faq: what is better: seo or ppc?

Digital Marketing Strategy, Helpful Tips, Paid Digital Advertising, SEO


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The age-old question: what’s better for your digital marketing plan, SEO or PPC? The short answer? A combination of both is what is going to get you your best bang for your buck. The long answer, well, we will explain that below. 




    • Long Term Potential – Because SEO is a long game and takes time to build up your authority, it also takes some time to lose that credibility once you stop your efforts. This is different from PPC, where the minute you stop putting money into it, you stop getting results.
    • Trust – SEO affects your organic traffic, which many users view as more trustworthy than ads. Have you ever scrolled past the advertisements to get straight to the organic results? By ranking higher for specific keywords your audience is searching for, you are more likely to capture these types of users.
    • An Advantage Over The Competition – Because of its nature, SEO is not quick or easy to start ranking higher for relevant keywords. This can be a great thing when it comes to beating out the competition. Once you earn your ranks (although not permanent), it is difficult for your competitors to steal your spot, even if they add more money to their strategy. 
    • Awareness – With the right SEO strategy in place, you will be capturing the audience that is directly searching for something relevant to your business. More traffic to your website increases brand awareness, and providing answers to users’ search queries can ultimately lead to brand authority and trust. 


    • Timely – Commonly understood in the advertising world is that good SEO takes a lot of time. From starting a strategy to executing all of the moving parts to actually seeing results can take months.
    • Competition – If your company is just starting out and looking to compete for the same keywords as brand giants like Amazon or eBay, you may need to reconsider your strategy. These bigger brands likely have more time, resources, and authority to rank higher and higher continuously. 
    • Content – SEO relies heavily on strategic website content, and a lot of it. If your business is just starting out, you might not have the resources available to pump out SEO optimized content continuously, and it might be best to reevaluate your strategy. 




    • Options- PPC has more options than organic. For example, if you are a retail store that sells clothing, you can take advantage of Google’s shopping ads, and a picture of a relevant product will show up when someone searches. 
    • Position- Google shows a number of ads first over organic results. This means, with the right bidding strategy, your website or landing page will appear as the very first result when someone searches for one of your keywords. With 4 ad placements on desktop and 3 on mobile, even if users choose to scroll past the ads, they will have likely seen your ad. 
    • Immediate results – a huge benefit of PPC is you see results almost immediately, and you don’t have to wait months to see your efforts pay off. These fast results also make optimization possible, where you change your strategies and ads to maximize your ROI.
    • Control – with PPC, you also have more control over the entire process. With detailed targeting options, you can choose exactly who and when they see your ads and can turn them on and off with the click of a button. 
    • Competition – depending on your business, there are likely competitors that are either bidding on the same keywords as you or showing similar ads on other platforms. But the good news with PPC is you can manually adjust your bids to “out-compete” your competition and have your ads shown over theirs. 
    • A/B Testing – PPC allows for easily executable A/B testing efforts so you can analyze results and optimize your ads moving forward to improve their results continuously.


    • Cost – PPC can get pricey, fast. While there are ways to keep costs down and leads up, like A/B testing and optimizations, the cost to keep your ads above competitors and generate leads can add up quickly. 
    • Pay Per Click – PPC is exactly as it sounds, paying for each click, and that means the second you stop putting money behind your efforts, your ads are turned off, and no more results. 


bottom line:


Weighing all of the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC search, there really is no clear cut answer without looking at your specific company. For example, if you are a small local company looking to get a few leads a week, you could likely develop some good organic results for local searches with some simple SEO. 


If you are a business looking to go after similar keywords as retail giants like Amazon and eBay, your SEO efforts will likely fall flat, and PPC might be the better option. 


As a digital marketing agency in Syracuse and Rochester, NY, we recommend using a combination of both to get the best results from your marketing efforts. Both of these tactics have various pros and cons but ultimately work best when supporting one another. 


Benefits of using both:

  • Results from paid A/B testing efforts can be utilized in your organic landing pages and meta titles. 
  • You can retarget users who have visited your organic listings. 
  • You can quickly test messaging options in PPC efforts before committing to them for a longer SEO strategy. 
  • You can get more visitors to your site when you use both paid and organic. The more tactics you utilize, the more eyes you get on your website, the greater the brand awareness, and the more likely you are to get results. 


While a combination of both tactics is not right for every business or not plausible resource wise, it’s important to look at your businesses goals and determine what strategies would work best to help you achieve those goals.

If you are interested in learning more about PPC and SEO and what strategy would be best for your business, feel free to contact our experts here!

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