What is the Difference Between the Two Strategies?

When it comes to promoting your business, two of the most popular practices of through search engine marketing are SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click). However, you may be wondering which of the two is best suited to market your business. The answer isn’t always clear-cut, but it is an indubitable fact that the success of your business is dependent on the traffic you garner. Moreover, the traffic you generate can potentially be translated into leads and sales conversions, which is like hitting a goldmine!

For small to medium-scale businesses, it’s difficult to decide which strategy is worth investing in since both leverage search engines for the same end-goal . If done properly, SEO and PPC can be the backbone of your business, but it all depends on your business’s circumstances and goals. Therefore, it’s worth knowing the strengths and limitations between these two strategies.

What are the pros and cons of SEO?

In essence, SEO aims to improve your website’s ranking on search engines by generating traffic through organic, or non-paid, means. In fact, according to Marketing Charts, 59% of B2B marketers say SEO has paved the way to their lead generation goals. With the help of SEO tactics, it’s all about producing creative and useful content accompanied with a strong strategic approach to improve your website’s visibility. Don’t miss out on some of the merits that businesses can experience from a well-executed SEO strategy!

How can SEO benefit your business?

The search engine powerhouses – Google, Yahoo, and Bing – widens your website exposure to your target audience. Search engines offer a wide range of solutions that users are looking for; there are over 3 billion Google searches made at this very moment. When users find what they need, about 51% of it is through organic search results. In order to improve your visibility and traffic, it’s all about the power of keywords, composing meaningful content, and creating a well-optimized site. Optimizing for the keywords that are most relevant to search queries allows you to attract more of the visitors that matter most to your business. Creating meaningful content with keywords also attracts visitors who may be looking to learn more about a specific subject or product. Making sure your site runs smoothly and is clear and organized helps to produce a good experience that can keep visitors on your site for longer periods of time.

Search engine optimization also helps to distinguish your niche target audience, allowing you to potentially cater to someone with specific needs or wants. For example, large businesses such as Best Buy can use generalized terms like “computer monitor”. Since it doesn’t mention any of the desired computer specs, Best Buy exposes users of their wide selection of what they offer. However, local businesses can provide specific needs in a given community. Therefore, small or even medium-scale businesses can benefit from using long-tail (more detailed) keywords. Although it doesn’t provide as much volume as short-tail (general) keywords, it’s more targeted and less competitive.

SEO improves ROI (Return on Investment)

Because SEO yields quantifiable results, your efforts can be analyzed and measured through analytics tools. From monitoring your traffic to keeping an eye on conversions, SEO provides you the ability to understand and improve on your marketing strategy. You can use your engagement metrics to see how users interact with your website. For example, if your company is selling products and services, you can check which keywords or key phrases users are searching in order to find your product. Analytics tools also allow you to track how many visitors come to your site, how long they stay, and what kinds of actions they perform when on your site. The ability to track your metrics (like bounce rates, conversion rates, visitors) will allow you to adjust your strategy in order to create a successful marketing strategy that positively affects your bottom line.

SEO brings heightened potential for conversions, sales, and leads

The goal in optimizing your web page is to attract more visitors and turn them into customers. When someone visits your website, you may want them to purchase a product or join your email listing. Once a customer completes a desired action, they contribute to your goal. A well-optimized site that has quality content, fast loading speed and good structure (titles, headers, navigation) are crucial in generating conversation.

SEO expands brand awareness

The credibility of your brand is dependent on the links people click on when they are looking for solutions through search queries. Being on the higher ranking of the search engine results pages (SERPs) does not only result in a greater amount of significant traffic – it translates to greater exposure of your business. Typically, when websites land on the first page on search engines, people tend to instill trust and credibility due to the ranking. You can build trust and credibility by using industry experts to create content and by earning backlinks from other relevant and reputable sites.

Most importantly, SEO is cost-effective

SEO is considered to be one of the most cost-effective strategies in digital marketing. Since SEO relies on organic (un-paid) results, the majority of strategies are created in-house. Also, tools that analyze metrics like keyword research, content creation and more, can be relatively inexpensive. Investing in various SEO tools mostly requires time and patience. It’s important to remember that SEO doesn’t produce results right away and in fact can take months to establish.

Now we know what the advantages are, what are some of the disadvantages?

It’s a time-consuming process.

As mentioned before, SEO is an art which requires a significant amount of cumulative groundwork before you begin to see results. After all of the diligence you put into your marketing plan, you’ll need to have patience since results aren’t produced overnight. Because it takes a considerable amount of time to generate results, your ROI will also take a while. Therefore, SEO may not be the best marketing strategy if you are looking to find immediate results. It’s also worth mentioning that if an agency mentions guaranteed quick results, be completely cautious of them. Chances are, they could be using black hat SEO techniques which are damaging tactics that can negatively affect your website in the long-run.

You don’t have complete control over SEO.

SEO can sometimes be unpredictable. No one really knows how search engine algorithms work behind the scenes and despite your efforts, you’re not immediately guaranteed to land on the first page in the SERPs. What you think affects your search rankings may deliver unexpected results that were not your intended goal. Only search engines know the algorithm, therefore, you can sometimes be at their mercy.

All about PPC - Pros and Cons

As opposed to SEO, PPC is reliant on paid advertisements to generate traffic to your website. In fact, according to another source, an average of 46% of the clicks go to the top 3 ads on the SERPs. With PPC, you can run your ads and the amount you will pay depends on how many people clicked on your ad. For some companies, they choose PPC over SEO due to its immediate results, but of course there’s more to what PPC offers. There are many platforms to execute this, however, the most popular amongst most businesses is Google Ads and Bing ads. Before delving into your campaign, let’s explore more to find out if PPC is the right fit for your business!

What are the advantages of PPC?

You have more control on your ads

In a PPC campaign, you don’t have to wait for results until its completion since real-time data is now at your fingertips. PPC allows for far more control and more space for delivering your marketing messages. With a wide array of options in order to reach your target audience, you can perform tweaks on what appears on your ad, filter which channels you’d like your campaign to be published, and select the keywords you want to incorporate. Not only will PPC provide you with that luxury, but you also have budget flexibility. In other words, you can test the waters by starting with a small budget before capitalizing on the opportunity. Once your campaign proves to be a profitable asset, you can always increase your budget higher.

There is no need to worry about algorithms

When dealing with SEO, you always need to be on a constant lookout for algorithm changes to prevent your website from being penalized. Moreover, both SEO and the search algorithms work hand-in-hand, but they’re reliant on website rankings. On a positive note with PPC, all you really need to do is ensure your campaign runs successfully without having to worry about algorithmic changes.

You have extensive targeting options

Because you have so much control on your campaign, that gives you the opportunity to ensure full coverage across all platforms as well as gaining brand exposure to a greater scope. By selecting specific demographics, certain locations, time zones, and targeting customers with particular interests, you provide an extended reach to all customers.

There are testing capabilities involved

With PPC, you have a lot of room for experimentation to see whether your ideas will become a success or needs improvement through A/B testing (also known as split testing). Whether you’re trying to raise awareness or convert more leads, split testing allows you to compare two versions to see which ads perform better. When you’re conducting your A/B testing, always test one at a time and make sure your tests long run enough to collect enough results.

PPC helps to guide you towards your business goals

From online exposure, brand authority, lead conversions, to other engagement metrics, PPC catalyzes your business to accomplish so many goals. Moreover, PPC is trackable and measurable, making it readily available to see which ads are the most effective. With the goals you are trying to achieve, PPC campaigns can be catered to help you meet your end-goal.

What are the drawbacks of PPC?

Can be a pricey route

When you’re using PPC as part of your marketing mix, be careful with your spending. You could be at a risk of losing your income if your campaign is not executed properly. Therefore, it’s essential to do keyword research beforehand so that you don’t advertise unprofitable keywords. Also, you’re bound to spend more if you’re involved in a competitive industry or if you’re in a bidding war over keywords. Lastly, if you want to sustain a long-term PPC strategy, you will continue to spend money. That’s because you get charged every time someone clicks on your SERP listing. If you want to increase your traffic over the long term and stay at the top, you’ll be paying a lot just to stay visible on Google. Once you stop paying, you quickly disappear from the top.

In PPC there are a lot of variables involved

Implementing PPC is not always easy, especially if you are foreign to executing it into your campaign. There are many variables that you need to keep an eye out and you need to ensure your settings are perfect throughout. Although it can be a complex process, it’s definitely worth the time and effort needed to learn how to maximize your ad.

Visibility doesn’t always equate to conversions

Although you may get substantial traffic, it doesn’t always mean that the traffic translate into conversions. For your campaign to work, it’s recommended for you to conduct split tests, especially on your landing pages. One of the other strategies you can use is remarketing, which allows you to position your ads to target people who have visited your website before.

Conclusions and thoughts

Choosing SEO or PPC is determined on what your business goals are. SEO can be beneficial if you want to organically achieve a higher rank in search engine results pages over time by improving your website from the inside out. However, if you desire immediate results or need to generate more visibility quickly, PPC is the right strategy for you. Understanding the merits and drawbacks of both digital marketing strategies is important before bringing your marketing plan to life.

Both strategies are significant in their own way. Perhaps it’s worth integrating the two practices as your optimal approach. Overall, you can test your keyword strategy in PPC before delving into SEO and have confidence in gaining both organic and paid visibility. There are many possibilities for you to optimize your website, and it’s never too late to start now.

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