5 points to consider when choosing between PPC and SEO

As one may guess, both PPC and SEO have their legit use case, and deciding how to allocate your budget between them depends on your circumstances and needs. Evaluating the following five factors will help you make the best decision for your business:

  • Time horizon: pay-per-click, if set up correctly, can generate almost instant and faster results for your business than organic search optimization.
  • Available resources: running your paid online campaign requires fewer resources than SEO. Setting up and running a successful campaign may not require much involvement from your web support team if your site and its landing pages have been strategically developed to generate and convert traffic. This is not true for SEO, which usually requires the close involvement of your website support team.
  • The funnel focus of the campaign: PPC can be set up to very effectively target customers at the final stage of their purchasing journey or conversion. SEO, in comparison, can efficiently target all parts of the marketing funnel at the same time.
  • The type of service or product advertised: services and products customers seek are more suitable for Google Ads than products and services that don't fit a category already established on the market. Introducing new services or product categories requires targeting the upper part of the marketing funnel - making the customers aware and interested in the new offering - for which PPC tends to be less effective than SEO.
  • Long-term budget: SEO tends to turn higher ROI in the long run than PPC. Our experience of working with a broad range of clients is that for PPC, the average conversion cost tends to be 2 to 4 X higher than SEO.

The ultimate decision between PPC and SEO

Considering the earlier points, it is easy to conclude that the decision is straightforward. Business is business, and having a higher ROI beats everything. In the long run, SEO beats PPC.

Not so fast. In all fairness, there is one more point to consider before making the ultimate decision.

  • Efficiency as a single channel: in general, with some exceptions, PPC can work well, whether it is used as a single channel marketing strategy or it is used in combination with SEO or other marketing channels. This is less true about SEO. (Learn the reasons why SEO is usually used alongside PPC [ another blog] )

Thus, the ultimate question is not about deciding between PPC and SEO but allocating your marketing budget. Yes, in the long run, SEO tends to be more cost-efficient and has a higher ROI than PPC. Still, usually, it only generates a high ROI if combined with a strategically set up and managed PPC campaign.

Let us help you find the right advertising mix for your business. Contact us for a digital marketing audit.