SEO vs PPC – Which One Is Best For Your Business?

Confused about SEO or PPC and don’t know which one you should focus on for your business? The infamous topic regarding which traffic generation method is better has been covered hundreds of times, however, with 4 years of digital marketing experience I’ve decided to give my 2 cents on this topic.

Written by:
Carlos Miskinis

Written by:
Carlos Miskinis

If you’re curious about search engine optimization, pay per click advertising or digital marketing in general, you’ve probably read dozens of articles on the never-ending topic of` which traffic generation method is the best for generating revenue for your business online. As a digital marketer who has been actively learning internet marketing for 4 years, my primary focus has always been helping companies grow their business via SEO. However, I never ignore the effectiveness of PPC advertising.

Rather than taking sides and gravitating towards one end of the spectrum, I am going to do my personal best and explain the most important distinctions between PPC and SEO you need to know, to make an educated decision about which traffic generation method you should focus on more.

 

No Size Fits All

Before you choose sides, it is important to understand that there’s no 1 ultimate traffic generation method out there. Businesses who are successful at achieving growth online, do not depend on 1 single angle. They diversify and avoid “putting their eggs in one basket”. This allows them to be present on every single web platform their customers visit. However, they all have 1 thing in common…they’ve built a foundation. Meaning, that if you want to avoid draining your marketing budget inefficiently, you must choose and stick to 1 traffic generation method only and make it work first, before expanding to other mediums.

Now, since that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the main distinctions between PPC and SEO…

Why SEO?

Highest CVR and CTR

 

Before I confuse you with nerdy marketing metric abbreviations, Conversion Rate (CVR) defines the rate at which your business is capable of converting traffic (e.g. clicks, views & visits) to paying clients or customers. Clickthrough Rate (CTR) defines the rate of the clicks (traffic) your website (and other web properties included e.g. ads & videos) receives during a specific timeframe.

The main reason why I love SEO is because you don’t need to create demand from scratch. What do I mean by that? Unless you’re selling underwater basket weaving courses online or engage in promoting other products or services that have no market for them, there’s guaranteed demand for what your business has to offer in the search engines.

How Come? The main goal of a search engine is to present an answer to a query. In simple words, people are already searching for what you have to offer. Compared to running Ads on social media and trying to come up with click-bait titles, that will hopefully, make people give 1-2 minutes of their time to consider buying what you are selling, all you have to do on Google is put yourself in front of people who already are looking for what your business offers. Moreover, if you manage to rank in the top 3 organic positions on Google using SEO, your website is bound to attract the highest amount of clicks compared to paid Google listings, getting your business the biggest piece of the pie.

Free Long-Term Traffic…is it free though?

 

SEO is an investment. There’s no question about that. It requires time, capital and resources you must dedicate before you get your ROI back. However, compared to paid advertising, which forces you to pay for every click to your landing page, once you outrank your competitors and are dominating the nr.1 positions for your keywords on Google, you have the luxury of predictably pulling in highly converting leads, that are already looking for what you offer, without paying for the traffic in the long-term.

Imagine no longer being forced to pay for clicks, impressions, views or conversions. When your business shows up for every single keyword your prospects use to find your products or services online and especially when you’re acquiring that traffic for free, you have built a solid foundation which you can rely on – no matter what other traffic generation methods you will use, you’ll always have a reliable source of income that was built using SEO and the search engines.

Let me preface this by saying that I have no problems with SEO agencies who structure their SEO services as ongoing. Meaning, that they continue to charge their clients even when they are fully ranked, as long as this type of deal structure makes sense to the client. There are instances where companies get themselves in a scenario where they have to pay for SEO as long as they want to be ranked, hence the weird question in the title of this section. However, this entirely depends on the agreement between you and the SEO expert/agency you’re hiring.

From my personal view, it does not make sense for companies to keep paying after they are ranked. Because of the way I structure my offer and my business model, my clients only pay for the work that is needed to get their websites nr.1 for their most important keywords that bring them the most business. After my clients are ranked and once they’re generating stable business from my efforts, I let them go, allowing them to make substantial ROI back and continue generating leads. This is what makes SEO so profitable for businesses in the long run.

SEO is Hard and It Takes Time

 

But that’s the beauty of it! If you have a paid Ad campaign that is working, there’s nothing stopping your competition from finding your exact advert, replicating its copy, targeting and ethically start stealing your traffic the next day – try doing that with SEO. If it took your website 10 months to rank, you can bet that it will take the same amount of time for your competitors to catch up…if they know what they’re doing in the first place.

A lot of business owners shy away from search engine optimization just because it takes time and is costly in the beginning – I consider that a positive not only due to the reason explained above, but also because of this: if you’re planning to be in business for at least 1-2 more years and have the budget to invest in SEO, you’re building an “online fortress” around your business that’s constantly pulling in the biggest amount of market share because the #1 organic result on Google generates the biggest amount of traffic a specific keyword has to offer – nobody can replicate that (aka break through the defenses of your “online fortress”) without months of resources and work.

Why PPC?

Works For Businesses With a Low Marketing Budget

 

Depending on how competitive your niche is and how you structure your campaigns, running paid Ads on Google or Facebook doesn’t require a big investment to start getting traffic. If you haven’t engaged in any advertising efforts online, the complexity of creating a paid Ad campaign will not daunt you at all – it is rather simple. Therefore, if you’re not concerned about split testing your Ad copy, creating lookalike audiences or narrowing down your targeting to optimize your campaigns, PPC is a very reasonable way to start learning the basics of advertising your business online.

Gain Traction More Quickly

 

If you’re a product based business or a startup that is still trying to enter the market, paid Ads can give you an immense leverage in terms of generating traffic as soon as possible to experience results. Compared to SEO, social media or Google Ads do not take months to start running as the Ads themselves are often approved within hours – this allows you to get as many prospects to your landing page as soon as possible and find out what works before investing into long-term strategies such as search engine optimization.

A/B Split Test Faster

 

Contrary to service-based businesses that do not require a lot of campaign testing compared to product-based companies (e.g. e-commerce), PPC can be a great traffic generation source that allows you to test your Landing Pages, Ad copy and Offer to craft an angle for your marketing efforts that produce the best results. Compared to a long-term solution such as search engine optimization which can take months to accomplish, if your business is still in the early stages of development, simply buying traffic and paying for clicks will help your company tailor your online funnels faster, gaining more insights and data regarding what will work best for your product or service.

Find New Marketing Avenues

 

The biggest con SEO has is that it is only limited to the search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.) whilst PPC advertising encompasses a huge plethora of web platforms you can capitalize on to consistently reach your ideal customer audience you want to target. Although you should always try to figure out your buyer persona and research where exactly your ideal customers spend the most of their time online first, PPC advertising allows you to expand to different digital platforms, allowing you to discover new marketing angles online you can use to reach a bigger portion of your market.

What Is The Conclusion?

Building a foundation which allows you to have a consistent way of generating new leads with SEO and combining it by expanding to new online mediums via PPC will be extremely powerful because you won’t be limited by the search engines only. Combining SEO with PPC allows you to consistently stay in front of your ideal customer whether it would be appearing in the top 3 results for search queries in the search engines, or always “haunting” your ideal prospects with retargeting Ads on social media platforms, apps or other web properties they spend the most time on.