We've had other local companies with less SEO knowledge instead ask us, "are paid ads better? or is ranking organically in Google results better?"
TL;DR - SEO vs PPC: Which Should You Use?
- It depends
SEO vs PPC: Which Should You Use?
Before we dive into which you should use, lets answer a few vital questions as it pertains to SEO and PPC.
The hard part about SEO is that you can't pay to instantly appear in those results. It takes a lot of dedicated time, effort and calculated strategy in order to slowly move your website up in the rankings.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the process of attempting to rank your website one the first page of Google, high up on the page for certain, specific keywords.
A big part of hiring an SEO expert that knows what they're doing, is analyzing your competitors and also figuring out how to optimize your website for Google.
Once those items are taken into account, the firm you've hired to do SEO can get to work and help you rank better.
1. Organic traffic has staying power
When you finally rank high in Google for your desired keywords, that means that Google trusts your site.
And when Google trusts your site, there's staying power behind that. You (generally) no longer have to pay an SEO expert to keep you there.
The one exception is when you're in a very, very competitive niche - for example, personal injury law.
In that case, there's consistent, monthly SEO work that would need to be done.
SEO - by far - is known to be one the best scalable long-term strategies for getting more clients / customers to your business online - local or otherwise.
2. SEO is often less expensive in the long term
You'll find that when doing PPC, these very competitive keywords that people are searching for that are $50 per click.
And that's just a starting point.
There's companies that spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars a month on PPC.
Or.. you could hire a couple people to do SEO work for you, and not pay hundreds or thousands / millions of dollars a month to do so.
And once your SEO campaign is successful, guess what - you'll be at the top and won't have to pay them anymore.
With PPC - the moment you stop paying, your ads come down and guess what - you'll have to pay more again to keep them where they were.
1. SEO takes time
Anything hard to do is worth doing. This goes for SEO.
SEO takes months. It takes about 6-12 months to start seeing any meaningful results - potentially longer depending on how competitive your niche is.
However the benefits are absolutely worth it. The end goal is be visible where people look, which is on the first page of Google.
If you get there, you get new customers / clients. It's that simple.
2. SEO requires good, fresh, consistent content on your website
A big part of why blogs exist - including this one - is two fold:
- Provide value to potential and current customers
- To help rank in Google
In order to help your website climb up the rankings of Google, one big part is updating your website with fresh content on a weekly basis.
Google loves fresh content. And the more quality and fresh content you output, Google will reward you with higher rankings.
Although this process does take time and investment. Completely worth it, though.
What is PPC?
PPC is an advertising model where you pay Google to place you high in search results, and subsequently you're paying for clicks. Hence, Pay Per Click.
1. Fast results
For SEO, you won't see results for months.
However with PPC, you can start a campaign right away and immediately be placed at the top of Google.
2. Laser targeting
With PPC, you can target your ads to show up for certain things. For example - age, gender, interests people have, region, etc.
For SEO, you can't. Thus with PPC, you can laser target and only pay for the type of people you want.
1. PPC will be ridiculously expensive
Depending on your industry, PPC can be super expensive.
For example - the phrase 'car insurance' = $40 / click. And it goes without saying that just by people clicking and going to your website, absolutely does not guarantee a sale.
With an unoptimized - or even optimized - PPC campaign, you can still lose a lot of money using PPC.
2. PPC can lose effectiveness
Ads get stale over time.
You can't use the same ad, with the same copy over and over and expect clicks. People get bored.
This means you'll have to constantly adjust your ads to stay fresh and get clicks.
3. You need to constantly invest money
This in my opinion is the biggest con, and why with my clients I tend to pick SEO over PPC.
PPC is something where for years on end, you need to invest money in.
The moment you stop paying - your ads go away.
Where with SEO, you pay monthly for maybe 6-12 months. But then you'll rank well, and never (generally) have to invest again.
Final thoughts on the SEO vs. PPC: Which Should You Use?
If you want fast results, choose PPC. But beware that you'll always be investing month to month - forever - to keep those ads placed high.
If you want results that are scalable, way cheaper in the long run but will take longer to come into effect, choose SEO.