The SEO or PPC Debate: Which is Best for Your Business?


The Internet is a very saturated market and a tough space to stand out in business. Whether you own a blog or a retail business, you probably already know that attracting new customers is not an easy job. Luckily, there are more than a few digital marketing strategies that can boost your website traffic.

By far, the two best known strategies currently available are Pay-per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Of course, both PPC and SEO have their ups and downs. We're going to show you the pros and cons of these two marketing strategies.

The Pros of SEO

Probably the most important aspect regarding SEO is the fact that you'll establish your business as an authority in your niche. Websites with relevant content and great SEO will rise in the search engine results. Studies have shown that the majority of internet users will visit the first 3-5 websites that appear in their search results. A properly (and safely) optimised site will accomplish that positioning for you.

Billions of searches go through Google each day. There are more than 3 billion Internet users today and the vast majority of them use Google on a daily basis for their searches. This is important because great SEO will make your website visible to thousands of potential customers - for free - every day. And by free, I mean that you won't be paying for incoming traffic like you would through ads.

SEO helps your business grow by increasing its online visibility and establishing credibility.  

Growing visibility means incorporating additional strategies to take advantage of increased conversion rates.

Further optimising your website for mobile use will not only increase your visibility on local searches, but create a better user experience, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Google knows that majority of people use smartphones or tablets for searches conducted on their platform and as such they've changed their algorithms.

This means that webpages that are optimised for mobile use will greatly benefit from those algorithm tweaks and rank higher in mobile searches.

The Cons of SEO

The most off-putting element of SEO is that it will take time before you notice considerable results. Establishing a presence in search engines can take days or even weeks, depending on the niche you're targeting.

If you're going to optimise your website on your own remember that your only goal should be to reach the first page of the search results. 

Less than 25% of the internet users ever go on the second page of the search results. 

However, depending on the niche and the keywords you're using, reaching the first page could prove to be a nasty burden. Hiring a quality, professional SEO consultant will make that mission much easier and your life a lot less stressful.

The most challenging part of SEO is likely the fact that Google is continuously changing its search algorithms. Moz offers an outline of Googles algorithm history, but the notable info is that Google alters and adjusts its algorithm roughly 500-600 times each year. Therefore, a website currently optimised may not be able to maintain its score after the next algorithm update. So a rapid response mentality is required.

The Pros of PPC

In short, it provides very quick results. Done correctly you will see results in no time.

With PPC you don't have to be patient. All you need to do is follow a few easy steps and you're all set. Google AdWords has four steps:

  • Create an account
  • Create compelling ad text
  • Bid on the keywords
  • Direct all incoming clicks to your landing page

Another perk is that you can quantify and evaluate their results. Because most PPC platforms provide their users with insights, it's easy to evaluate and measure the impact of your ads. You'll be able to check your return of investment (ROI) and conversion rates in real time. Everything from views, to clicks, to conversions are available at your finger tips.

It also allows you to retarget previous visitors keeping your brand top of mind. This is important since not everyone makes a purchase on their first visit on your website. Through PPC you can reach them on an ongoing basis. Doing so effectively (i.e. not too little not too much) will increase the chances that your previous visitors will convert into customers.

The Cons of PPC

The most obvious con is that PPC is not free. It's in the name.

Small businesses and early in the game entrepreneurs may not initially afford the use of PPC to its full extent. This is especially true when you're a rookie. Determining which keywords are the right ones to bid on requires research an expert level insights come from experience. Therefore hiring a professional to consult on or execute this on your behalf is a good idea.

It deserves mention that many studies have show that more and more people are easily annoyed by advertising, some even paying for applications that remove them from their screen all together. Due to a skeptical positioning on the legitimacy of their offerings this resulting in a large portion of "paid ads" that are not seen, let alone clicked on or acted upon.

In the end, PPC is a bit of gamble. Whether you'll convert customers from ads is not really up to you.

That being said, for those people who do see your ads and click through to your site, an optimised site with killer copy will be required to increase conversion rates. Therefore, creating great ads that are also supported by relevant and engaging content and a user friendly website, is one of the keys to a successful PPC strategy.


Traditional advertising avenues  - billboards, tv, radio - whilst still utilised for mass marketing, do not come close to the power and effectiveness of precision targeting that can occur when both PPC and SEO are properly integrated into your marketing plan.

Both of these marketing strategies have their strengths and weaknesses. It's up to you to decide which is better for you and your business.

However, when in doubt...

use them both.

Complementing SEO with PPC will super charge your marketing initiatives, improving your websites visibility, and market share.

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