SEO vs PPC | the Ultimate Comparison


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Written by Ashlie Jones

Customers are the lifeline of every business. If you are looking to drive traffic and leads to your website, you need to have effective digital marketing strategies. PPC and SEO are among the most common strategies in the digital world.

According to Brightedge research, organic searches account for over 53% of website traffic. A HubSpot study confirms 64% of marketers actively invest in SEO–proof that it works. On the other hand, 45% of businesses invest in PPC marketing.

While both strategies work, choosing the best one can be daunting for beginners. We've put together this guide to help you understand the similarities and differences between SEO and PPC. 

But first things first! Let's see what both entail.


What is SEO?

SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is a digital marketing strategy for improving a website's visibility on search engines. Well-optimized web pages rank easily, quickly, and on top of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

There are many search engines worldwide. However, Google ranks above them all. Studies show Google controls 91.42% of all search engines' market share. Other common search engines are Bing and Yahoo.


What is PPC?

PPC, also known as pay per click, is a type of search engine marketing where marketers pay publishers each time someone clicks their ads. PPC advertising can be done on search engines like Google and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

The best thing about PPC is that advertisers only pay when someone clicks the ads, making PPC a more convenient and affordable form of paid advertising.


How are PPC and SEO Related?

The main similarity between PPC and SEO is the goal. Both are reliable strategies for improving website visibility, attracting leads, and converting them. In addition, both rely on keywords. You have to find relevant keywords to optimize your web pages and ad copy. This is the way to position yourself strategically for more visibility and high rankings on the SERPs.


How is PPC different from SEO?

The main difference between PPC and SEO is the cost. While SEO drives qualified free organic traffic to websites, PPC drives qualified paid traffic. Moreover, both strategies have pros and cons. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of PPC and SEO!


Advantages of PPC and SEO 

The advantages of PPC and SEO are:

Advantages of PPC

  • Offers quick results
  • Ads appear at the top of organic results on the SERPs
  • Allows laser targeting
  • You can A/B test different ads then optimize accordingly 

Advantages of SEO

  • Cost-effective overall
  • Target audiences based on where they are in the buyers' journey.
  • Free organic traffic in the long run
  • Helps build brand authority

Disadvantages of PPC and SEO 

The disadvantages of PPC and SEO are:

Disadvantages of PPC

  • Can be relatively expensive
  • If executed poorly, can have negligible returns
  • The wrong choice of keywords can attract the wrong audience
  • It may be extremely competitive depending on your industry

Disadvantages of SEO

  • Search engine algorithm updates are unpredictable
  • Regular optimization is necessary to maintain or go up in ranking
  • Takes longer to see the desired results
  • Requires top-notch skills to pull off

PPC vs. SEO Tactics

What strategies do PPC advertising and SEO employ? You're probably asking. Below are the common PPC and SEO tactics SEOs and advertisers use!


PPC Tactics

PPC is laser-focused and is an incredible way to attract ready consumers depending on where they're in the customer journey. Therefore, you can use PPC advertising to target the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of funnel traffic.

The best PPC strategy involves finding relevant keywords and using them to optimize the ad copy. The last thing you want is to use the wrong keywords because it can attract the wrong leads. Google keywords planner is a good tool to use when getting started with PPC advertising.


SEO Tactics

The basic SEO strategy is a simple one to pull off, especially when you have the knowledge. Nonetheless, you can always source the work to an agency or SEO company if you have the budget for it. That said, search engines use ranking factors to determine web pages' rank on the SERPs.

While SEO helps attract free organic traffic, you still need to have your on-page and off-page SEO on point. On-page SEO refers to optimizing web pages to improve search visibility and ranking. Key elements of on-page SEO are title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, alt tags, and internal links.

On the other hand, off-page SEO refers to actions taken to improve search engine rankings from another site. The key defining characteristic of off-page SEO is backlinks–inbound links coming from other sites online.


How to Choose the Best Strategy for your Business

Choosing the best strategy for your business can be a hassle when it doesn't need to be. The best way to go about it is to blend both SEO and PPC in your digital marketing strategy.


When to Use PPC

  • You want quick campaign results
  • You have a unique product or service
  • You're running a time-based campaign

When to Use SEO

  • You have a low marketing budget
  • You want to establish an authority brand
  • You desire maximum ROI
  • You want to create content for all stages of the buyers' journey

PPC vs. SEO | Wrapping UP

PPC and SEO strategies are a walk in the park when you have the right skill set. If you can't develop a digital strategy yourself, you'll need some help. The good news is, at Eternal Works, this is our forte, and we would be happy to assist you. So, be sure to schedule a call here!


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