PPC vs SEO – The Pros and Cons

PPC vs SEO – The Pros and Cons

It is a question that is asked all too often: “What is better? Pay Per Click or SEO?”.  The truth is, there is no straight answer. It really boils down to your particular situation, goals and the marketplace you are working in.

Of course, we are huge fans of organic SEO at Soar Online and have found from our experience that organic ranking offers a far better return on investment than PPC, in terms of volume of leads and the relative cost per lead. But that doesn’t mean that PPC should be disregarded, and when done correctly is can be very effective.  New businesses, for example, may find it difficult to get started on the ‘search engine ladder’ and PPC is a great way to take the first steps.

It is important to know your target market and their search habits in order to determine whether organic search or paid search is the best for your project, or even a combination of the two.

To help you make the decision, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

SEO: Organic Traffic

The Pros

The bread-and-butter of SEO, having visibility on search engines puts your business or services in front of potential customers, much like a traditional advertisement, and drives brand awareness.

Your business will also become associated with commercial search terms and queries related to the industry that you are in. Your brand can quickly build credibility and trust and become an authority figure around certain topics if you are consistently appearing for search terms relative to your industry – it is also quite common for users to completely skip paid ads and automatically place more trust in organic listings.

Organic traffic is free, or at least there is no charge per click. It will cost time, money and effort to correctly optimise your site to appear organically high on search engines, but you won’t have to worry about further charges relative to the traffic you will be getting. This means your return on investment (ROI) can be much greater than if you were running a pure PPC campaign.

Organic SEO has far greater sustainability than PPC. Once you have reached an effective rank on search engines, your traffic won’t come to a halt as soon as you stop putting any time or money into it. Of course, your ranks may deteriorate over time if you don’t maintain your strategy, but organic traffic can still keep you afloat if your marketing budget is cut for a while.

There may be exceptions to the rule, but in general, you will have a far better click-through rate (CTR) with organic search than paid search. A much higher percentage of users will click on organic listings than paid ads.

The Cons

The Time and effort involved in developing an effective, organic SEO strategy can certainly put people off. There is no shortcut or easy way to having a strong presence on search engines, and, depending on your industry, you could be up against titans when you are just starting out.

An effective SEO strategy that is targeting organic traffic needs a website that is strong in content. Not all businesses have the resource to create such content, thus making it an uphill battle to even get an organic SEO strategy started.

PPC: Paid Searches

The Pros

Paid ads certainly get the highest ranking positions on search engines. On Google, above-the-fold content is dominated by PPC ads (around four ads on desktop and 3 for mobile users), so whether the user scrolls past them or not, they will always be the first thing they see.

You also have the option with Google to place visual product ads, (Product Listing Ads or PLAs). This gives a visual representation of your product that can lead to improved click-through rates and is an option that is unavailable to organic search.

If done correctly, PPC allows you to target the right people and does wonders for brand visibility. Your ads can be targeted by search keywords, time, device, location and even based on previous visits and as such the traffic to your website are much more qualified leads.

The Cons

PPC can be expensive, particularly if managed incorrectly. Costs can rack up quickly and quite easily spiral out of control. It requires constant investment; once you stop, your ad will disappear along with your traffic and leads.

You may find yourself up against strong competition and you can easily end up in a bidding war, further driving your costs up. It is quite easy for a competitor to copy your PPC tactics, too, as everything they need is right there in the ad.

As with SEO, an effective PPC campaign requires constant management, skill and optimisation.

PPC and SEO Management

If you are unsure which form of strategy would best suit your business, we would be delighted to give you a free assessment. Drop us a note below, grab a coffee and we’ll get back to you in due course with some complimentary advice!

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