Which is better for my business, SEO or PPC?

You know you want to drive traffic to your site, but you’re not exactly sure if you should focus on search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Deciding where to invest your time and online marketing budget can be tricky. Should you focus more on driving organic traffic through SEO?—which, aside from the investment of your time, is free. Or should you focus more on PPC and pay for the resulting traffic?

If you understand the differences between the two, the choice becomes easier to make. And depending on your specific goals,  it’s possible you may decide to focus on both.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization places your website higher in search results by making it more attractive to search engines. After a customer enters a search query, Google (or another search engine such as Bing, Yahoo, etc.) crawls the internet for content using an algorithm that ranks you depending on the quality of the content on your site, your service or product rankings, your social metrics, and many other factors.

How do you “do” SEO?

There are many things you can do to help search engines rank your site higher in search results. You can make sure your site is SEO-friendly—which involves everything from how your site is designed to how it’s written and even where else online your site is mentioned. The SEO process is free, but time-intensive when done well. This is why many businesses outsource SEO services.

If you’re looking for tips on how you or your team can improve your website’s SEO, enter your email below to download our on-page SEO one-pager.

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click is an online advertising method where advertisers pay a fee every time a user clicks on one of their ads. PPC allows you to buy increased traffic to your site rather than earning organic visits, like SEO.

How do you “do” PPC?

Simply put, PPC is an auction for ad placement. When someone searches for a keyword related to your business offering, you bid for a place in the results. Some keywords and targeted areas cost more than others, and there’s a cost associated with each click you receive. Managing the bidding process to ensure you’re receiving the best results for your budget can be very involved, which is often why businesses will also outsource PPC services.

Why is it important to show up higher in search results?

The numbers speak for themselves. Sixty-eight percent of all online experiences start with an online search and 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. Customers won’t take the time to sift through multiple pages of results. Three facts to consider:

  • The further you are from page one search results, the less traffic your site will receive.
  • If your competitors show up higher in the search results, their site is more likely to receive a prospect’s click.
  • Web users perceive sites that are higher ranked to be more credible.

When should your business use SEO?

SEO is right for you when:

  • You’re able to wait for results and seek consistent results. Getting to page one won’t happen overnight.
  • You’re looking to be an authority. If you want to be the “go to” site for a particular subject, the best way to do this is by continually building traffic to your site. And a good way to do this is by strategically planning your content with SEO in mind. 

  • You have a lower monthly budget. SEO isn’t exactly “free clicks.” There’s an opportunity cost—time. You must invest a lot of time and energy creating and promoting your content to reap the benefits.

When should your business use PPC?

PPC is right for you when:

  • You want immediate results. PPC results will improve over time, but they will also bring results within the first month. Consider PPC your fast pass to the front of the search engine results page (SERP).

  • You need to hyper target. You’re able to target searchers based on location, the time of day, the device they use, and various other factors. You can tailor your campaign to reach only the people who you know are most likely to buy.

  • You have a larger monthly budget. Unlike SEO where your only investment is your time (or what you invest in outside help), you pay for every click made from an ad. The cost per click can vary greatly depending on your specific industry. However, PPC’s ROI is more measurable than SEO. You’re able to track every click, call, or email you receive from an ad. The more you are able to invest, the greater your return.

So, which is better for your business: SEO or PPC?

Why not both? By developing a holistic strategy combining both SEO and PPC, you can improve results, increase visibility, and create credibility for your business. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and they work best when they are working together to drive greater results.

Some benefits of using both SEO and PPC include:

  • Higher organic search results can lower the cost per click for your PPC campaign
  • You’ll quickly see results while waiting for your SEO efforts to pay off
  • You won’t always be reliant on paying for traffic

We understand that budget may not always favor this approach. If you’re able to invest your time, Google provides great resources on how to be successful with PPC advertising. And if you’re having trouble implementing SEO due to a lack of expertise, a great place to start is using a plug-in such as Rankmath for WordPress. You can also download our one-sheeter below for tips to improve your site’s SEO performance.

In the end, it’s not whether SEO or PPC is better for your business, but about developing an online marketing strategy that integrates both both SEO and PPC for optimum results.

Download our On-Page SEO One-Pager

We’ve put together a really handy one-pager with some great tips on setting up SEO on your WordPress website. Simply enter your email below, hit send and you’ll get a link to download.  If you aren’t already, you’ll also be added to our bi-weekly newsletter full of tips, insights, and behind-the-scene looks at some of our favorite projects.

Thanks for your interest in our On-Page SEO Guide.

Click the link below to download the one-pager
(make sure to check your downloads folder when the download is complete).