SEO or PPC? The Business Owners Dilemma?

Marketing costs money. But then you already knew that.

For business owners the question isn’t necessarily ‘how much will it cost?’ or even ‘can I afford it?’ so much as ‘where should I spend my money?’

And this is especially the case when it comes to choosing between SEO and PPC ads.

Hold up *sounds of DJ wheeling back the record*

We are on the same page here, right? You do know what PPC and SEO are? Of course you do.

But let’s assume you need a refresher.

What is SEO?




That is what SEO stands for. It’s the fine art of getting your content found in the search results when someone searches for something on Google.

For example, if you’re searching for the term SEO vs PPC, hopefully this is the article you’ve found. *

(*looking at the results on page one for that specific term, it’s looking unlikely tbh)

What is PPC?




Which is PPC of course. PPC or pay per click relates to any form of online paid advertising, but usually refers to paid search results; aka Google Ads.

The reason PPC usually relates to Google Ads is because the classic paid search model charged you for an individual click on your ad.

However it is much more complicated these days. PPC can refer to anything from display ads on the Google Display Network (stay with me here buddy) , to pre-roll on YouTube or paying per 1000 impressions (cost per mille, or CPM).

Yeah PPC is complicated.

Not to say that SEO isn’t complicated, cos it bloody well is. But we’ve explained what PPC vs SEO is… Now.

Which is better? SEO or PPC?

While paying per click might seem like a predictable and reliable way to get traffic, the problem is that it isn’t sustainable in the long term. When you pay per click, you need to continue to pay or your traffic will drop off and then, ooops, no more customers.

With SEO, or search engine optimisation, the theory is that you build a long term foundation for a steady flow of organic traffic. You can then walk away, go on holiday, forget about your website and come back and then, oh, hey! I’ve still got people clicking that page.

Now thats not to say that PPC isn’t good for anything. PPC can be great for a quick boost of traffic on a campaign that needs eyes on it ASAP. For example if you’re running a Black Friday Sale, or you have a product launch next week, then you want people to know about it.

It can also be a clever way to drive traffic to a high value product. For example when selling cars, software subscriptions, casino games or legal services, paying for clicks will likely pay dividends in the short and medium term.

SEO, on the other hand, is a longer play. You tend to create a content strategy to develop your SEO over a period of time, which is more of an investment than a quick boost.

And this is where SEO falls a little short.

It can take time to build up your organic traffic with SEO and start to see consistent results. Especially if you’re running with a relatively small budget.

How long does it take for SEO to work?

There can be no definite answer about how long it takes for SEO to work because there are so many variables. For example:

  • How competitive is your industry?
  • How strong is your website?
  • Are you producing just blogs or a broader range of content?

Let’s say for example that you’re launching a relatively modest cyber security product and you want to start getting people to sign up for your monthly package.

The world of cyber security is one that is:

a. Super saturated with products that offer very high levels of protection, and…

b. Requires a level of brand familiarity for anyone to trust you and pay you big sums of money.

What this means is that your SEO efforts will probably not yield much in terms of organic traffic for, oh, at least a year.

It’s worth pointing out that investing in SEO at this point is still very much a good option. Because you’re looking at the future, you can say, ‘by this time next year I want to be ranking for this niche search term’. Which is potentially achievable with consistency and a good content strategy.

OK. Lets use a less competitive niche as an example instead. Lets say you’re offering a local boat tour and you want tourists to be sailing your boats in a month from now.

You could, realistically, be ranking for your main search term within one month, provided you have a good strategy. This will likely include:

  • Regular posting on your site
  • A campaign of creating guest posts on local business website (to get backlinks to your main service page)
  • Some social media
  • And probably a quick PPC campaign when the tourists are about for the summer hols…

Two examples, two massively differing time frames.

SEO vs PPC: Which is more cost effective?

Again, this is one of those questions that depends on your product or service, and your potential return on investment. Both PPC and SEO should offer a good ROI if done right. But you just need to know which one is right for you.

If you’re looking to get the best results for your SEO campaign, or you need a content strategy to get results ASAP – schedule a call.

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