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Which is best for my business – SEO or PPC?

Sarah Matarazzo
Friday April 17, 2020

Both SEO and PPC are digital marketing strategies that offer immense value if done correctly, but each only work best in specific contexts, and have their own strengths and weaknesses.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach and ultimately your business needs to make an informed choice about which strategy is appropriate. Of course, it’s not an either-or situation; many brands find that a mix of SEO and PPC strategies can be effective.

Let’s take a look at the contexts in which you should use SEO or PPC.

When is SEO more effective than PPC?

If you want to get your brand exposure to a wide, qualified audience, you need to find ways to get your message in front of potential customers.

With over 3.5 billion searches a day happening on Google alone, it’s no surprise that many brands turn to SEO to generate organic traffic for their website.

SEO is often described as a “free” alternative to paid advertising like PPC, however it’s not actually free. Someone has to write the content, someone has to upload it to your site, someone has to build and run the site it’s published on, someone needs to do keyword research and monitor results, etc… it all adds up.

But, there are advantages because SEO content can continue to generate traffic and leads for your business long after it’s published, unlike PPC ads where the traffic stops the moment your stop paying for them.

People also tend to trust organic search results more than paid ones: more users click on organic results than click on paid results.

When is PPC more effective than SEO?

Whilst PPC content have lower click-through-rates (CTRs) than SEO content, when users do click on a paid piece of content it’s much more likely that they will be interested in your product. They are more likely to be qualified leads.

PPC campaigns also are much better at getting immediate results. It can take a long time for search engines to rank your content. A study by AHREFs found that the average page that ranks in the Top10 on Google is over 2 years’ old, and the ones that rank in the #1 spot are on average nearly 3 years old.

SEO also requires a bigger investment in time and expertise. High quality, SEO-ready content takes time to produce and requires a lot of skill and know-how, whereas you can get a PPC up and running fairly quickly if you know what you’re doing (although that of course requires skill and knowhow too).

Perhaps the real answer is to use some combination of both SEO and PPC?

"With over 3.5 billion searches a day happening on Google alone, it’s no surprise that many brands turn to SEO to generate organic traffic for their website."

How do you combine SEO with PPC?

SEO is a strategy that will deliver consistent, continuous traffic to your website if you implement it correctly. It should be looked at as a long-term strategy.

But what if there is a particular piece of content you want to get exposure to?

There are times when you need to take action now, and you can’t wait around for the right page of content to work its way up the search results pages and start bringing you traffic. This is where PPC can be essential: it’s highly targeted and you can direct traffic pretty much anywhere you want; from a 50-word landing page to your latest product range.

If you want to combine the wide organic exposure delivered via SEO with the targeted, fast turn around of PPC, you need to think strategically about when to use PPC and how it relates to your existing SEO efforts.

For example, you might find that your PPC campaign is performing really well; you can then integrate those high performing keywords into your SEO campaigns. Similarly, if a piece of SEO content takes off or generates lots of leads, you can push the advantage by creating a PPC campaign around the content itself, or create a landing page based on the high performing keywords.

How to get the most out of SEO and PPC strategies

When it comes to leveraging search traffic to get brand exposure, capture leads, and grow your business, both SEO and PPC both have important roles to play. The trick is to know the strengths and weaknesses of each strategy, when each one is more effective, and how they can be deployed in tandem to deliver the best results for your digital marketing.

If you want to know how you can use SEO and PPC to get the most returns from your online marketing efforts, we offer a free no-commitment initial consultation to all new clients… so get in touch today.

 

 

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