SEO and PPC can be easy for a beginner to confuse – after all, they both bring traffic to your website from a search engine. Aside from that, they are two different tools with unique benefits that are best used in different ways. If you’re comparing SEO vs PPC and wondering which will be best for your business, this article will help you understand both and determine which to use and when.
SEO vs PPC – Differences at a glance
Here’s an easy to process overview of the differences between search engine optimization and pay per click.
|How traffic is acquired||Organic (unpaid) search traffic||Paid search / other paid traffic|
|Main advantage||Creates authority and long-term gains||Brings you targeted traffic quickly for short term wins|
|Main disadvantage||Can take up to 6 months to see results if starting from scratch||Expensive, only works as long as you’re pumping dollars into it|
|Main difficulty||Competition, staying up to date with latest search engine policies||Competition, staying up to date with latest ad platform policies|
|Skill Level Required||Advanced skills required (especially in a competitive niche)||Basic skills required (you may need to hire a copywriter, otherwise PPC is fairly quick to grasp)|
|Investment Required||Significant, but should more than pay for itself over time||Significant and constant, can pay for itself quickly|
|Quality of Traffic||Ideal||Slightly less ideal (highly targeted but can be subject to click fraud and other issues)|
Now that we’ve taken a broad look at what makes SEO and PPC different and similar, let’s examine each of them closely.
What is SEO?
SEO is the process of attracting organic (unpaid) traffic from search engines such as Google and Bing. It is called Search Engine Optimization because the process can be viewed as a series of optimizations that must be made to the content and the website it lives on. Many SEO professionals assert that their trade boils down to content and links, however social signals and many other factors are also at play.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to bring your website targeted traffic over time. Unlike other methods of attracting visitors, SEO tends to have a compounding effect. The more authority your website gains, the more traffic it will get, which will give it more credibility and authority, and so on and so forth.
But the actual number of visitors to your website is not the only benefit of SEO. Having strong domain authority comes with a number of advantages, including the fact that people will perceive you as an authority in your niche. Paid advertising does not include these types of innate benefits.
What is PPC?
PPC refers to Pay Per Click advertising. Most ad networks and social media platforms offer per-click pricing models. So do Search Engine Marketing solutions such as those included in Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing ads).
PPC does not come with as many inherent benefits as SEO. It can also get expensive, especially when sustained over time. However there are few methods which can bring you targeted traffic as quickly as PPC. Depending on the product or service you’re marketing, you may want to run your ads on a social media platform, a search engine, or a display network.
Why is PPC important?
Pay Per Click advertising can be used a number of ways. One of the most straightforward is to drive traffic to an offer which will earn you significantly more than you’re spending on ads. However, PPC is also a powerful tool for list building and conversion optimization.
PPC complements other forms of marketing well because of this versatility. For example, PPC actually pairs very well with SEO. If you’re working on attracting compounding traffic via organic search, you can get things moving initially with PPC and use it to test and optimize your landing pages, sales pages, and other parts of your sales funnel. Using PPC for conversion optimization can help you get the most out of your SEO once it starts bringing you more visitors.
How to get started with SEO
Unless you’re planning on investing some serious time to studying the trade, you will most likely want to hire an SEO agency. While the cost of SEO can be intimidating, a good agency will start with market research and move onto more specific niche, topic, and keyword research only after confirming that your website has the potential to be lucrative. If you want to take the DIY route, you should follow the same best practices.
How to get started with PPC
If you just want to create a few ads with a specific goal in mind, it may be best for your budget to run them yourself. Most advertising platforms (including Facebook ads, Google, and Microsoft) provide a robust suite of free training to anyone who signs up for an account. These courses are often overlooked, but in most cases they can be used to gain an understanding of how to run PPC ads.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to spend a large budget on ads and seriously scale your efforts, it is probably worth hiring a marketing agency. There are many businesses and experts that specialize in PPC advertising whose knowledge and experience will increase your return on investment.
Which should you use: SEO or PPC?
Hopefully the information outlined above has already given you an idea about the pros and cons of SEO vs PPC. If you need more assistance, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. 2Marketing will be happy to help you work out which form of marketing will be most effective for your unique needs.
The truth is that there is no “winner” between SEO and PPC. Most websites will benefit from both at different times in their development, and depending on their goals. Knowing which to use and when is one of the reasons why working with a marketing agency is such a smart choice. By consulting industry experts you can make sure your time, energy, and budget do not go to waste.
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