Pay Per Click Vs. Search Engine Optimization
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How To Drive Visitors To Your Website: SEO Or PPC?

However, there’s also that ongoing debate about whether PPC or SEO is actually the better channel. Depending on who you ask, the answer might be very different. An expert might have told you that SEO is going to be really big after the COVID-19 crisis, while another guru might say that PPC is the next big thing.

So, which one is correct? Is one of them significantly better than the other or are they more or less the same? Here, we will try to answer those questions. First, let us discuss the most basic difference between the two.

PPC Vs. SEO: The Philosophy

Before we discuss anything else, it’s important to understand that the case of PPC vs. SEO, or any paid vs organic campaign in general, is the case of cost vs. time.

That is, SEO (or any organic campaign) is more affordable and can be totally free. For example, growing your organic followers on Instagram is certainly free. However, it will take some time (which can be a very long time) before you see significant results from these organic campaigns. In the case of SEO, it can take at least 6 to 12 months or more before you get the desirable results.

PPC ads and any other paid advertising, on the other hand, can virtually guarantee short-term results, provided you have the money to pay for the ad placement. However, placing these ads can be very expensive if you are not careful.

So, in implementing both PPC and SEO, it is actually about finding the right balance between the two to get the best results in the shortest possible time without breaking the bank.

After we’ve understood this concept, let us delve deeper into each of them.

Pros And Cons Of SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essentially a series of optimization on your site to improve its ranking on Google’s SERP. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of SEO over the PPC ads.

Pros:

  • Implementing SEO for startups, as mentioned, is more affordable than PPC ads and can be totally free. So, when done correctly, it will have a much higher ROI.
  • 86% of users trust organic search results more than PPC or any advertising. When your site appears on the top of the SERP, it can significantly boost your credibility.
  • SEO generates higher-quality traffic and leads to your website. While we can implement highly targeted ads, it can be much more expensive.
  • SEO results are more sustainable. When your site is positioned on the first page of Google SERP, you get a source of organic traffic for years to come.
  • When done correctly, SEO can improve your credibility and authority. This can help you create a stronger online presence. In turn, this can significantly help in boosting your revenue.

Cons:

  • Time. SEO, as mentioned, can take a long time before you see significant results. Also, implementing SEO by itself can take a lot of time, especially if it involves a major website overhaul.
  • Vulnerable to algorithm changes. Google and the other search engines are actively changing their algorithms, and when they do, the changes might affect your SEO efforts in a negative way.

Pros And Cons Of PPC

Similarly, below are the advantages and disadvantages of PPC ads over SEO.

Pros:

  • Instant results. Once your PPC ad campaign is running (assuming you run it properly), you’ll start to see traffic coming and also more conversions. SEO, as mentioned, need months or more before you see results.
  • You have more control over PPC. You set your budget, and you can estimate how many leads and how much revenue you’ll get in return. So, you can pretty accurately estimate an accurate budget for your digital marketing. Also, if you increase the budget, you can also scale the results. SEO, on the other hand, is more abstract.
  • You don’t have to worry about the changes in the search engine’s algorithm. Again, you have more control compared to SEO.

Cons:

  • Cost. It’s a pay-to-win game, and the more you pay, the better your results will be. However, it can be very expensive and you might not make any profit if you are not careful.
  • Competition. The competition for keywords is always increasing, and so you’ll have to pay more for the same results every time.
  • The researching and bidding process is very time-consuming. If you really want to control your PPC campaign and maximize the ROI, it’s basically a full-time job. You will need to spend a lot of time on it or you’ll have to outsource to a PPC expert.
  • Once you stop the PPC campaign, it will stop giving you leads. So, it’s not a sustainable source of traffic on its own. Search Engine Optimization, as mentioned above, is long-lasting and sustainable.
  • Click-fraud is still an issue, and can significantly damage the quality of leads coming to your site.

Summing Up: Which One Is Better?

Our final answer might disappoint you, but in our opinion, there’s no winner between the two.

Again, you shouldn’t side with SEO or PPC and focus on just one of them, but instead combine them both to generate the best results for your website. The key, as we’ve mentioned above, is to find the right balance between the two to optimize between cost and time.

Think of SEO as a long-term, sustainable strategy, while your PPC campaign should support SEO by generating short-term and even instant results. The idea is that over the long term, while the search ranking for your target keywords has been improved, you can decrease your PPC investment (or move the budget to another target keyword).

By investing in both SEO and PPC, you can get the best of both traffic sources while maximizing your cost-efficiency and also build sustainability.

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