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Paid ads (PPC) vs. SEO - which is better in digital marketing?
Ian Leman

Ian Leman

Paid ads (PPC) vs. SEO - which is better for digital marketing?

Google processes over 3.5 billion searches every day, that's 40,000 searches per second. How does your company plan to make its brand visible in digital marketing? Where does your website rank compared to the competition? Paid ads or PPC (pay-per-click) and SEO (search engine optimization) are the two best digital marketing methods to generate sales and increase traffic. Let's analyze the pros and cons of both and find out which one is better for your company in digital marketing.

What is the role of PPC or pay-per-click advertising in digital marketing?

Google Ads is Google's paid PPC advertising solution that allows a company to appear in the Google search engine with suggested keywords. With Google Ads, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad to visit your site or call your business. In addition, you can customize your ads at any time to reach a specific audience (by interests, geographic area, etc.) or to promote a specific deal or product. This flexibility can be a great option for small businesses that can't update their website as often.

Google Ads also gives you the opportunity to promote your business outside of Google Search by showing ads on relevant Google Display Network (GDN) web pages. GDN consists of thousands of sites across the web where you can connect with even more potential customers. You can choose specific sites to run display ads on or choose the types of people you want to reach.

A PPC advertising solution like Google Ads will not deliver the same results as SEO and will not improve your organic search ranking. Instead, Google Ads can help you show your ads to potential customers at the exact moment they're looking for a business similar to yours.

What is the role of SEO in digital marketing?

SEO (search engine optimization) helps your website appear more often in relevant searches, increasing organic traffic to your website. You can read more about what SEO is and why it is needed. Also, take a look at the article on how to optimize a Wordpress page for SEO.

Appearing in organic search results is not paid, but depends entirely on the regularity and content of your website. Read more about SEO writing.

By investing in SEO, you increase the likelihood that your target audience will find you when they search Google for keywords related to your product or service. 61% of marketers say SEO is the number one inbound marketing factor for their business.

Pros of PPC in digital marketing

1. PPC offers quick results

While an SEO strategy can take months to see results, a PPC campaign can take just a few hours to see results.

2. Location of PPC ads

PPC ads appear above the organic ranking, that is, if you run a PPC campaign with a specific keyword, your website will come up first on the search engine results page when searching for that keyword. This ranking will make your potential customers notice you before others.

3. PPC allows you to pinpoint your target audience

When you set up a PPC campaign, you can choose who you want to target with your ads. Do you want customers from a specific geographic area? Or do you want to target people of a certain age? Is marital status or interests important to you? If so, then you should be using PPC ads.

4. PPC ads can be launched quickly and A/B tested

With a PPC campaign, you can run two different ads at the same time to measure which one performs better. All you need to do is change a few ad elements. Depending on performance, you may decide to stop “running” your ads or continue to optimize to improve results.

Cons of PPC in digital marketing

1. PPC ads are expensive

PPC campaigns are paid and cannot be run without money. With PPC ads, you have to pay every time your target audience clicks on your link. This means that when your budget runs out, so does your traffic.

The cost of PPC advertising also depends on the competition. If you're in a competitive industry (like law or insurance), it's difficult to come up with your own keywords without spending a lot of money. Those with bigger budgets have a better chance of standing out.

2. Lower profit margins

While a PPC campaign can bring short-term wins, it usually results in a lower profit margin. With PPC, your customer acquisition cost (CAC) continues to rise without a significant increase in the prices of your products and services.

3. PPC ads get old

Due to the rule set by advertising platforms such as Google, you have limited control over paid advertising. The wording used in your ad may be similar to that of your competitors, which will cause your target audience to switch quickly.

Pros of SEO in digital marketing

1. SEO is cheaper in the long run

While SEO can cost time and money—paying freelancers or agencies and paying for SEO tools — it's still cheaper than PPC in the long run.

By creating content that improves visibility and drives traffic to your website, you no longer need to constantly spend money on advertising to get your target customers to see it. And if those customers decide to click on your link, it's zero cost, unlike a PPC campaign where you pay per click.

Organic traffic is also highly scalable and cost-effective.

2. You can target different stages of the sales funnel with SEO

Not all of your audiences are at the same stage of the sales funnel. Some are just getting to know your brand at the top of the funnel. And others are already at the bottom of the funnel, ready to purchase your product/service.

With SEO, you can create different types of content (blog posts, how-tos, case studies) that match each segment of your audience exactly where they are in the sales funnel. This gives your page a better chance of directing visitors to the next stage of the funnel each time they browse your content.

3. Search traffic is more stable

Once you rank in Google, you can start planning and predicting free traffic to your website as long as you continue to optimize it.

Another benefit to keep in mind is that there is no turning off and on with SEO. With PPC marketing, your website stops appearing in search results when your marketing budget runs out or when you stop “running” ads. A great way to remember this difference is to think about real estate: SEO is like owning traffic, while PPC is like renting it.

4. Organic listings increase brand authority

Consistently appearing in search results for keywords related to your products and services helps build trust with your target audience and build brand authority.

It also means to Google that you are an expert on the subject or top of the field. This can result in more external links from other trusted sites that are highly favored by search engines.

Cons of SEO in digital marketing

1. Search engine algorithms are changing

Search engines, especially Google, have changed their algorithms many times over the years. These changes mean you need to keep a close eye on your marketing strategy and organic results and keep an eye on the changes.

2. The website must be optimized regularly

SEO needs to be constantly worked on. Your work does not end when your website appears in a search engine with targeted keywords for one month. Over time, you need to regularly optimize your content and web pages to keep your page ranking.

In addition to constantly producing new content, optimization can also include updating old articles and removing outdated links.

3. SEO takes time to show results

If your website or domain is new, it is unlikely that you will enjoy immediate SEO results. This is because Google's ranking of websites is influenced by a number of factors related to the volume and quality of content and the credibility of the page.

Also, if your website has not appeared in a search engine before, it takes time to create content and generate keywords.

4. It requires time and advanced skills

Unless you're hiring a professional, make sure you understand your audience's goals and fill them with quality content to properly optimize your site for search engines.

Improving technical SEO, content and link building takes time and requires a professional approach. When it comes to SEO, it's important to follow certain rules and constantly analyze what works and what doesn't. If your company doesn't have a digital marketing specialist who can handle both the technical and content side of SEO, WebTailor is happy to help your company contribute to SEO.

When to use PPC and when to use SEO in digital marketing for your business?

Ideally, it makes sense for you to use both because they work towards the same goal - to increase the number of visits to your website, and therefore sales. By operating on several fronts at once, you have a better chance of achieving success over your competitors and gaining the attention of potential customers.

However, if you cannot use both at the same time, then make a choice based on your company's marketing opportunities and goals.

Use SEO if

Your marketing budget is small You want to build authority for your brand You want to maximize your long-term return on investment (ROI) You want to create content that reaches your target audience who are at different stages of the sales funnel

Use PPC when

You want to see fast results Your product is novel or the first of its kind You are promoting a seasonal offer, such as the holidays You want to target specific audiences Your marketing budget allows you to pay the necessary amount for advertising

If you want to meet your company's digital marketing goals with PPC and/or SEO and increase traffic to your website, then WebTailor digital marketing agency is here to help you! We specialize in both SEO and PPC to help businesses get noticed by potential customers.

Used sources: 

1 https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/tabid/6307/bid/1514/paid-search-vs-organic-search.aspx

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