There has been ongoing debate for years about which is better: making your way to the top using search engine optimization (SEO) or buying your way to the top using pay-per-click (PPC). Determining where to use your marketing dollars is nothing to be taken lightly, so it’s good to weigh the pros and cons of each to figure out where your money should be focused for the best ROI.
This methodology is traditionally referred to as organic lead generation because it stems from effective content on your website and the search engine recognizing that your site is the best fit for the search being performed. In order for your site to be effectively optimized, you must have useful, helpful content relevant to the search, as well as clean coding and a crisp, user-friendly website. Additionally,
utilizing inbound links from other websites can enhance your authority and improve your rankings, while a strong social media presence, blogging, and online videos can also be quite effective in accumulating quality links.
- SEO is extremely cost-effective, with long lasting results and minimal maintenance if implemented correctly
- SEO-related search engine positioning is fairly stable while PPC positions shift according to competitors’ bidding tactics. A well-optimized site that has strong link authority and good content can easily hold its search engine position even if you don’t work on your SEO for a month or so.
- SEO is notably slower than PPC. It can be months after optimization for results to start showing.
- SEO is a continuous process because your site is never 100% optimized. Your rankings will continue to increase, and you will reap the benefits long term, but it does require regular work.
- SEO is quite time-consuming, especially if you DIY it. While it is an option to purchase tools or hire someone to do it for you, it will end up costing money instead of time.
Essentially you buy clicks from Google or other search engines when you utilize PPC. This allows you to quickly leverage search engine traffic buy paying/bidding for specific keywords related to your business or services.
- PPC begins immediately, which means you do not have to wait for an increase in traffic and conversions. SEO can take months to show tangible results.
- PPC is controllable and can be scaled up or down, depending on your wants/needs and budget. SEO is less customizable because it can take longer and require more money if you’re in a particularly competitive industry or area.
- Using a PPC method means not worrying about algorithms and how they affect your positioning in the search engines. You’re paying for the top spots with PPC, but with SEO you have to make sure that you’re continuously keeping up with the search engine’s standards and best practices.
- PPC can be quite expensive, especially if you have significant competition. The prices will continue to increase as you competition grows and more businesses like yours start to use PPC as well.
- The research involved in determining your most effective keywords is significant and time-consuming. Managing your budget, measuring returns, and making necessary adjustments can quickly spiral into a full-time job. Hiring someone to do it for you can be great, but it is also quite expensive.
- PPC is an immediate on and off, so once you shut it off, it’s done. You lose all of your exposure, so you lose your leads. Can you survive if you suddenly can’t afford your PPC? SEO is a long-term solution that can handle being put on the backburner for a bit; PPC is not.
- Click fraud is an actual thing that happens, where companies will rapidly run up your click charges either manually or from a software. While Google can detect some of this, there are ways to avoid being detected.
What Will Work Best for My Company: SEO or PPC?
This is dependent upon your industry and budget. Both can work quite well for you, but you need to consider your long-term and short-term goals and needs. Utilizing both could be in your favor, at least until you’ve gotten yourself fully established one way or the other.