SEO vs PPC: Knowing Which Is Right for You, Website & Brand

SEO vs PPC: Knowing Which Is Right for You, Website & Brand
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You have two viable options when you want to boost traffic to your website, namely search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click advertising. Each offers respective advantages and disadvantages, but both are equally possible to bring organic traffic to your business using appropriate keywords. If you have sufficient resources to pay for your advertising campaign, pay-per-click might be the right approach for you. But if you are looking for long-term results with moderate expectations, consider investing in SEO.

You can pay for organic traffic using PPC advertising programs offered by Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing with PPC. You can display your advertising material in the sponsored result section of search engines to acquire quality leads. However, you will be charged an additional fee each time your ad campaign receives clicks from online viewers. With SEO, meanwhile, you can establish a strong online presence by improving your search ranking, which will be displayed by the search engine next to the sponsored results. You can generate more organic traffic this way as long as you follow proper SEO practices and avoid being penalized because of black hat SEO techniques.

But your final choice will likely depend on the budget and specific needs of your website. Find out in the discussion below which of the two options is better for your brand and website.

How Large is the Advertising Budget?

For some small and medium-sized enterprises, their marketing expenditures continue to grow due to the promising investment return brought by digital marketing. Today’s digital marketing budget covers several key business operations, including social media management, search campaigns, mobile, and email. Digital marketing accounts for over 35% of overall marketing cost on average for companies. According to surveys, due to perceived return of investment and greater ability to spend less for higher return, companies have become willing to allocate at least $400 to $600 per month for their content marketing needs.

Given the considerable return on investment from web-based campaigns, businesses and marketers are investing accordingly. SMEs are expected to increase their digital-based marketing budget each year. According to GetResponse, social exposure, email campaigns, and mobile marketing will be at the forefront of the digital marketing budget over the succeeding years. Companies will also allocate a separate budget for video promotion, content creation, data analysis, and website maintenance to maintain strong search engine visibility. Even some businesses now allocate a certain percentage, about 4% to 5%, of their total revenue for digital marketing alone.

How High is the Average CPC in your Industry?

The marketing budget is undeniably critical for all SMEs. Deciding where best to allocate ad funds is one of the most difficult aspects of business operations. For sure, business owners want to make the most of their marketing budget and get quality leads from ad campaigns. So they create the best ad marketing possible to generate the highest click-through rate and conversions possible. However, it is quite difficult to understand what average cost-per-click rate should be aimed at to beat out the intense competition in the industry.

Some of the essential industries that generate high cost-per-click rates include:

· Automation and software
· Consumer services
· Social interaction and dating
· B2B
· Employment services or job posting
· E-commerce
· Financing, banking, and insurance
· Legal services
· Academic services
· Healthcare services
· Home commodities
· Hospitality, travel, and accommodation

Most of the industries mentioned earlier have fairly inexpensive average cost-per-click rates, particularly in display ads, which you can find on the Google Display Network and some SEO suites. But, when it comes to search ads, expect a wide range of cost-per-clicks rates across different industries. Legal and healthcare services, for example, hold the highest cost-per-click rate by industry at $8.00 and $7.50, respectively, which is no longer surprising since legal and medical professionals are two of the most after sought search terms on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This is followed by customer services with an average cost-per-click of $6.50 and technology averaging $4.50. However, there has been no drastic increase in cost-per-click conversion rates in the last few years, so this has not been a major contributing factor to a company’s overall marketing cost.

How Competitive is your Niche in SERPs?

As online search continues to evolve from being a basic feature to a living standard of modern-day consumers, the popularity of search marketing has grown exponentially. Almost all businesses in different parts of the world, whether large corporations or brick-and-mortar stores, compete with each other, only to get a favorable position in the SERPs. But you should not wonder why large corporations are always at the top of the search results page when customers search for commercial products on the internet. These giant players have spent a large portion of their resources to generate quality inbound links, a recurring base of page visitors, and millions of enticing content. Regardless of which industry your business belongs to, you should understand that there are competitors who have previously opened a business similar to yours or have already spent part of their resources to build up their online presence and search ranking.

You must expect that the business landscape in which your business competes stays competitive at all times. Your competitors will do everything to stay on top of the SERPs. However, you can achieve that prestigious top position if you constantly update your website content with the help of a reliable SEO agency. As a small business owner, you should pay attention to niche-building, so you can further develop keywords directly related to the products and services you are offering. You may also consider engaging in a long-tail keyword strategy where you utilize less competitive keywords for maximum ranking potential. With long-tail keywords, you increase your chances of acquiring customers within a large group of people who use more specific search terms.

There is no shortcut method you can do only to get to the top of the SERPs, especially if you are up against those massive competitors lingering around. Even if you don’t reach the top spots of the SERP despite the extensive research and ad campaigns you do, you can still surpass the major players if you hit the right target using geo-targeted keywords, hyperlocal content creation, and customized social interaction.

When is it Best to Use SEO over PPC?

SEO is designed and executed to help propel a website to the first pages of search engines. Every business needs SEO since more than 80% of traffic comes from search engines, while the rest comes from display ads. There is no doubt that Google is the most widely used search engine where it can garner at least 3.5 billion searches a day, according to research. This is why SEO campaigns are mostly conformed to this search engine. Choosing SEO over PPC for your marketing initiatives depends on a number of circumstances why it is proven beneficial to your current business, which will be explained below.

When you Desire Consistent Results

The results of your SEO campaign will not become noticeable overnight or a few weeks after your website has been published. SEO takes much time to build up the credibility and online presence of your website. Once your website reaches the top of the search rankings, you can surely reap the benefits of generating high quality leads or being a top-ranking business in your industry. But remember that SEO requires consistency and continuous monitoring to ensure that your website is always on the lead. To maintain consistent results, you need to regularly update your website with best SEO practices.

To Build an Authority Site

It is beneficial for your business if your website can be considered as a resource center for a particular niche. Your business can become an authority site if you can receive page visits, inbound links, and high search rankings in a consistent manner. This only means that your website is always visited by customers because of the quality of information you are offering. But remember that the content of your website should always be kept updated since information exchange, customer behavior, and business landscape are constantly evolving each day. In addition, search engines also consider a website trustworthy when it generates a lot of clicks, inbound links, and user interaction.

Increase the Value of the Site

A website is like a virtual property that can increase in value. Once you decide to sell it, you can offer it at a premium price. SEO has the ability to boost the value of your website by garnering quality leads and high conversion rates. The market value of a website depends on several contributing factors, including generated organic traffic, link popularity, and search rank over a period of time. This is no different from typical business practices where larger corporations buy smaller enterprises that they think can become their major competitors.

When is it Best to Use PPC over SEO?

Businesses with sufficient ad funds prefer to spend on PPC marketing for faster investment return. PPC advertising is a type of advertising technique that displays a paid ad in the sponsored results section of search engines. Google, for instance, offers a PPC ad program called Google AdWords, which is designed to promote businesses and services using specific keywords. For every click you get from random users on your PPC ad campaign, you have to pay a corresponding fee to the search engine. Like SEO, the success of PPC marketing depends on the number of page visits and conversions your website will receive. Here are some of the reasons why PPC can help many online enterprises:

When Looking for Immediate Results

PPC will quickly deliver results for you, perhaps in minutes, once you’ve launched the ad campaign. You have to wait a few minutes to see the influx of online visitors to your pages. As long as you have used the correct targeted keywords and the submitted project bids are reasonable enough to merit a good priority placement, you can expect to receive quality leads and conversions in no time. Digital marketers maximize this ad program with product launches, CPA marketing, seasonal offers, event focus, and affiliate marketing.

If you are Looking for targeted traffic.

With PPC, you can easily narrow down your target audience. Online ads will be displayed based on specific keywords, demographic data, and even personal hobbies. Your audience becomes more specific since the ad material only appears to searchers looking for precise information. If you offer home improvement services, for example, your ad may appear on search terms related to real estate, construction, and home utility providers. PPC is suitable for brick-and-mortar enterprises or niche-specific businesses. Social media platforms are also suitable advertising channels because you can target certain groups of people sharing the same interest.

When Promoting a Time-Sensitive Offer

PPC is very effective in marketing copies containing time-sensitive offers. If your ad campaign contains an expiration date, PPC will allow you to receive traffic within the shortest period of time. PPC does not have a gestation period, unlike SEO, so it will not cause further delay in customer conversion. Consider adapting the PPC approach, and you will be able to generate organic traffic in no time. PPC ads are perfect when you need to move excess inventory or offer seasonal products. But you should include call-to-action phrases to help you inject a sense of urgency into your ad.

When Website is not Optimized for SEO

A website can be considered SEO-optimized when it features content that requires regular updating and auditing. SEO will require continuous page updating so that search engines may consider your website as relevant and credible. If the website is not designed for SEO, it is best to use PPC to acquire significant web traffic.

Dominate in Search Results in a Keyword Category

PPC is maximized to help businesses control the search results for a particular keyword group. PPC results are openly displayed above the organic search results, so it is not surprising why more than 50% of search traffic comes from these sponsored links. Only the top three sponsored links are displayed. Hence, the race among businesses wanting to reach the limelight is remarkably competitive.


The issue of investment return between SEO and PPC has always been a primary concern for most business owners, especially if they allocate a huge portion of their marketing budget for digital marketing. But when comparing the possibility of recouping your investment in full, you may expect it more in SEO. SEO appears more profitable because it can still generate leads and conversions even if the website was launched a long time ago. SEO has the capacity to improve certain aspects of business operations, such as brand loyalty, customer value, social impact, and image branding. If you can properly implement the SEO strategy and monitor its web performance often, you will see more promising results.

Properly-optimized URL structures and link building techniques will benefit existing web pages and new content in the future without additional workload. SEO will work in your business 24/7, acting as your digital seller for as long as your website performs well. You don’t need additional ad spend to boost your online presence since SEO itself can serve as a marketing vehicle for your brand. When your business produces stable search engine visibility in organic search results, your business may benefit a lot not just now but over the years. Not only that, once you have established your brand as an authority site, you will be considered a serious player in your industry, which will help you expand further.

SEO provides opportunities to showcase your brand’s creativity and personality, not just focusing on direct selling. Although SEO requires considerable human and financial resources, you can recoup your capital investment through long-term web exposure and customer retention. Informative blog posts, infographics, slideshows, embedded videos, and in-depth research can help promote your brand. Your return on investment in SEO will get compounded over time as you strengthen the credibility and authority of your website in your niche.


The results of PPC ad campaigns are immediate, but traffic generation stops once you stop paying. The results you get with PPC are definitely straightforward and fast, although PPC still requires keyword research, testing, campaign management, and content creation process to work. Regardless of how things will work out for your brand in the long term, there are logical reasons to consider paid search marketing over organic search ranking. It is best to use PPC if you have products or seasonal offers that you want to promote or excess inventory that needs quick disposal to reach your desired sales quota. You can also use PPC temporarily while you wait for your rigorous SEO work to deliver the goods.

Unlike SEO which produces extensive traffic data, you get straightforward data from PPC. You can have a clear picture of your PPC campaign ROI due to the laser-sharp audience targeting and quick response rate of PPC the moment you launch it. Not only is PPC data-driven as a whole, but the PPC data you get in search engines is more transparent than SEO traffic. This is why search engines can give you relevant information from your paid ads that you can capitalize on for a smooth-sailing marketing drive. You may want to target specific email contacts, video sources, users using certain keywords and long-standing URLs. You can get it straight from PPC.

Is SEO or PPC better for my Brand or Websites?

SEO is the better option if you consider long-term traffic generation, compounded ROI, and sustained conversion. SEO enables you to get creative so that you can show your brand personality and strength more efficiently than PPC. With this type of marketing initiative, you can create content marketing variations from blog posts to podcasts that will greatly help your website improve its online visibility. On the other hand, PPC is the best choice in cases where you need instant results or conduct a short-term promotion for your brand.

However, it is not necessary for you to choose between SEO and PPC to keep your brand competitive in your industry. PPC and SEO integration allows you to occupy a favorable spot in search engines. In this approach, you can boost the search engine visibility of your website while making a good brand impression. As expected, you can maximize content marketing ROI by using two result-driven strategies in your campaign.

Founder at Be Visible Media
Dale is an SEO Specialist (on-page and Off-page) and a Content Writer. A self-starter and always hungry for knowledge. In his free time, he watches TV series, scuba dive on weekends, and handles is own blog HOWPO.
Dale Basilla

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