Wednesday, 25 April 2018 06:30

Which Is Better: SEO Or PPC?

As digital marketers, we get this question all the time. Each time we speak to someone who is wondering about the best marketing tactics to drive traffic to their website, our answer is always the same: “It depends.” In order to choose the most effective tactic to complement a marketing strategy, one must take into consideration a number of different aspects of the company's current situation.

How Do You Choose Between SEO and PPC?

We start by narrowing down a couple of the major factors to help our clients get the most out of their marketing budget. There are three key questions we ask:

  1. What is your budget?

  2. How competitive is your CPC market?

  3. How competitive are the SERPs in your market?

With a little research, we can help our clients navigate the marketing landscape and start driving meaningful traffic to their website.

Understanding Your Options

Search engine marketing falls into two main categories: SEO and PPC. You often hear these buzzwords thrown around when people are discussing digital marketing, but having a better understanding of what each does and how it can impact your overall reach can help you make the right decision on how you spend your marketing budget.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving rankings on search engine results pages to drive organic traffic. Traffic from SEO is technically free, in the sense that you are not charged when a user clicks on your site in the SERP. However, upwards of 65 percent of clicks go to the top five organic results – and that does not take into consideration the number of clicks that go to the paid ads at the top of the SERP or the search queries that do not result in a click at all – so building the awareness and high-rankings does take time, effort, and, in many cases, money.

PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is the process of utilizing programs like Google AdWords to bid on keywords. These ads are the sponsored results that appear at the top and bottom of the SERP. You bid on targeted keywords and pay only when the results are clicked on. Keywords costs can range from a dollar or two per click to upwards of $50 per click, depending on the specific industry.

So...SEO or PPC?

Both PPC and SEO have their benefits and drawbacks. Choosing one over the other depends entirely on what your goals are.

Benefits of SEO

  • High-ranking organic results can improve your credibility among consumers

  • Long-term return on investment can be higher

  • A sustainable tactic that when maintained can be highly effective over time

  • The scope of rankings is much wider with strategic SEO

Drawbacks of SEO

  • Long-term process that takes time to develop and show results

  • Requires ongoing maintenance with expertise in the execution

  • Algorithms change over time and require adjustment to strategy

Benefits of PPC

  • Immediate results when the campaign is activated

  • Highly specific targeting capabilities

  • A/B testing options to improve the effectiveness of campaigns

  • Flexible budgeting with tight control

Drawbacks of PPC

  • Can be expensive and requires ongoing investment

  • Clicks don't confirm conversion

  • Short-term solution – when you stop putting money in, the ads stop

An Integrated Strategy

While both of these marketing tactics can be used on their own, they are exponentially more effective with used strategically in tandem with one another. The data you gather from your PPC campaigns regarding keywords and A/B testing results can be fed into your organic campaigns to improve the overall success. You are also able to increase visibility and authority in your niche market by appearing in organic and paid SERPs.

An integrated search strategy is the ideal approach for increasing visibility and driving traffic to your website to ultimately converting potential customers into loyal ones.


If you're interested in developing a more robust search engine marketing campaign, contact the search experts at FiG Advertising + Marketing for a consultation today.