Digital marketers see Google as a great tool to market products and services, giving special attention to SEO and PPC marketing. The latter seem to be effective ways to promote goods and attract traffic to the website. Yet, a marketer should know the difference between SEO and PPC.
In this post, you will know why people compare organic search vs paid one, what are the pros and cons of SEO and PPC, and which method is the best for your business.
Organic Search vs Paid: What matters?
Let’s start with search engine optimization (SEO). The particular term is concerned with the efforts to place the website or a page on the highest positions of Google search. The rank of the page in the search comes from many factors, starting from content, code of the page, structure, backlinks, authority, and relevance. Yes, it sounds like science that SEO experts need to do.
Unlike SEO, PPC, or price per click, is about paid advertising. What does it mean? When a user, or a prospect, searches on Google for something, they see that the first and the last search results have the icon “ad.” They are the promoted positions in SERP for which advertisers pay so that their pages are visible to the users. The TOP-3 are the ones that get the most traffic, as heatmaps on clicks and SERP show. Thus, PPC can be the only way for businesses having poor SEO to compete with the other pages in the TOP.
However, under the PPC concept, marketers pay for the users’ clicks on this ad. As a result, the marketers spend funds each time when a prospect gets to the page.
What is the difference between SEO and PPC, then? It is the price and the time needed to get the traffic to the particular website. If one needs instant traffic, PPC is likely to bring it. Yet, the price would be much higher, which is another thing to think of, especially in terms of their conversion rates.
What is the conversion rate of PPC vs SEO? For SEO, it seems higher within all the industries. In fields related to legal, financial, real estate, and medical services, the SEO conversion rates are explicitly higher than those of PPC. The difference is 2%-5%. Nonetheless, in marketing-related spheres, it is not as significant.
To pick the best option, a marketer should know more about the advantages and disadvantages of SEO and PPC marketing.
Pros and cons of SEO
SEO, being a complicated strategy, requires time and effort to set the operation right. Yet, in the long term, it offers significant growth. So, the main advantages are:
- Getting more quality leads and relevant traffic. First of all, modern SEO is about answering the inquiry of the users. Any service is to fulfill a prospect’s need or their request. In this regard, SEO should offer the answer to a user’s question in the form of a high-quality product or content backed by authority. In that manner, SEO adds to the sales funnel, bringing only interested people to your website. For this purpose, target the right keywords and offer the relevant answers.
- Possibility to be cost-effective. In terms of money, search engine optimization can be cost-effective. For sure, SEO strategy requires effort in link building. Still, there are collaborations with the platforms and free guest posting, while code changes can be made by inbound developers. Thus, SEO is not free but can cost less than PPC.
- Adding to your visibility in the long run. SEO is a specific plan for several months, sometimes even years. If you start from scratch, you will have no profit in the beginning. However, by producing the right content, with keywords in mind, you can be on the top of the ranks. That way, you can remain at the top as long as your content is relevant. At the same time, there are no guarantees.
Nonetheless, some marketers fail to produce an effective SEO strategy due to the absence of understanding and other pitfalls. Here are some of the disadvantages:
- Ongoing contribution, control, and monitoring. SEO requires experts to monitor different factors and indicators. Besides, they have to check the backlinks that contribute to website ranking on Google. If some are lost, they should be changed. It means contacting people, looking for guest blogs, and collaborating with other websites. Yet, many SEO experts use email extractors or databases to find business contacts or web admins for outreach. That way, they manage to promote the quality pieces and share their content with experts.
- Google algorithms. The rules of the SEO game have changed over time. Why? Google finds new ways to bring more relevant results to the users. The updates by Google tried to improve the ranking mechanism by affecting spam links, content quality, and page structure, to name a few. Thus, SEO experts should be ready to react accordingly to keep ranking high.
- Much time is needed. The evident growth in ranking requires time. It refers not only to looking for link-building opportunities but is concerned with the results. The first rise in ranking or traffic may be seen in several months. In this case, the important thing is to keep doing what you do. Sometimes, the results are unexpected, primarily if the Google Update affects your pages.
Pros and cons of PPC
PPC seems to offer completely different benefits due to the peculiarities of the method. First of all, PPC depends on your budget but offers certain benefits. Let’s see what they are:
- Excellent visibility and instant results. Compared to search engine optimization, PPC offers results almost instantly. How? Your ad appears in the search, either on the top or at the bottom of the page. As a result, paid traffic websites rank higher than sites that require months to achieve top positions under SEO. At the same time, the visibility depends on the quality score defining the relevancy to the user’s request.
- Flexibility and control. First of all, you can set the parameters to impact how the Google ads will be shown. It may refer to the location, for instance. Besides, you design the message displayed on the ads and have access to the landing page. That way, you have more space for experiments and tests on providing a compelling message.
At the same time, the PPC technique has certain disadvantages that make some businesses ignore it:
- High price. If you want people to visit your pages, you will need to pay. The direct, or branded, traffic will not appear instantly, meaning that you will need to support these visits for some time. At the same time, your ad should have a high-quality score and answer the user’s request. With a high score, you are likely to diminish your expenses. However, it will fall if you stop funding your campaign.
- Starting with Google ads can be challenging. There are different parameters and conditions. If you make a mistake, it can lower your score, and you will need to start again and give more funds. Thus, a marketer needs to research the issue and do some courses to do it right.
- Perception of ads. Lastly, many users are against advertising due to the lack of trust or the image of ads. Every one of us has been annoyed by them at least once. This fact supports the notion that an ad can dissuade prospects from clicking on the link. Besides, the PPC may happen to be irrelevant to the user’s inquiry, negatively affecting the perception of the brand.
SEO vs PPC: What is a Better Solution?
SEO and PPC marketing are widely used, while marketers ask themselves, “Which is better for my business?”. Before all, SEO is likely to save you more money and bring long-term results. At the same time, everything depends on the niche.
In e-commerce and entertainment, marketers seem to ignore SEO in their operation, having other more effective strategies in mind. On the contrary, for B2B companies and IT services, SEO can be a helpful tool for attracting traffic and generating leads. The primary reason is the high cost-per-click rate, meaning PPC would be too expensive.
However, is Google AdWords worth it? Yes, for sure. PPC can work. Using this technique can be a great idea if you have a large budget and want to boost your website or specific pages. Such a move can bring more leads and support sales.
SEO and PPC working together: Is it possible?
Digital specialists can use search engine marketing as a mixture of both. It is efficient when there are several landing pages designed for different audiences. Besides, it can help to retain traffic on the pages that have fallen after the update. Everything depends on your budget and the plans you have.
About the writer of this article: Elena Osipova
I’m an SEO Specialist with 5 years of experience. I am skilled in keyword research experience, technical optimization, and SERP Analysis. I know how to get leads from organic traffic and I’m happy to share this tips,