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SEO vs. PPC: What is the Better Search Marketing Method?


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Traffic helps keep websites going, and many sessions or users that come to a website have a number of potential customers who are going to pay for using a product or service. Huge traffic to a website will, in turn, lead to success for many businesses.

Many people have a tendency to ask whether search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) will be better for a website. The answer will depend on many aspects, including the kind of business you are in, what your objectives are, and your marketplace.

What is SEO? Growing your Organic Traffic

SEO refers to the process of increasing a website’s visibility when people are searching for products or services online. SEO is important because Google or Bing searches are widely used by many people to find what they are searching for, and they will often seek quality and trust in search engine suggestions by visiting the websites displayed at the top of search results. 

Why should you use SEO?

Higher Return on Investment (ROI)

The good thing about SEO is that you do not have to heavily invest in every single keyword that you want to rank for. Rather, you can just optimize your website so long as you keep all of the different algorithms and guidelines in mind.


You do not have to spend a lot of money to create SEO value. You can certainly hire an agency for SEO assistance but you can also just as easily invest your own time and no money in improving your website’s SEO value.


If you are able to rank highly for your chosen keywords, then the exposure you receive will be much more valuable than many other paid methods of advertising.


By ranking in the top positions of search engine results pages (SERPs), you automatically increase the trustworthiness of your website. The higher you rank, the more trustworthy you will be in comparison to those ranking below you.


One of the best parts of SEO is that your ranking can be sustained for a long while, even when you stop your SEO efforts. This will be much different from most paid marketing efforts.

What is PPC? Gaining Niche Targeted Visibility

PPC is a kind of search marketing in which an advertiser will pay a fee whenever a user clicks on their ad that is typically placed at the top of organic search results on SERPs. You will simply be buying user visits as opposed to earning them through organic or SEO efforts. 

Why should you use PPC?

Brand Impression

When you spend on Google ads, it can help increase your brand’s presence and create greater recall in a person’s mind when your ad begins appearing above the fold.


You will be able to target your ads to very specific sets of users based on dates, times, locations, or other kinds of demographic data. 

Quick Visibility

PPC will provide immediate visibility when compared to SEO. Whereas ranking for a chosen keyword can take considerable time, PPC can instantly increase your visibility at what could be a reasonable cost.


You will have to pay for every click you get, and not every person who clicks ends up being a buyer. On the other hand, you will also increase the likelihood of a visitor becoming a buyer and can stand to gain much more than you would get under traditional SEO efforts.

Differences Between SEO & PPC 

There are several differences between organic SEO results and PPC ads, with three big ones you will want to know about.

Placement on SERPs

PPC ads will always be at the top of SERPs above the fold areas while organic SEO results are shown below paid ads. The first listings on most SERPs are dedicated to paid ads while organic results get the remaining spots on a page. 

The placement cost

With PPC, a business has to pay for every ad they place on a SERP while organic SEO will basically be free. The rankings achieved for website content in the SERP with SEO is organic. 

Amount of space occupied in the SERP

Paid ads get the prime real estate on a SERP because they appear at the very top of a page and will be the first things a user sees. The amount of space occupied by organic results with SEO can be much more than that, and may also provide additional information in the form of maps, snippets, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and more.  

SEO Pros and Cons

SEO Pros

SEO is cost-effective compared to other marketing strategies. The results of organic SEO are also long-lasting. 

While it might take some time to get results, you can know that the results will grow with time as more results pour in. Also keep in mind that many users skip paid advertisements and trust the search engine to deliver organic results for search queries, so SEO builds trust and reputation for a brand.

Because SEO is free, the ROI is much higher when compared with PPC. Organic SEO also offers a better cost-per-click since there are no fees for any click.  

SEO Cons

Organic SEO can take considerable time to garner real results. If you want people to read your website, share content, and link to your website, you need to be seen as an authority on a subject. 

SEO is rarely a solution for all of your marketing woes. It is instead a continuous process that will only work in your favor when you keep working at it.

PPC Pros and Cons

PPC Pros

Google and other search engines place paid ads above organic results, which will give you more views. PPC also allows you to better target customers using the best keywords, brands, languages, demographics, locations, devices, and other factors.

Everybody sees paid ads. Even when they are not clicked on, they will always be present right above the fold.

You will have complete control over a marketing strategy with PPC. You are the one who decides which keywords to include, the call to action (CTA), pricing, and landing page.

PPC lets you choose visual ads, so you can increase the recall value and click-through rate (CTR). Once a PPC campaign kicks off, you will almost always see immediate results.

PPC Cons

The problem with PPC is that once you stop putting money into paid ads, the traffic will stop, the clicks will stop, and the conversions will stop. You also have to overcome the fact that many people are skeptical about paid ads and generally do not trust them.

The ROI is not always as encouraging as you hope, as you might be spending more money than you want to make money and the tradeoff is hard to make favorable.

Which is better for my business? SEO or PPC?

When it comes to SEO or PPC as a matter of which is the better marketing strategy for your business, the answer will often depend on your business goals, growth plans, and other marketing strategies. When you need instant clicks, conversions, and targeted marketing, then paid search may be your better bet. 

Organic SEO should still be a priority if you are considering your long-term goals, such as improving brand credibility, exposure, and scalability within a budget. In many cases, it can be in your best interest to incorporate the two strategies together to benefit your business.  

SEO and PPC are two different strategies that are often working towards the same goal. While both strategies offer their respective benefits, it can be better to combine both strategies to leverage their respective potentials. 

SEO can help you achieve your long-term marketing goals while PPC can help you achieve your immediate short-term goals. Many of the keyword and content ideas researched for PPC can then be used for SEO. 

You may want to bring your SEO and PPC teams together to come up with a combined strategy that works toward a common goal. Extract keyword and conversion data from a PPC campaign to use in your organic SEO.

When you are purchasing paid ads for your highest-performing keywords and optimizing your organic content for the same, you can increase your chances of being featured at or near the top of SERPs. In collaboration with SEO, PPC will allow you to remarket your products and services to people who have previously visited your website but stopped short of making a purchase.

SEO can be the more cost-effective method of marketing with a higher ROI, but PPC can deliver quick visibility and perhaps greater conversion metrics. A combination of both SEO and PPC can again be the most beneficial for meeting both short-term and long-term traffic goals.


Social Media Assistance in Houston, TX | SERP Matrix

SERP Matrix is a Houston digital marketing agency that offers both of these services. You can count on us for help with local SEO as well as PPC advertising.

SERP Matrix has a team of digital marketing experts who are ready to work hard for you. Call us at (713) 287-1134 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation so we can take a longer look at your case and outline what we can do for you.


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