When it comes to digital search marketing, there are two routes your company can take, PPC or SEO. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is when an ad is purchased in the sponsored result section of a search engine result page. Your company then pays for each click a viewer makes from that ad. Search engine optimization (SEO) is organically increasing your company’s website ranking on search engines. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. So how do you know which digital search marketing strategy would be best for your company? Here are the pros and cons of PPC and SEO to help you determine which would be best for you.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

As we’ve said, PPC advertising is when you purchased sponsored ad space in search engine results pages. Your company will then pay each time a user clicks on the ad and goes to your website. The process for getting a PPC ad involves you auctioning and competing for ad space under certain keywords. Big search engine sites such as Google and Bing are popular for PPC but so are social media sites like Facebook.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages to a pay-per-click digital marketing campaign.

AdvantagesPPC Advantages

A huge advantage to PPC that SEO doesn’t offer is immediate results. Your company will be featured prominently on search result pages generating increased traffic. Compared to SEO, another huge benefit of PPC is its measurability. Results are easily measured in terms of traffic, lead generation, and sales conversion.

PPC campaigns are also easily segmented based on desired targeted audiences and locations. Ads can be placed in focused platforms to reached targeted audiences. Social media platforms, like Facebook, offer PPC that allows you to target specific audiences based on location, interests, and age and gender demographics. Google Ad words are also a great way to use PPC to target based on location. If your company is trying to drive up business in a localized area buying PPC keywords specific to that location is a great way to reach that audience.

Automatic bidding is a definite pro to PPC. It allows companies to stay within budget constraints and control your ad spending. Algorithms on Facebook and Google give you suggestions on what keywords and pages will benefit your company the most. If your company needs increasing traffic, to out beat another competitor’s domain, or to be visible on a front page automatic bidding can guide you. Essentially, PPC through automatic bidding helps you target your needs and stay within budget.

DisadvantagesPPC Disadvantages

As with any digital search marketing strategy, there are downsides in addition to the advantages. A major disadvantage of PPC is that it can be expensive. Depending on the site and keywords chosen, PPC ads can suck up your marketing budget. Google PPC ads are 1-2 dollars on average with the most competitive words running up to $50. Very few companies see a significant ROI for PPC ads.

While PPC provides immediate results, the results are not long lasting. Once a PPC campaign stops, the ads disappear- along with your visibility. That means that if your company didn’t generate the leads needed during the PPC campaign it was all for nothing. There’s also the fact that many users have a distrust of paid advertising. Audiences and users tend to find it unauthentic and of lesser quality compared to organic results. This is a problem that affects the whole advertising field and it has continued to bleed into digital advertising.

Pay-per-click campaigns can be complicated and confusing. They don’t always work well with other aspects of a marketing campaign. In addition, while automatic bidding does give guidance on how to solve certain problems, not every company knows how to use this or even knows it exists. That results in companies using PPC for keywords that aren’t the most beneficial to them.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is building organic traffic and achieving higher rankings by optimizing website content. There are both technical and not technical aspects that go into SEO. Your site will get revamped so that it runs and has content that is pleasing to search engines. This will help increase your search result ranking for keywords. SEO is a digital search marketing technique that has gained popularity over the last few years. Here are its advantages and disadvantages.

AdvantagesSEO Advantages

A huge advantage of SEO campaigns is that they have longer lasting results than PPC. SEO should be maintained, as results will slip once it is stopped. However, when SEO has stopped all the work that was done during the campaign, all the content that was written and the pages that were optimized, remain. Results slip simply because other competitors are still working on increasing their SEO. An SEO campaign will also make sure your site is optimized and runs at it’s best. This will mean search engines are more favorable to it and that users have a better experience.

SEO isn’t free, contrary to popular belief, but it is more economical compared to PPC. While you’ll still be paying an SEO company, the costs are significantly less while the results are more. SEO will also give your company higher quality leads results in better conversion rates. You will be paying less to get a higher quantity of traffic and better quality of leads. SEO campaigns can target specific audiences and locations based on focused keywords. PPC can offer the same thing but a benefit of SEO is that multiple keywords and locations can be targeted all at once without increased cost.

In addition to technical benefits like a better site, higher rankings, and more traffic, SEO provides assistance for your brand. SEO will increase brand awareness with your target audience. Your target audience and locations will be able to find you better and see quality information about your brand. SEO will also raise your brand’s reputation and authority. Users tend to trust organic search results more than sponsored posts or advertising. An organic ranking and quality content tell your audience your know what you’re talking about.

DisadvantagesSEO Disadvantages

SEO campaigns have their disadvantages too. The biggest disadvantage compared to PPC is that SEO results take time. Building up organic results will take months at the minimum. With SEO measuring results can be difficult. Keyword ranking and traffic is easy to measure but other factors like visibility, reputation and user experience are harder to judge.

With PCC you know what results you are paying for. Unfortunately, for SEO there are no guaranteed results. An SEO company will set goals but any company that promises first page rankings guaranteed is a scam. Part of the reason there are no guaranteed results is that there is no full control with SEO. Search engine ranking algorithms are constantly changing. Only they have full control, not your company or the SEO company.

With SEO there is also a risk of being penalized. If SEO is done improperly your company’s ranking can actually go down. This can be avoided by hiring an SEO company that knows what they’re doing. It’s important to know that SEO should be continually maintained. Like PPC, once you stop with SEO your ranking will suffer. The consequences of stopping aren’t as immediate or drastic as with PPC but they are still there.

Which is Better?

The answer to which is better for your company, PPC or SEO, is it depends on your company. You should look at your company needs, your timeline, and your budget. The best results will be achieved by using a combination of PPC and SEO. PPC elements can be used to build immediate exposure and used in short bursts. SEO elements should be used to build up long-term, organic growth. When used together correctly, PPC and SEO can highlight each other’s advantages and compensate for each other’s disadvantages.

Contact us today to discuss how SEO and PPC can help your company.