SEO vs PPC: Which is best for business & career in 2021

Hi I’m Praneeth Kumar.

In this blog you will learn the difference between SEO vs PPC which is the best strategy for your business and career,

 along with the pros and cons of both marketing strategies and in what situations these marketing strategies can help you, etc.

So if you are confused between which marketing strategy you should consider between SEO and PPC, this is the exact blog you need to read.

So without further ado let’s get started.

Here is a 30000 foot view of the blog post.

SEO vs PPC; What’s the definition of the two?

 In this section we will take a look at the definition of both marketing strategies and some examples.

Definition of SEO;

SEO means Search Engine Optimisation which is a method of optimising a website or web page so that it can rank higher in search engines like Google and drive traffic to the website.

In order to rank higher in search engines like Google you will have to implement lots of Different techniques and strategies so,

 The artificial intelligence & algorithms behind Google will judge your website or web page based on more than 200 different ranking Signals and factors and rank you in a particular position of Google search engine for any keyword result which could be position 1 or 100 or 1000.

The positions are also called as organic listings or results which are unpaid and position numbers are very important because,

The higher you rank the more your visibility increases and the more traffic you can get for example the number one position of Google search results get more than 30% of the total clicks and second results get 20%.

SEO is so important because, as per many studies, more than 50% of the website traffic is generated from search engines like Google and Bing.

And according to HubSpot , Google which is the largest search engine on the planet with more than 4 billion people using it and 92% of market share, 

Google processes approximately 63,000 search queries every second, translating to 5.6 billion searches per day.

Btw if you are new to seo you can consider reading my ultimate guide on how to start seo for a new website?

Definition of PPC;

Ppc is an acronym for pay per click where you run paid advertisements on search engines like Google, Bing, youTube and social media platforms like Facebook.

Unlike SEO in pay-per-click you will have to spend money every time someone Clicks on your ad in search results which is why it is called pay per click.

Here is the screenshot of PPC results in Google search results.

 

In PPC you will spend money to rank higher and above other ads fighting for the top position through bidding for keywords.

Differences and similarities between the two:

Let’s First See the difference.

Difference between SEO and PPC;

The main difference between the two strategies is that in Search Engine Optimisation you can get quality traffic to your website for free of cost whereas, 

in pay per click (ppc) you will have to pay money to Google every time when somebody Clicks & lands on your advertisement in Google search and another important difference is that,

In SEO you can only drive traffic through ranking on Google or Bing but with PPC you can use Google, bing, YouTube, Gmail, pinterest, social media platforms like Facebook, instagram, depending upon where your target audience Hangout etc and last key difference is,

The pay per click results which are basically advertisements on search results page rank higher and above from organic search results in Google.

Here is a screenshot image which clearly illustrates the difference between the two marketing strategies on the search results page.

 

Similarities between the two;

But what’s similar between the two marketing strategies is that,

  1. Both SEO and PPC results are highly measurable.
  2. Both are related to ranking higher on the results page of Google and other search engines so that you can drive maximum traffic to your website.
  3. You will need to have a website in order to utilise both marketing strategies for your business.

Now let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of both marketing strategies in detail.

Pros and cons of both SEO and PPC:

Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of both strategies in quick sentences.

Pros and cons of SEO.

Pros of SEO;

  1. The main advantage of SEO is that it is free of cost, you don’t have to spend money on anyone any time in order to get traffic to your website.
  2. The type of traffic that you drive from SEO is high-quality, targeted and relevant because of which it has a highest conversion rate of 14% but conversion rate will vary depending upon the industry and the type of website and quality content you have.
  3. It can help you with Driving free and consistent traffic to your website every single month because with a single blog post you can rank for multiple keywords and get traffic at the same time increase brand awareness compared to pay per click where you will only rank for a single keyword.
  4. According to backlinko, seo results get higher clicks & more traffic by searchers at 65% compared to ppc results in search.
  5. SEO helps increase a website or business credibility online when it ranks in Google SERPs.
  6. SEO can help you a lot with building your brand by ranking your social media profiles so that users can follow you.
  7. Your organic rankings with SEO are more stable & steady compared to PPC as it depends upon your content quality, backlinks profile and user experience which you can control.
  8. Using SEO for your business will help you to have a mobile-friendly and user friendly, fast loading website and also encourage you to create new content for your website users so that they can stay on your website longer, convert into leads and also get traffic to your website from search engines.

Cons of SEO;

  1. The main disadvantage is SEO is a very time consuming process, according to Ahrefs, the average time it takes to rank a blog post for a competitive keyword can be at least 1 year organically without building backlinks & domain age is a proven ranking factor.
  2. If you want to achieve better results in a competitive industry with SEO, you must invest money in things like creating content, hiring an agency, link building, seo tools and website design and optimisation of your website like speed, etc.
  3. Because of the fact that SEO is a very time consuming process, the Return of Investment that you make can also be very late and slow, because of that patience is the most important skill you need to master.
  4. You will always see a fluctuation in your rankings & traffic with constant updates in Google and growing competition, there is no guarantee of making money and driving traffic to your website if you don’t adapt to changing strategies, for example you can get 1 million website visitors in one month and after a penalty of Google you can lose the traffic & get as little as 1 lakh people a month, because of that you have to keep yourself updated with best techniques and changes which can be very active process.
  5. SEO is both time consuming and ongoing process, you will have to constantly update & maintain your content at the same time create new content and build backlinks to your website, check the analytics, optimise the technical aspects of your website like speed and user-friendliness, adapt yourself with changing algorithms and ranking factors, tackle the competition with better Strategies and content.

You can click here to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of SEO in detail.

Pros of PPC;

  1. The biggest advantage of the pay per click model is that you can get traffic instantly as you spend money, you don’t have to spend a lot of time creating content or building backlinks like SEO.
  2. Using PPC, this will help you rank higher than organic seo results which can lead to more Impressions of your website to your audience and increase your website exposure overall.
  3. Another advantage of pay-per-click is that you can easily target any location and audience you want in specific for example if your target audience are from America who are male at 20-40 years age, you can easily get traffic only from America like Chicago state or any other state in specific with those characteristics instead of targeting the whole of America as a country and you can also choose a specific time period to get traffic which is great to get local customers for your business, this is the big advantage of PPC, you can get highly specific audience to your website, this is ideal strategy if you have a local digital marketing agency.
  4. It is also a highly scalable marketing strategy in a simple sense. The more money you spend you can increase your overall traffic as well.
  5. You are in the driver’s seat with a lot of control over things like budget, ads & landing page optimization, copy and marketing message, location & time of ads which can show up, keywords you want to target and ranking position, you don’t have the same advantages in traditional tv ads etc.
  6. Because you are paying money to Google in order to get traffic to your website by showing ads, you don’t have to worry about any algorithm update penalty which can drastically impact your traffic to your website overnight like it would happen with SEO.

Cons of PPC;

  1. The biggest advantage is the biggest disadvantage is as you start spending money you can get traffic and the moment when you stop spending money, you won’t get traffic.
  2. The fact is, 70-80% of people ignore paid search results, choosing to only click on organic listings & only 35% of clicks go to paid results in search.
  3. The position of your ad result for the target keyword will also be dependent upon how much your competitors bid for that keyword so your ad positions will fluctuate depending upon the bidding tactics for the keyword which are not always in your control.
  4. There are lots of frauds involved like click fraud from your competitors who click on your ad results from different IP addresses using different bots and softwares which can result in higher ad budget with lower returns, but in most cases it is preventable.
  5. Unlike SEO where you can have access to lots of SEO Tools & plugins like ubersuggest and rankmath which can help you optimise your website, in PPC it involves a lot of learning curve in places like finding PPC keywords, A/B testing ads designs and layouts, checking analytics, getting used to the dashboard, running and optimizing your ads, etc.
  6. Many people don’t like to click on PPC ads because of the fact is that they are basically ads and people hate it because they don’t like to feel as being sold, people don’t trust them, the fact is 70% of internet consumers prefer knowing about brands through blogs and posts than ads, and also because of the fact is that 25% of the internet users use ad blockers on their devices.
  7. Because many people don’t like to click on PPC ads, converting into leads from ppc ads is a long way to go, this can result in higher PPC costs, and investment than you planned to spend to get better ROI at the end of the day.

You can click here to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of PPC in detail.

Now let’s take a look at which marketing strategy is the best & why it is.

Which is best: SEO vs PPC?

In my opinion SEO is the best strategy you should be using in the long term because the traffic that

 SEO always has a higher conversion rate compared to PPC in almost every industry you can imagine. At the same time it is very cost effective compared to pay per click.

Why SEO is better than PPC is,

  1. It is free 
  2. It will help you increase the value, authority and traffic of your website in the long term
  3. It will also help you build the credibility with your audience, the fact is that 93% of the online experiences start with search engine, people have a lot of trust on Google and when they see your website ranking on higher positions of Google they trust your website as well and
  4. Last but not least the important fact is that people want to learn about brands through blog posts not ads because people know ads are very biased.

Because of all these amazing reasons I would recommend you to consider using SEO over PPC for your career and business.

But, PPC is not completely bad either, you can also leverage pay per click in the short term game.

Below I have listed down different scenarios and situations where you can implement marketing strategies both Search Engine Optimisation and pay per click.

So let’s take a look.

When to use what?

There are specific conditions & situations where using a specific strategy works better than the other one and let’s take a look at which situation using SEO is better than PPC and vice versa.

When to consider SEO?

You should consider leveraging SEO over PPC in the following situations.

  1. If you want to either increase the value, authority of your website and build a brand where people can visit and get the information they want as a trusted source, you can use SEO and start publishing content and build backlinks to your website.
  2. If you like to sell your website after you build it to some extent then you can consider using this strategy by getting some initial traffic from SEO, increase its value and sell it on platforms like website flipper which is a great business model for making money online.
  3. You are a patient human being and you want to get consistent results in the long term and do not have much budget to invest money for short-term results.
  4. You have a business where you first have to educate people from top of the funnel before you get them to purchase your product.

In all these situations you should consider using Search Engine Optimisation as your marketing strategy.

Now you might be wondering how do you learn SEO,

You can find many resources online where you can learn SEO from many popular blogs like  backlinko, search engine land and search engine journal and you can also read my guide on how to start SEO for website from scratch and you can also purchase popular SEO books and watch videos on youtube or take a seo certification course on Udemy, etc.

When to consider PPC?

You should consider leveraging pay per click strategy over SEO in the following circumstances.

  1. You want to increase your brand awareness faster.
  2. You have a new E-Commerce business in a competitive industry.
  3. You don’t have enough time or interest to create content, build links or wait for Google to rank your website organically.
  4. You don’t have an optimized website for search engines.
  5. You only want to get hyper relevant and targeted traffic to your website from a specific area and demographics.
  6. You have a product where you want to test the effectiveness and looking for some feedback.
  7. You are selling a product that is time sensitive and not going to last long.
  8. You want to have an edge over your competitors, dominate in SERP’s for a specific keywords category especially for branded keywords.
  9. You want to rank for a competitive keyword fast and get results soon.

PPC works very well in these situations, but I know you might wonder, how do you learn PPC?

Similar to Search Engine Optimisation you can also learn pay per click via reading blogs online like wordstream, Neil Patel and 

you can also take different courses and certification programs that teach you how to run ads on Google by Google adwords  & Facebook ads .

For more detailed information you can read this guide on how to learn digital marketing from scratch and start a digital marketing agency of your own.

You can also read best digital marketing ideas you can start in detail here.

SEO & PPC : what about the hybrid strategy?

Instead of choosing one over the other, why not try and consider leveraging both marketing strategies like a hybrid version.

Here are ways you can use both marketing strategies and it can benefit you.

  1. Using both SEO and PPC for your strategy can result with higher traffic to your website because, even if seo results get 65% of total search traffic, people still click on PPC results which is remaining 35% in Google.
  2. By utilising both SEO and PPC for your website you can stop or outrank your competitors to bid on your business brand name because many people like to bid on other companies brand name which are successful so that they can get some traffic and exposure from others, you can avoid this from happening for your website by using both ppc and seo.
  3. Using both SEO and PPC, you can capture more space on the search results page, this can help you with more brand awareness and people can get to know more about your website.
  4. You can retarget all the people who visited your website from SEO with PPC ads and get customers who already know and interacted with your website and content before, this is much better than trying to convert people into leads who have never visited your website before.
  5. Using both SEO and PPC you will have access to lot of Amazing data about keywords and their search volume through impressions because you will have access to rank in higher positions of Google even above the organic results of SEO, you can also get access to amazing data and get feedback of your products, ad layouts and copy and much more.
  6. You can drive targeted traffic to your website from a specific location for example if you only want to get traffic from London in the United Kingdom, use PPC and convert that traffic into leads through email subscribers, if you can’t get them through SEO because of competition.

These are all the various methods you can use and their benefits.

With that said let’s conclude the blog post.

Ending remarks.

These are all the things you need to know about SEO vs PPC.

Share the blog post with your family and friends if you have found it helpful.

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Do comment down which marketing strategy you want to use for your business and career.

I will catch you next time till then keep learning and keep growing.

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