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SEO vs. PPC - What is the difference? And which is better for your business? Let's Find Out

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

The internet is a busy place, teeming with a plethora of opportunities and untapped potential.

And guess what, it’s growing day by day with no signs of stopping! Current estimates suggest

that Google alone processes more than 60,000 search queries each second, and more than 5

billion searches in a day - which is a massive volume in and of itself!

Among such a humongous crowd to compete and so much noise online, how are you going to get your website noticed?

It’s an undeniable fact that the success of your online brand directly corresponds to the amount

of traffic your website can generate, and while you can choose from a variety of digital

marketing strategies to help your business grow, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-

per-click (PPC) advertising are the most extensively used methods you can use to increase

traffic to your website and generate more sales.

What is the difference between SEO and PPC advertising?

SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website to rank at higher positions in the search

engine results, without paying a dime to get there. Though it takes a relatively longer time to

work its charm, once up there, your website will enjoy consistent traffic and can reap long term

rewards for years to come.

PPC advertising is where you’re essentially shelling out a fee to appear in sponsored results

above organic searches and paying for clicks on your ad. PPC promotions will bring in quick

and immediate results, but a soon as you stop running the ad, you’ll stop receiving clicks.

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons for each.

SEO advantages

Cost effective over the long term - Organic SEO is cost efficient, because returns may exceed

your inputs after a certain point. Meaning, the amount of work that you put into building and

optimizing your website SEO ultimately will pay off in future, and even begins to sustain itself by

continuing to bring traffic. All in all, ROI from SEO is impressively higher than paid channels

over the long course. Which brings us to our next point...

More click through rate (CTR) - More online users click on organic search results than they

would on PPC ads, even if the PPC ads are placed above organic links. Because…

Established credibility, trust and authority - When your website begins ranking higher in organic results, your audience will perceive you as a reputable, trustworthy, and influential entity. It also shows your brand is becoming more visible and popular, because search engine algorithms are preferring your website content over many of your competitors. Which ultimately leads to..

Raised brand awareness - The higher your rankings, the more eyeballs your website will attract,

without you needing to splurge on traffic - basically, it’s free advertising, over and over!

SEO drawbacks

Slow results - SEO is slow, time consuming and can take months of optimizing before it begins

showing any results, whereas PPC will get you started immediately.

Ongoing maintenance and optimization efforts - besides devoting constant time and effort to

stay on top of your SEO game, there’s really not much to it. The returns will surely come in the

future and more than you would expect, but staying lazy and laid back about it surely won’t help.

Fierce competition - If you as a website are trying so hard to rank higher up the search results,

your competitors are also crushing at it! Never underestimate your competition. You have to

stay on your toes all the time to maintain your search result ranking. It’s a fight for honor! And

only the best will survive.

PPC advantages

Target your audience the most efficient way - With lots of elements to tweak and adjust, you can

fine tune your approach and become hyper selective in choosing the kind of audience you

exactly want your ads to be shown to.

Fast, measurable results every single time - You can optimize your ad campaigns in real-time

and know immediately if they are performing well. Also, PPC ads can go live within a day and

results start flowing in immediately.

Excellent for quick testing - Want to test and experiment by running multiple ad variations to

figure out what works and what doesn't? PPC is the way to go! You can monitor results in real

time, so it’s super fast to deliver feedback.

You’re in control and can scale anytime - You can set your goals and budget as per your liking,

and have the option to scale anytime by spending more or cutting back on your ad spendings.

PPC drawbacks

Can quickly get costly - The competition for keywords today is fierce than ever. If you’re in a

competitive business, and targeting highly competitive keywords, your spending will also

dramatically increase.

When ads stop running, clicks dry out - Once you stop spending on ads, search engines pull

your ads and you stop receiving clicks and visitors. PPC requires ongoing expenditure.

Users despise seeing ads - Majority of the search engine users will ignore your ad and go

straight to clicking on organic results. The low barrier to entry breeds a sentiment of distrust

among users and they refrain from clicking on ads. We are also seeing a rise in ad blindness

and the use of ad-blockers.

Final Verdict

Both SEO and PPC strategies have their own significance and uses. The best approach would

be to integrate both into your digital marketing efforts. Afterall, you should be taking advantage

of every opportunity to maximize your marketing leverage and master various channels if you

want to stay ahead of your online competitors and grab the audience's attention.

Your goals will determine what formula will work best for you. But SEO and PPC advertising

when paired together can bring tremendous results to your business, both quickly and for the

long term.

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