SEO and PPC are both effective strategies that can increase traffic to your website and, in turn, drive more conversions. But they’re two very different strategies. They both have their place in e-commerce marketing. You’ll need to decide whether SEO vs. PPC or a combination of both is right for your business.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It refers to the process of optimising a website’s technical configuration, content, and backlinks so that they are more relevant to popular organic search queries.
In other words, SEO is all about improving a website to increase its visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The more visible your page is in search results, the more likely it is to be discovered and clicked on. This means more website visits, higher engagement, and increased conversions.
What Is PPC?
PPC stands for pay-per-click. It’s a type of digital advertising where the advertiser pays a fee every time one of their ads is clicked on. Essentially, you’re paying for targeted visits to your website.
If PPC is done properly, the clicks will be worth more than what you pay for them, so you’ll be turning a profit. For example, if your click costs $1 but it brings in an extra $100 in sales, you’ve made money. That’s a pretty good deal.
When we talk about PPC in relation to search engines, we’re talking about the process of advertisers bidding for ad placements at the very top of the SERPs. You’ll know which Google results are PPC because they’ll have the word ‘sponsored’ next to them.
Pros Of SEO
- The results you get from SEO are long-lasting. As long as you rank high on search engines for your target keywords, you will continue to get traffic to your website.
- SEO is cheaper in the long run. While you’ll be making an upfront investment by engaging an SEO agency to optimise your site, this will actually prove more cost-effective down the line. Once your website is effectively optimised, traffic will flood in—and you won’t have to pay for it. The cost of maintaining your SEO efforts pales in comparison to paying per click.
- You’ll build credibility in your niche. Sites that rank highly in search engines are considered trustworthy. So, once you start ranking, this improves the credibility of your business.
- It will put you ahead of your competitors. Businesses that invest in SEO typically outrank their competition in search engine results. After all, pages that rank on page one of a SERP get more than 90% of the traffic.
- It will help you expand your reach. SEO allows you to reach anyone with a relevant search query and intent.
- It will improve the user’s experience on your website. SEO is all about improving your website’s content, technical configuration, and backlinks. Not only does this make your site attractive in Google’s eyes, but it also improves the usability of your site.
- It will improve engagement. When your site is optimised, it will contain content that matches the searcher’s intent. This means users will spend more time browsing and shopping on your site.
Cons Of SEO
- SEO is a slow-burn. When it comes to the SEO vs. PPC debate, some people lament that it takes time to plan, design, and execute an effective SEO campaign. It also takes time for Google to crawl and rank your site. If you’re looking for immediate results, SEO may not be right for you.
- You’ll need to take the time to develop creative, authoritative content. If you’re producing Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content, — that is, financial or health-related content — you will need to establish expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT). This takes time and effort.
- Keywords can be difficult to rank for, so you’ll need to choose wisely. Depending on your niche, you may discover that the keywords you want to rank for are highly competitive. It will take time and effort to build your website’s authority so that you can eventually rank for your target keywords. If you don’t have an internal
Pros Of PPC
- PPC allows for faster feedback and insights. With PPC, you can easily set up and trial different campaign strategies. You’ll see results quickly, and therefore you can pivot your approach with haste if necessary.
- PPC is quick and easy to set up. While it can take weeks or months to effectively optimise your website using SEO, you can start a PPC campaign immediately.
- PPC allows you to target very specific demographics. You can target audience demographics with more specificity.
Cons Of PPC
- You’ll need to continually spend money to make money. While SEO requires an upfront investment, PPC requires an ongoing investment. You’ll need to pay the same amount for your clicks as time goes on. You might even lose money if your campaign isn’t cutting through.
- It’s expensive. Remember, you’re paying for every click, so PPC can get expensive quickly. If you’re in a particularly competitive niche, costs can be steep.
- PPC is not an effective long-term strategy. The longer your PPC campaign runs, the less effective it will be. Searchers who are seeing your ads too will likely skip over them, favouring more relevant, updated content.
- Searchers prefer organic content. Studies have found that searchers actually favour organic marketing over paid marketing, as they don’t feel that the information is being ‘pushed’ onto them. Remember, your PPC ad will be labelled as such, which can be off-putting to searchers. This is where SEO becomes considerably more attractive in the SEO vs. PPC debate.
Is SEO Or PPC Better?
So, SEO vs. PPC: which comes out on top? Truthfully, neither SEO nor PPC is inherently better than the other. When it comes to SEO vs. PPC, you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons and consider which investment is right for your business.
SEO is essential to a successful online marketing strategy because it gives your site visibility and credibility. PPC ads, on the other hand, allow you to reach searchers quickly and customise your campaign as you go.
If your goal is to increase your visibility quickly and drive traffic to your site immediately, PPC ads are your best bet. If you’re willing to spend, PPC can help you skyrocket to the top of the SERP. However, it’s important to remember that searchers will be able to see that you’ve paid to be there.
If you want to take a sustainable, long-term approach, SEO is the answer. Optimising your website for search engines will help you get to the top of the SERP and stay there. It will help you build credibility and trustworthiness among potential customers, and you’ll be continually rewarded for your efforts.
With all of this in mind: SEO vs. PPC—which will you choose? As the Old El Paso ad posits, ‘porque no los dos’? Arguably the most effective approach is to invest in both SEO and PPC.
Regardless of your niche, utilising both SEO and PPC is the most well-rounded approach to search engine marketing. Let’s shift our thinking from SEO vs PPC to SEO and PCC.
How Can PPC and SEO Work Together?
Essentially, SEO and PPC can work together to maximise your rankings on Google.
If your website is new or lacking in the SEO-department, you can use PPC to get things up and running. This will boost your visibility quickly and get you in front of searchers.
Then, you can focus your attention on SEO, which will provide a more sustainable, consistent influx of traffic. As you start ranking for targeted keywords organically, you can reduce your PPC spend and maintain a steady flow of traffic through your SEO efforts.
With both your PPC and organic results appearing at the top of the SERP, you’ll begin to build credibility and trustworthiness with your audience.
SEO vs. PPC | Better When They’re Together
When it comes down to it, the SEO vs. PPC debate is a bit misguided. It doesn’t need to be a question of this or that; a combination of both is ideal.
PPC will drive traffic to your website quickly and boost your visibility, while SEO will help you organically reach and maintain your position at the top of the SERP. It will also help you establish authority and credibility, which in turn leads to more traffic and, ultimately, conversions.
While SEO requires an upfront investment, it is more cost-effective in the long-term. If you’re in it for the long haul, consider investing in SEO. The results will speak for themselves.