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PPC or SEO: Which is Best For Your Business?

It may seem like PPC and SEO are on opposing sides of search marketing, but their goal is the same; to gain more website traffic. 

So, if you’re in the scenario where you want to boost web traffic for your business’s website, you may be wondering whether PPC or SEO is better for your business. What is going to give you the most bang for your buck? Well, the answer isn’t always simple because it will depend on many things including your goals, your budget and what your business is.

What are the Differences?

The main difference is simple. PPC is paid, and SEO is organic. PPC allows you to run paid ads that appear at the very top or bottom of search results. SEO involves optimising your website so that it appears organically in search results. Both PPC and SEO have their pros and cons and weighing these against your business needs should give you a clearer idea of which one is right for you.

Pros and Cons of PPC

One of the biggest attractions of PPC over SEO is that it offers instant results. As soon as your ads are up and running, you can get almost immediate traffic to your website. Because of this, PPC works very well for situations such as product launches, seasonal promotions and event-focused marketing, to name a few.

It’s a great short-term solution for getting straight to the first page of the search results. But it requires regular maintenance or management to ensure that budget is allocated properly, and you are getting the most for your money. The downside is that once the budget has stopped, so does the traffic. The upside, you’re getting clearly defined data that helps you continually improve your campaigns, making sure you’re getting a solid ROI.

Additionally, PPC covers a lot of types of paid marketing. From regular search ads, to display ads, to shopping ads, there are many ways you can market your business online through PPC. You can select what works for you, depending on your business and your goals. For instance, if your goal is to raise brand awareness first, display ads may be for you. If you want rich ads that go beyond standard text listings, shopping ads may be for you. Plus, paid social media ads sometimes fall under the PPC category, and these ads allow you to set a more clearly defined audience, refining the people who see your ads, improving their success. What’s more, remarketing is an element of PPC which helps bring people who have recently visited your website back to make a purchase. 

So, PPC is great when instant results are desired, you’re promoting a time-sensitive offer, or you’re looking to reach a highly targeted audience. 

Pros and Cons of SEO

SEO is a time investment, rather than a financial one. It’s great that you don’t have to pay to appear in the search results but seeing results does take time. It’s a long-term approach which often works well for businesses with a small marketing budget, that can’t financially commit to PPC. 

So, getting to the top of the organic results takes time, but once you’re there, results are consistent, provided you don’t suffer any penalties. Also, SEO can be incredibly rewarding in many ways. Our approach to SEO at Colewood involves optimising your website for users, not just search engines, because that will, in turn, please search engines. If your users are getting a great experience when they visit your website, everyone’s a winner. 

Although SEO means you have to deal with fluctuations in rankings due to algorithm updates, it’s highly beneficial if you’re looking for lasting, long-term results. Plus, if you’re looking to build a valuable authority site, SEO is the way to do it. 

How They Can Work Together

Despite their differences, you don’t always have to choose between them. You can benefit from using both methods, and combining the two can lead to very successful results. 

Firstly, running both SEO and PPC campaigns at the same time means you can collect more data to analyse, which will allow you to refine and improve both of your strategies.

As I mentioned earlier, PPC gives you instant results. So if you’re working on both SEO and PPC for your website, as your SEO improves, you should be able to reduce your initial PPC spend, because you will be gradually gaining traffic for certain keywords in the organic search results. This is how the two methods are intertwined.

Also, PPC gives you data that can help your SEO. For example, you can get clear data on which ad text performs the best for PPC, which you can potentially turn into successful SEO-friendly content. Plus, you have data from tested keywords. PPC shows you which keywords have been searched, clicked and converted, which will be helpful information for your SEO strategy. 

So, understanding your business and your goals is the key to using SEO and PPC as part of your online marketing activities. Ask yourself how large your budget is. What are you looking to achieve? How competitive are your target keywords or the search results in your niche? All of this will help you determine what method you should use. But, connecting the dots and understanding how they can work together is a great way to get the best out of both.