It’s one of the most asked questions in digital marketing: which is better between SEO and PPC? It’s asked so much because there isn’t a straightforward answer. On the face of it, SEO seems like the obvious choice. But that’s not always the case.
SEO can have a lasting positive impact on your business. But it takes time to gain that impact. PPC on the other hand, can have an immediate impact. But that impact can go away just as quickly. This makes investing in one or the other a tough choice. Here we lay out the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed choice.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing effort designed to get your website ranking higher in Google’s organic search results. There are an awful lot of factors that Google uses to determine the quality of websites which means there is an awful lot to do.
It also means it can take a long time to start seeing results. Months can pass without your rankings moving. Then all of a sudden they shoot up. The great thing about SEO is that while you will need to keep creating quality content, it is a long-term investment. Your rankings should stay high for years meaning you will continue to bring in free traffic.
- Excellent ROI. In the long run, SEO has an excellent return on investment. What’s more, the longer you do it and the better you rank, the bigger your ROI will become.
- Long-term. As we have said, you can continue to receive traffic from Google thanks to a post that you created years ago.
- It is 100% free if you do it yourself. If you can, doing SEO yourself won’t cost you a penny. It is still probably best to invest in an agency, however.
- Steep learning curve. SEO is tricky to do unless you are an expert. That’s why many business owners turn to an agency for help.
- Difficult to master. SEO is incredibly technical and constantly changing. That means it can be difficult for you or your site to master SEO and get to the very top of Google without professional help.
What is PPC?
Pay per click ads are paid adverts on search engines or social media sites. Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay the site for generating that traffic. Ads aren’t displayed to everyone, however. They are highly targeted meaning that you only attract the people you want.
You can set a PPC campaign up in an hour and start receiving traffic instantly. But you have to pay every time someone visits your site. Even if the same person clicks on the ad 10 times, you pay every time.
- Less to learn. PPC isn’t easy, but there is definitely less to learn and master compared to SEO. Most business owners will be able to set up a PPC campaign without help.
- Scalable at costs. The more you invest in PPC, the more scalable it becomes. Of course, this means you will need a large marketing budget.
- It costs money. Unlike SEO, you will have to pay every time someone clicks on your ad.
- Short-term solution. It would be hard to build a long-term profitable business which relies on PPC as its main traffic source. It isn’t really sustainable.