SEO vs. PPC: Which One Is More Suitable For Your Business Strategy?

SEO vs. PPC: Which One Is More Suitable For Your Business Strategy?

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For online advertising, the search engine is where all begins. Google owns 81% of the search engine market, leaving its competitors way behind. Therefore, search engine optimization is the key to making your content visible. Here we come to the long-standing debate that spirals all over the internet- SEO vs. PPC.

Which one is the better option and how do you decide? Here are some pointers that can help you decide which is more suitable for your business.

The main features, pros and cons of SEO

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. It implies a process of optimizing a website and webpages in a way that increases their organic reach and visibility in search engines. Therefore, without the influence of additional advertisement tools such as paid ads and direct traffic. Various algorithms are used to determine which content and in what order will be shown in the browser (SERPs) for a specific query.

Example of organic reach for the keyword "SERP".
Image credits: @Google

The ranking on the image example above is a direct result of the organic reach that the sites have for this specific keyphrase. And that is mostly due to the implementation of good SEO techniques.

A bigger volume of organic reach will mean a higher position in the search engine. The most critical part of SEO is identifying what search engines consider relevant since the rules and algorithms are changing constantly.

Google owns more than 81% of the search engine market share.

Advantages of SEO vs. PPC:

  • SEO is much cheaper – To optimize your website perfect, you will need to invest in a content team. While it sounds costly, it is quite worth it in the long run. The website or a blog that ranks for over a hundred thousand keywords will be at the top of the search results, which generates more views. Trying to achieve the same result through PPC will be ridiculously expensive.
  • Results compound over time – A high potential to bring in compounding ROI over time is a great advantage that makes SEO better than PPC and traditional marketing strategies in the longterm. As long as you are ranking high in the SERPs for the right keywords, search engine optimized sites will generate new views even if you slow down the production of new content.
  • More appealing for users – Organic search results are getting 70% of the clicks since most internet users ignore paid ads. People tend to scroll down on the result list until they get to the source without Ads attached to it.

Cons of SEO

  • Slow process – It can pass some time until you see the results of SEO. Roughly, it can take about 4-6 months for your website to start to generate a volume of views and a better rating. For those who want to see an instant result, this marketing strategy isn’t the best fit.
  • Depending on volatile algorithms – PPC is much more certain since its algorithms aren’t so unpredictable. To make things even worst, they are constantly changing. You will have to keep up with all of them since non-complying can result in charges or penalties.
  • High standards for the quality of content – Authority and relevance are one of the most important principals of SEO. As such, it requires experts who can create content up to the highest standards. And that bar is quite high due to fierce competition and saturation of niches. Also, the content has to be updated constantly to keep up with algorithm updates while the fees of experienced content writers are increasing drastically.

What Is PPC And What Are Its Benefits

On the other hand, PPC is “pay-per-click” system. It’s quite simple – advertisers pay a publisher for ads that are clicked by its users. The most common form of PPC advertising is Google Ads, so popular that has become synonymous with “paid search”. RevContent, AdRoll, and Bidvertiser are also some of the PPC advertising platforms.

How does that work? Well, advertisers usually bid on keywords or key phrases that are most suitable for their niche, while advertising platforms are helping businesses to find new customers through these keywords. For example, if you search “PPC software” via Google, the first results in the browser will be paid ads. The same goes for almost any phrase you’re looking up that contains keywords that brands are interesting to position with.

On Google PPC ads are ranking before the sites with massive organic reach.
Image credit: @Google


PPC model has the biggest presence in advertisements for social media platforms. All giants like Facebook, Twitter, Quora and LinkedIn are using it.

When it comes to SEO vs. PPC for advertisement on social media, PPC might be more efficient.

Pros that makes paid ads a winner in the battle of SEO vs. PPC:

  • Fast results – If you wish instant results, PPC is the model by your preferences. With the right strategy that’s meeting people’s intent, PPC can pay off in the matter of days.
  • Very adaptable – Alongside quick results, other important advantages of this model are its more loosen algorithms. As long as you’re funding your ads, campaigns can be quite flexible.
  • Oriented toward buyers – PPC is targeting people who are searching for a particular product, considering or are ready to buy. That’s why it is getting more conversion.

Cons of PPC:

  • Expensive – In highly competitive and saturated industries, keywords are much more expansive. To outbid the competitors, you might have to empty your wallet. Just be careful that advertising for your product doesn’t get more expensive than the product itself.
  • Sometimes requires constant tweaking – While PPC is easy to scale, the campaigns are getting less effective the longer you run it. A way to change it requires often changes or tweaking of ad copy. Something that can be costly and taxing.
  • Requires startup costs – As its name reveals it, you have to spend money to make money when using this model. For a new business with a restricted marketing budget, this can be a serious issue, especially considering that PPC campaigns can fail at first.

SEO vs. PPC: Who Wins The Battle?

In the end, who’s the winner of this long-standing battle? The answer is none. There can’t be winners and losers when both can generate great results if used wisely.

On the contrary of many new marketer’s beliefs, SEO and PPC aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, brands that are using both models are the most successful ones. Combining these two approaches creates a powerful tool that can make a brand force to be reckoned with. Their optimal mix carefully planned by business goals and niche is the best way to get exposure, establish as a reliable source and authority, increase sales, and attract new customers or readers.

While the SEO and PPC working together are almost bulletproof strategy, it can add up to significant funding. It might not be the problem for big companies, but for start-ups and new businesses with a limited budget, this is a serious issue.

So, one is not necessarily better over the other, but one can be more suitable for your business model if you have to choose. Which one you will select depends between SEO vs. PPC depends solely on your needs, preferences, business goals, and means. Define these criteria, and you will see which one is more suitable for your project at the moment. The good thing is that you can always add or shift your approach to the other model when you have a more flexible budget.