SEO vs. PPC: Pros, Cons, Differences & Which is Better for Your Business

SEO vs. PPC: Pros, Cons, Differences & Which is Better for Your Business

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves optimizing your web site and its content to boost its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or phrases. This is often done using a variety of techniques, like keyword analysis, on-page optimization, and link building. The goal of SEO is to draw in organic traffic to your web site from search engines, instead of paying for traffic through advertising.

Pay Per Click (PPC), on the other hand, involves inserting ads on search engine results pages or on web sites and paying for every click on those ads. With PPC, you produce ads and bid on specific keywords or phrases, and your ads are seen within the sponsored results section of the SERP once somebody searches for those keywords.

Now, let’s discuss a few reasons why SEO might be a better choice for your business than PPC:

  1. Long-term results: One of the biggest advantages of SEO is that it will give you long-term results, whereas PPC is more of a short-term strategy. With SEO, you’re boosting your website’s visibility and ranking in search engines. This will generally take some time to accomplish, however, once you reach a high ranking, you can expect to receive a continual stream of organic traffic to your web site for as long as it exists. This can be particularly valuable for businesses that have an extended sales cycle or that expect repeat customers because SEO creates consistent traffic and sales over longer periods of time.

    PPC, on the other hand needs constant investment to keep showing your results in search engine results. Whereas it may be efficient to drive traffic and sales within the short-run, the results of a PPC campaign are usually restricted to a specific time period because once you stop paying for ads, your traffic will almost certainly decrease.

  1. Cost-effectiveness: SEO can be more cost-effective than PPC in the long run. While the initial investment in SEO may be higher, the ongoing costs are typically lower than those of PPC. With PPC, you have to pay for each click on your ads whether anyone buys or not. This can add up quickly, particularly if you’re bidding on competitive keywords. With SEO, you’re not paying for every click so the overall price is usually lower.

    The cost-effectiveness of SEO may also be further improved by specializing in long-tail keywords which are more specific and less competitive short-tail keywords. Whereas the traffic generated by long-tail keywords may be lower, it’s usually a lot more targeted and can usually be expected to end up in more, or better, conversions.

  2. Greater believability and trust: Folks tend to trust organic search results over paid ads, thus ranking well in organic search results will increase believability and trust for your web site and business. Once somebody sees your web site ranking at the highest levels of the SERP, they’re probably going to see your business as reputable and authoritative. This can be especially important for businesses that are just starting out or that are trying to establish themselves in a new or competitive market, as building credibility and trust can be key to attracting customers and building a strong brand.

    With PPC, folks tend to be more skeptical of a business that has paid for ads, as they understand just about anyone can pay for an ad. This can make it more difficult to establish credibility and trust, and may make it harder to convert visitors into customers.

  3. More targeted traffic: SEO will attract more targeted traffic to your web site. When someone searches for a specific keyword or phrase, it’s likely that they are looking for something specific and are further along in the buying process. This means they are more likely to convert into customers once they arrive on your website and find what they seek.

    This targeted traffic may be particularly valuable for businesses that have a small audience or that provide specialized merchandise or services (think high-end or luxury products). By targeting specific keywords and phrases through SEO, you’ll attract guests who are more likely to have an interest in your business and are more likely to convert into customers.

  4. Greater ROI: In many cases, SEO will give you better return on investment (ROI) as compared to PPC. This is because the traffic you receive from SEO is usually more targeted and more likely to convert visitors into customers. With PPC, you will obtain a lot of clicks that don’t always end in conversions, which usually eats away at your ROI. Additionally, the long-term nature of SEO can help to generate a consistent stream of traffic and sales over time, which can further improve the ROI of your efforts. This can be especially valuable for businesses that have a long sales cycle or that rely on repeat customers.

CONCLUSION: It’s worth noting that SEO and PPC are not mutually exclusive, and it’s possible to use both approaches as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. However, for some businesses, SEO may be the better option, particularly if you are looking for long-term results, cost-effectiveness, credibility and trust, targeted traffic, and a strong ROI.

For most small businesses, SEO is also a more manageable and intuitive choice, particularly if you’re already making the investment in a new WordPress web site. On the other hand, PPC may be good choice if you need a quick hit of traffic or have a large budget and need traffic very fast.

Ultimately, the best approach for your business will depend on your specific goals, budget, and target audience, as well as the nature of your products or services and the competitive landscape of your industry. By carefully considering these factors and weighing the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC, you can determine the best strategy for your business.

Take a look at our SEO pricing guides to have a chat about your SEO goals and strategy. Also be sure to check out our WordPress Website Design services and our WordPress website monthly maintenance and security service where we will not only keep your site safe, but also update and backup your WordPress Website for you. It’s like having your own in-house Web team, but at a fraction of the cost.

Stephen Parker
Stephen Parker

I started building and managing Web and online projects for Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies in Denver, CO in 1997. In the 2000s, I used that experience to run digital strategy, Web, SEO, social media, reputation management, and crisis management campaigns in Chicago, IL for high-profile clients including: American Medical Association, Pfizer, Rush Oak Park Hospital, Chicago Cubs, The Carter Foundation, University of Chicago, Earth Hour, J.B. Pritzker, and countless others. In 2007, I opened my own WordPress Web design, search engine optimization (SEO), and online strategy agency. Some of my clients are just launching their businesses and find that they don’t have the time (or interest) to build or maintain a WordPress Website themselves. Others are growing and need help, but find that they cannot afford a large digital agency or PR firm. That's where I come in.

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