure, as well as on the types of keywords that convert the best and bring the highest ROI.
All this information can later be used to design better offers and optimize your overall performance.
As you can see from the scenarios listed above, there is no definitive answer on which approach is better for your company.
In the end, what you choose to use for your business or specific campaign will depend on your overall marketing plan.
Only when you look at the big picture: your goals, types of offerings, and your prospects (their behavior and habits when using the web) – you will be able to make an informed decision on what is best to use for the current situation.