Pay-Per-Click vs SEO: What’s Better?
You have a new website that definitely needs traffic and an audience. There are two ways to that do, organically through SEO or by pay-per-click advertising.
While it was easier for new businesses to expand using only SEO, it may no longer be so, hence you should try different approaches. This article discusses the pros and cons of both these strategies and analyzes what is best for you.
What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
As the name suggests, PPC puts your website or business on a paid search.
It is purchasing clicks from visitors and search engines.
You buy the ads and pay the publisher which in this case are search engines, each time someone clicks on those ads.
In return, the publisher shows the visitor the ad on top of search results and search queries.
The advertiser (you, in this case), bid on certain keywords.
You want to appear on the top when your target audience searches for these keywords.
Hence your search ad appears on the top as you bid for it. This is an online advertising model.
The cost you pay every time someone clicks on the ad depends on the volume of the keyword and your niche.
The ad rank and ad groups can change but is not as turbulent as organic ranking.
Through PPC advertising you can cross your competition to gain visibility quickly.
It is especially useful when you are new and do not have enough domain authority to rank higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) organically.
That said, PPC has its own set of pros and cons. More on that below!
Pay-Per-Click Advertising Pros
Ad Appears On Top
PPC ads occupy the topmost space on the Search Engines.
Hence, whenever your audience searches for your target keywords, they will likely see your ad at first.
This increases the chances of them clicking it and visiting your website unless they want to visit an organic website.
Moreover, you no longer have to worry about losing your position and ranking as you have Cost per click CPC bid on staying at the top.
It is inevitable for the visitors to see your ad before they see other organic results.
Quick Process and Results
You can set up PPC quickly and in no time you will start noticing more conversions, traffic and clicks.
Conversely, it takes quite a while to set up SEO and to rank organically to see any changes in traffic and conversions.
So, if you want to reach your target audience immediately, PPC will get that going in a matter of hours.
Furthermore, it also assists you to get quick feedback.
You can get immediate feedback on traffic and conversion of a new product by running a PPC campaign.
This helps in A/B testing.
You can run two campaigns at a time and check which one fares better.
It can help you analyze if PPC is the right approach for you or you need to optimize instead.
Targeting Audience Specifically
PPC campaigns target audiences extremely specifically.
You can narrow down your audience to the:
- target keywords
- marital status
- previous visits to your website
- time of day or week
This allows your audience to be very specific and converts them into buyers.
Though in SEO there is no way to target a very specific audience.
Organic results undergo regular changes and soon your website can be dethroned.
However, the same cannot be said for PPC and Google AdWords as they do not undergo similar changes.
The changes are very minor can you can easily manage them by using match types and analyzing search reports.
Hence, you do not need to regularly worry about your ranking falling if you do not keep updating your website.
Check Results Easily and Control Your Spending
The whole PPC process is scalable where you can check how much investment produces results.
You can set your daily budget according to the leads you get.
However, that is not true for SEO as you may require more budget in competitive keywords and location.
Knowing Keywords Mechanisms
If you have tried organically ranking keywords, you must be aware that the keyword data is private.
Hence, you cannot figure out how keywords rank and convert.
Though with PPC you can use conversion tracking with the help of Google Analytics to understand how keywords convert.
You can integrate this knowledge into your organic marketing SEO and other forms of advertising for all of your keywords to rank higher and lead to conversions.
Besides benefits, there are also disadvantages of PPC advertising.
You Will Have To Keep Paying
Organic SEO is totally free.
However, as the name suggests, you will have to pay for PPC.
It is not a one-time payment but a regular one as keyword competition keeps rising.
The more you pay, the better results you will see.
Every time your audience clicks your link, you will have to pay.
The biggest downside of it is that if your budget ends, the traffic drops too.
The traffic depends on how much you keep paying for the results you want.
Using your budget on something else for a while will stop your leads and negatively impact your business.
These ads are more expensive in competitive industries and you may end up paying more money for the same results as the years go by.
Hence, you need a hefty budget to continually spend on your ads to keep the traffic consistent.
Short Term Benefits
While PPC gives quick results, they are also short-term.
It is a system where you pay to play and reap benefits as long as you keep paying.
The cost of advertising may keep increasing while your product prices remain the same.
Hence, your profit margin lowers and you are also dependent on it for leads and conversions.
It is Time Consuming
Bidding on keywords, selecting a budget and maintaining it, checking your returns and regulating your PPC ads is time-consuming.
You cannot do this as a side job while also running your website.
you will have to hire a PPC expert to handle this task and increase your leads.
People May Ignore It
Some people make a conscious choice to ignore ads.
Moreover, you have less liberty in writing your copy and you need to abide by the rules set by the publisher.
Hence, all ads seem like basic fare which quickly become stale.
Your target audience may lose interest and scroll down to other options instead.
Now that you know well about PPC let’s find out the advantages and disadvantages of SEO.
Advantages of SEO
Cheaper Than PPC
You may initially have to invest in your business’s SEO, hiring writers, SEO experts and investing in good keyword software.
However, this will still be cheaper in the long term than investing in PPC.
PPC charges you money continuously however, organic SEO will not do that so it is good for beginners and small entrepreneurs.
Traffic Stays More Stable
If you do not use SEO strategies for a while or update your website for some time then you will not see a huge drop in your traffic or rankings.
Hence, you need to keep optimizing web pages but even then your website will appear on search results once you have established authority and enough traffic.
However, your business may disappear from SERPs if your budget for PPC runs out.
Moreover, your position and ranking stay more stable through organic SEO rather than through PPC bidding.
Appearing in SERPs Organically= Authority
Remember we told you that people may sometimes skip ads altogether.
This is because they find organic results more credible.
If your business keeps appearing in the top organic results thanks to good SEO tactics, content and link building then you can attract more audience.
Moreover, it also tells Google that you are an authority site and it lets you stay on the top.
Disadvantages Of Using SEO
It is Time Consuming
SEO takes time and you will not instantly see traffic and conversion as PPC.
It may take longer than you expect and if you plan to quickly gain customers then you will have to wait quite a while.
This brings us to…
Need To Constantly Optimize and Update Your Business Website
Search engine algorithms change and new strategies emerge that influence ranking.
Hence, you always need to keep an eye out for that.
You will have to change your optimization style and regularly keep a check on your content.
This includes saying goodbye to old posts and writing new ones regularly.
Hence, you cannot put work on hold.
You Should Know SEO
A layman cannot work on SEO.
You will have to hire SEO experts and writers or you will have to learn SEO tactics yourself.
It can be quite some work managing your business while handling and learning about SEO.
So even if you do not invest on PPC advertising, you will still be investing in labor or gaining expertise.
Now that you know the pros and cons of both, let’s find out what’s better for your business.
PPC vs SEO
Which of these is better for your business?
You can answer this by looking at your business model.
Do you have enough budget for PPC? Do you need quick results or can you wait? Is it possible to keep paying for PPC?
Hence, it is a very personal choice.
Pay-Per-Click is the best choice for you if you need fast results in the form of leads, traffic and conversions.
Also, keep in mind that you have enough budget to keep it going.
Moreover, if your product and offer are unique or time-sensitive like an end-of-year sale then you can direct a specific audience to your website.
It is also useful when you want the target audience to go to a particular page either your landing page or sales page after clicking the pay-per-click website.
On the other hand, you should go for SEO if you are a new business that has a low budget as of now.
Hence, you have long-term goals and you are aiming for an ROI in the future.
That said you can commit to your business and want to reach a variety of audiences.
Hence, you can regularly put in work to establish your brand authority.
It is entirely up to you to use any or both of these ways to rank on SERPs.
Yes, you can use both SEO and Pay-per-click Advertising together to achieve higher results.
However, judge according to your goals, if you need fast visibility or long-term ranking.