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SEO Vs. PPC – Which One’s Better?

seo vs ppc

There’s no denying that the world of digital marketing is complicated.
And that definitely extends to the question of SEO vs. PPC.
However, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
And, more often than not, it’s not a question of SEO vs. PPC, but rather one of SEO or PPC.
Let’s look at SEO vs. PPC, and which one’s best for you.

SEO vs. PPC – The KlickSense Guide

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing your website’s visibility to gain organic traffic through search engines like Google, and Bing.
It usually consists of four areas, namely:

Keyword research

The process of finding and using the terms people search for to increase the chances of people finding your site.

On-page SEO

Combined with keyword research, this is the process of creating optimised content on your site which adds value to readers.

Off-page SEO

Efforts you make off of the site (such as PR outreach) to increase trust and authority from other sites.

Technical SEO

The backend admin that ensures crawlers can get to (and through) your site quickly and effectively.

Pros of SEO

Staying Power

Organic traffic is long-standing, and means that you could afford to miss a blog or two if your traffic is high enough without seeing a drop-off.

Cheaper Long-term

Since SEO doesn’t require a constant budget allocation, it’s cheaper to maintain.

Funnel Stage Targeting

SEO allows you to figure out what a user is trying to do when searching for a keyword, which determines where they are in the sales funnel.
That means you can create content that’s applicable at every stage in the funnel, ultimately making it easier to reach more people.

Cons of SEO

It Takes Time

It’s no secret that SEO isn’t an overnight process. It can take anywhere between 3 – 6 months (often longer) to see ranking changes, and for site improvements to reflect.

It Requires Authority & Uniqueness

At its core, the biggest factor that determines a site’s score is how much value its content adds to a visitor.

Google’s E-E-A-T update placed more emphasis on the importance of having expertise and authority when publishing content, which shows the importance it places on good, fresh content.

It Requires Skill & Expertise

SEO isn’t impossible to do alone, but it’s certainly not easy.
Ensuring every aspect of SEO is in shape at all times is a time-consuming venture, and it’s often a good idea to invest in an SEO expert, which means you have another expense to consider.

When Should I Use SEO?

If your main source of revenue is a website, you should be focusing on consistent SEO efforts to ensure you’re visible to search engines and users.

What Is PPC?

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a type of search engine marketing where an advertiser bids on certain keywords, and pays a certain amount for every click they get from that keyword.
It consists of four main areas, namely:

Keyword Research

Like SEO, PPC also requires research into phrases your users are searching for.

Bid Setting

This is the process of deciding how much you want to pay for a specific keyword.

Ad Creation

This is the process of creating the visual and copy components that you’ll upload to run as ads.

Audience Targeting

This is the process of choosing who sees your ad.

Pros of PPC

It’s Fast

With PPC, you’re likely to see results almost instantly, meaning you can see how campaigns perform early on.

Appears Above Organics

The first 3 results in searches are paid ads. 

That means that you’ll land on the first page for a chosen keyword almost immediately.

A/B Testing

With PPC, you can run two similar ads at the same time.
That means you have the opportunity to tweak ads to see exactly what’s performing well, and what isn’t.

Cons of PPC

It’s Expensive

PPC requires money.
Without a dedicated budget, your ads won’t run.
That means it requires a constant flow of money to ensure it keeps going.

Lower Profit Margins

While PPC brings lots of short-term wins, it usually results in lower profit margins.
Because it’s a pay-to-play system, your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) will increase as you go along, with a profit margin that’ll only slightly increase.

Stagnates After A While

Paid ads are restricted by the platform they’re on.
The result is that you could have ads with copy that’s very similar to your competitors, ultimately meaning your ads could get passed over.

When Should I Use PPC?

If you’re looking for quick returns, and you’re willing to pay for it, then PPC is what you need.

SEO Vs. PPC

As we can see, PPC and SEO both have very different functions, and serve different purposes.
So asking if you should choose PPC or SEO is like asking if you want a fork or spoon.
Both work, but it depends entirely on your situation.

If you:

  • Have a low budget
  • Want to build brand authority
  • Want to maximise long-term ROI
  • Want to reach every stage of the funnel

Then you’ll want SEO.

If you:

  • Want quick results
  • Have a novel or first-of-its-kind product
  • Have a time-sensitive offer
  • Want to direct your audience to sales pages

Then you’ll want PPC.

Conclusion

The best way to grow isn’t to use only SEO or PPC, but rather to combine the two.
It’ll allow you to create a holistic approach to your target audience, and ultimately lead to better results in the short and long term.

Does SEO Impact PPC?

Yes! There are studies that have found that SEO can have a direct impact on PPC results.

Does SEO Require Money?

Yes! However, most agencies will only charge a set-up fee and a monthly maintenance fee to ensure everything’s in order.

Does SEO Have Cost-Per-Click (CPC)?

No. Unlike PPC, SEO doesn’t have cost-per-click.