SEO vs PPC in 2021.January by Gugoslav.net
-SEO is all about ranking on the organic (or natural) results on a search engine results page (SERP).
-To succeed at driving increased visibility from SEO, it is important to understand how to properly optimize your website. You need to ensure that the search engines are able to crawl your site, understand your content, index it, and show that your site is a significant authority.
With more than 500 ranking factors used by Google’s Algorithm
The Pros of SEO
But just what are the main advantages of SEO that you need to know about when figuring out where to invest your marketing budget?
Organic SEO can be one of the most cost-effective ways of improving your site’s visibility and can place you right in front of your target customers and clients when they’re running a search for businesses just like yours.
Organic clicks are free, and won’t cost you a cent. Of course, it takes investment in time and resources but there are no ‘click’ costs, as there are when running a PPC campaign. Get SEO right and it’s free traffic.
Once you’ve achieved strong rankings from an SEO strategy, you can expect to see sustained results. Your business is showing to potential customers 24/7, whereas PPC ads will often stop displaying when the budget runs out or when you’ve specified to do so at less cost-effective times of the day.
Organic SEO usually means more stability. Your rankings should remain relatively consistent if you optimize your site in the right way. PPC ad positions can fluctuate a lot more depending on your competitor’s bidding strategy.
When it comes to running ads, you’re going to be more inclined to spend your budget on middle- or bottom-of-the-funnel keywords to drive conversions as quickly as possible. At least this is often the case for businesses working to limited marketing budgets. But when it comes to SEO, you can create content that targets each different stage of the funnel without needing to pay for every click.
In most cases, SEO is a more cost-effective channel than PPC in the long run, given that the costs involved in using an agency or hiring a team typically remain very similar even though traffic and conversions grow. This isn’t the case with PPC as you’re paying for every click.
On average, Google’s organic results attract more than ten times the number of clicks than paid results, according to a 2019 study by SparkToro. That means you get a higher volume of traffic to your website without worrying about ad spend.
The Cons of SEO
But with pros come cons, and here are some of the reasons why SEO isn’t always seen as the right strategy for every business:
SEO takes time, especially for a new business or domain. In fact, it can take months for your site to rank in top spots for competitive keywords. With PPC you see results as soon as your ad campaigns go live, as long as your bids are high enough.
To achieve SEO success in a competitive market you need to invest in SEO. Given that a solid organic strategy involves technical SEO, content creation, link building, data analysis, and more, you really need a team of experienced marketers to assist with a solid strategy. This means there could be a considerable investment either in building an in-house team or hiring a specialist agency.
SEO is an ongoing process that requires continued investment. There may be tweaks and improvements to make and you need to understand that your site will never be 100% “optimized.” From content creation to link building and ongoing technical SEO audits, there’s always work to be done.
SEO is time-consuming and can be overwhelming, especially given that Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithm every year. You’ll need to be sure to keep up with any algorithm updates in order to stay ahead of your competitors. Using the SEMrush Sensor can help you to keep an eye on changes.
SEMrush Sensor SERP Data Screenshot
There are no guarantees that, even with a sound strategy, you’ll outrank your competitors. But when a strategy does work, you’ll earn big wins. It’s an imperfect science that requires perseverance and patience.
The Pros of PPC
PPC allows you to see almost instant results. Almost immediately after your PPC campaign goes live, you’ll start to see traffic, clicks, and conversions. Meanwhile, it can take months to achieve these results with SEO.
You’ll probably have noticed where PPC ads are placed on SERPs: right at the top of the page.
Paid Ad Listing vs Organic Listing
This means that, on both mobile and desktop searches, PPC ads are the first thing that a searcher sees, way before any organic results. PPC gives you the opportunity to appear right at the top of the SERPs, in positions that aren’t even possible to achieve when you rely on SEO alone.
PPC also gives you opportunities to enhance your business’s presence on the search engines with things like phone numbers, callouts, and expanded site links. You have more opportunities to target a searcher’s attention to your ad.
The fact that running and managing a PPC campaign usually only needs an experienced paid search specialist, and perhaps a copywriter to write enticing ads and landing pages means that a smaller team of experts is needed in comparison to SEO.
When you’re running ads you’ve got an option to target your customers with search ads, shopping ads, video ads, Gmail ads, and more. You can use the right advertising formats to reach your audience and encourage them to buy from you or to make an inquiry. Take shopping ads, for example. Google has begun to roll out (again) free listings, these only show on the shopping tab and not the sponsored display right on the SERPs. However, organic listings don’t have the same variety of options to reach your audience.
Running a PPC campaign gives you a wealth of data on the keyword and ads that your customers click on before they make a purchase, as well as those which don’t result in a return. This means you’re able to quickly make changes to your campaign to better optimize it and improve your ROAS (return on ad spend).
It’s very quick and easy to run split tests and A/B tests with Google Ads, allowing you to take an ‘always be testing’ approach to running your campaign and drive continued improvements and bigger returns.
You can take a laser-targeted approach to serve ads to your specific customers. Whether you want to target searchers based on their location, the time of day, the device they use, or other factors, you can sculpt a PPC campaign to reach only the people who you know are more likely to buy.
With PPC, you don’t have to monitor Google’s algorithm updates as closely. You’re bidding on the top spot, so your organic rankings won’t matter as much.
The Cons of PPC
While PPC offers a wealth of benefits to businesses, it does come with its downsides, too:
Unlike SEO, traffic from PPC advertising isn’t free. Every single click that is made to your website from an ad, you’ve got to pay for. And while some industries see relatively low click costs, others can be upwards of $10 per click (see our CPC Map for more insights into estimated click costs). You can also use the Keyword Magic tool to see the estimated CPC for any keyword.
keyword magic tool CPC screenshot
For PPC ads, you have to spend money to get the results. And the more you invest, the better the results will be in terms of the number of clicks and conversions. Your conversion rate is an important metric to watch because if your traffic isn’t converting, you’re going to be wasting clicks and money.
As new competitors start to advertise, click costs can continue to rise. You may end up needing to pay more money, over time, to drive a conversion.
Unlike SEO, where you’re not going to be paying to start a campaign or strategy, you need a higher initial investment to get started given that you’ll be paying for clicks.
Besides click costs, you’ll need to consider people costs. You’ll need to pay for an agency, a freelancer, or employ someone on your team to manage your campaigns.
Once you turn ads off, your traffic stops. If you have to turn your PPC campaigns off, you need to think if your site will survive without those leads. It can be easy to become reliant on PPC alone to make your website a success, but a well-balanced approach to strategy can ensure you have no issues in the future.