When you’re trying to get users’ eyes on your new product or website, you’ve likely debated with yourself about the best strategy to use to drive traffic. SEO and PPC are two of the most popular methods brands use to help relevant users find them online. 

Since both SEO and PPC require a level of time and expense, it’s essential to figure out which is best and how you can get the most out of each strategy. Read on to learn more about SEO vs. PPC.


SEO: A Definition

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It involves making intentional adjustments to both your website and content so that your site shows up near the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for relevant key terms. Put simply, if your company sells mattresses, you want someone searching for mattresses to find your site easily from Google.

When optimizing your website for SEO, you’ll make it fast, easy to navigate and ensure that it looks great on any type of device. You want to do everything you can to make sure users have a great experience on your site, sending signals to Google that you have what people are looking for.

You’ll also create content around relevant keywords. You want the right people to come to your site—users who are already looking for the types of services or products you offer. Again, your web design and content should be focused on the users’ needs and experiences. It should be in-depth, easy to read, and include lists and pictures.

Why Use SEO?

SEO brings organic traffic to your site. You can create content optimized for clients at different stages in the sales funnel, potentially allowing you to make even more sales. Unless you have a lot of knowledge, optimizing your content and site can cost a lot upfront, but your results often last longer and cost you nothing after the initial fees.

SEO feels less like advertising, so your users may trust your content more, making them more willing to buy. SEO also has less upkeep than PPC. With SEO, once you’ve got your site to a certain level of authority and established yourself in the search results, you can often maintain your position without having to constantly work on it.

As your SEO game and your site’s authority grow, you’ll also increase brand authority. When potential clients constantly see your site near the top of the search engine results, they’ll think of your brand as a leader in the industry.

Why SEO May Not Be the Best Option

There are also some drawbacks to SEO, and it’s not always the best option. One of the biggest hassles with SEO is that Google is constantly updating its algorithm. Its goal is to make search as helpful as possible for users, but for those using SEO, they may have to pivot often to keep up with new standards.

While SEO is often more stable than PPC, it can take a while for you to see results, especially if your site doesn’t have very high domain authority. 

SEO also takes a lot of work on the front-end. It takes a while to get your site optimized, especially if you have a lot of content. Once you’re done, it’s an ongoing process to keep it updated, especially if you don’t hire someone to do it for you.

PPC: A Definition

PPC stands for Pay Per Click and is an inorganic form of marketing. When using PPC, you have ads leading to your website based on certain keywords. You’ll pay a fee each time a user clicks on your ad.

PPC can get a little complicated. You’ll have to bid on certain keywords. If you win the bid, then your ad will be displayed near the top of the search results. It may feel a little like gambling with your money. If you’re going after highly competitive keywords, then the bidding will be high. You’ll need to make sure the return is worth it. 

Why Use PPC?

There are many good reasons to use PPC. You can often get quick results and drive a lot of traffic to your site. It’s easy to see how well a campaign is working, and the timeline is a little more cut and dry than SEO.

PPC is also a little more foolproof than SEO. You know what you’re getting, and you don’t have to constantly update your strategy each time Google changes its algorithm. Your ads will also appear above the organic ads.

Why PPC May Not Be the Best Option

PPC also has several drawbacks. It can get costly, especially if you’re going after competitive keywords. You’ll always have to spend money. SEO can also take a lot of time to set up as you’ll need to do comprehensive research to find the right keywords that fit your budget.

PPC isn’t as long-lasting. You’ll only get leads for as long as you run your campaign. Since PPC isn’t organic, users may not trust your content as much as it can feel more like advertising to them.

SEO vs. PPC: Who’s the Winner?

There’s no clear winner between the two because it really all depends on your budget, skill level, and goals for your site. While PPC may have a 200% ROI, SEO can get you on the front page, where 67% of all clicks come from the first five organic results.

When to Use SEO

SEO works best when you have a longer timeline and have the time to spend optimizing your site. It’s great for building brand awareness as well.

When to Use PPC

Use PPC when you need to see results yesterday and if you have the budget to accommodate it. It can also be helpful if you’re a new business and want to make some sales quickly.

Why Not Both?

It doesn’t always come down to SEO vs. PPC. Ideally, you should use both. If you haven’t already, you should take the necessary steps to optimize your site. Update your content and be sure to adhere to SEO rules as you publish going forward.

You can use PPC at times when you need a boost, such as the release of a new product or during a certain time of the year when you need to increase sales.

Wrap Up

When it comes to SEO and PPC, there isn’t a clear winner. Both are valuable ways to get eyes on your site and lead to sales. By choosing wisely and using a mixture of both, you can meet your brand’s marketing goals.