SEO vs PPC or SEO and PPC

by | Apr 23, 2021 | PPC

Should You Choose Between SEO and PPC or is it a Good Idea to Use Both?

Both SEO and PPC are beneficial for your business. When you would use either one of them depends on your specific goals, how you’re currently performing, and the size of your budget. Read ahead to learn about the benefits and disadvantages for each of these channels  – and to find out when you may want to use both at the same time – to see what strategy makes the most sense for your company.

SEO vs PPC: When Does it Make Sense to Use Only One Channel?

It helps to have a good understanding of both strategies before you allocate your budget to either of them.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Businesses benefit from SEO because of its ability to increase brand awareness and achieve stable, sustained growth. It’s a long-term strategy, which is why the results generally remain consistent.

But since it takes time to improve site rankings on SERPs, it can’t be a stand-alone approach if you need to see results quickly. And even though you don’t have to pay for each organic click, SEO isn’t a no-cost approach. There are a number of financial and time investments you must make to keep your site optimized.

For example, you’ll likely need an experienced marketing team to set up your site for technical SEO, to perform data analysis, assist with link-building, and provide content. As you continue to monitor your results – and as Google algorithms change – you’ll need to consistently invest in your site to tweak and optimize SEO strategy.

When Should You Focus on SEO?

  • If you want to expand awareness around your brand or product, a good content strategy will help to achieve that goal, whereas a PPC strategy will be more useful for prospects further down in the sales funnel.
  • If you use other sources or methods to drive sales, use SEO to build long-term growth, sustain or build on awareness, and improve your brand’s authority in your industry or local market.

PPC – Pay-Per-Click

It’s true that you have to spend money to see results if you use pay-per-click advertising, and you must be prepared to bid at a higher price for competitive keywords. But the money spent is highly targeted to serve ads to the most lucrative segments of your audience. And you’ll see instant results from a PPC campaign versus an SEO effort, which could take months to achieve the results you want.

You’ll always be positioned atop organic search results when you run PPC advertising. And while the CTR rate for organic results averages 28.5% for the first result, that figure drops to 2.5% for the 10th (or final) result on the first page of SERPs. Contrast that with the average CTR for PPC  – 3.17% – which is still higher than the last organic search link on the page.[1]

But SEO vs. PPC click-through-rate differences may not be an apples-to-apples comparison since those who click on an ad are likely to be further down the sales funnel and ready to purchase.

You’re able to optimize a PPC ad more quickly because you’ll know instantly which keyword(s) and ad led to the click and/or purchase. And PPC is an ideal way to test two different ads to see which performs better for a future campaign.

When Should You Focus on PPC?

  • When you need to drive sales quickly
  • Your emphasis is on prospects at the middle or bottom of the sales funnel
  • If you want to test an offer or a new product
  • If you have a set budget

Should Businesses Use Both SEO and PPC?

Each channel can complement the other and when you use either of them depends on what your business goals are and the size of your budget. But there are times when it makes sense to use them simultaneously:

  • Ecommerce companies will want to both increase awareness for their brands and improve their site’s relevance to gain organic links. But they’ll also need to deliver ads to meet specific sales goals.
  • The data you get from a PPC campaign can influence your SEO strategy in terms of keyword priority and the types of content you want to add.
  • PPC ads can be used to retarget people who came to your site via an organic visit but didn’t make a purchase.

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Do You Have SEO vs PPC Questions?

Full Circle SEM is a search engine marketing firm that has helped more than 100 small and medium-sized businesses discover the most effective online strategies for their immediate and long-term goals. We’re a data-focused organization that is driven by results, and we’ve built a network of the most talented marketing experts to provide full-service solutions. If you’d like to hear more about how we can drive traffic to your site and increase conversions, contact us here or call 888-757-2714. We look forward to hearing from you!




Justin Ober

Justin built his first website and eBay store while in high school (circa 1999) and has had a hand in internet marketing ever since. After graduating from Penn State University he headed for warmer weather in sunny South Florida, where he worked on both the client and agency side of digital marketing. Yada, yada, yada, he's since managed over $30 million in digital ad spend and is an expert in all things PPC.

If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, call 888-757-2714 or contact us here today.