PPC vs SEO – Which Should I Choose for My Business?

When you’re launching your new website or online business, you have to invest a significant amount of attention, energy and resources into your marketing. You have an immense number of options when you’re looking to boost your online presence and make your website more popular. But it usually boils down to two main methods of marketing.

These are PPC and SEO. Both of these are powerful in their own right and can give you all the traffic you need to make your business successful. You can either pay for traffic by paying for it through PPC advertising programs like what Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing offers among others. You can also incorporate the best SEO practices or hire a SEO specialist to earn organic traffic from search results.

Nobody can say whether PPC or SEO is better, because it mostly depends on the kind of website and business you’re operating. It depends on your needs and your budget. There are also a few of other questions you’ll need to answer before you can figure out the answer. That is why we decided to help you out with doing so. First, you’ll need to establish your exact needs and then look through your options and resources to find out whether SEO or PPC is right for you. So, without further ado, let’s get down to it!

What’s Your Advertising Budget?

The first and most obvious condition that can answer your question whether you should use SEO or PPC is your advertising budget. If you have at least some money to spend on advertisements, you can start with a minimum of 5$ to 10$ per day. But if you can’t spend on advertising right now, then go with SEO because it’s free.

However, if you have at least a bit of capital to invest into paid advertisements, than you’ll experience a lot of benefits. These are the following:

  • Fast Testing – Your website’s main focus is to achieve conversion, no matter what you’re selling. The goal of the website is to have the user take action. If you can actively test your website and optimize it in the process, you can increase conversion rates. You need traffic in order to generate data and see how your website performs. Purchasing some traffic is an outstanding way to get good and fast results.
  • SEO Algorithm Changes Won’t Cause Problems – The greatest problem every SEO investment faces is when Google updates the algorithm from time to time. When this happens, if your site was optimized in a specific way, it might lose rankings. If you lose your ranking, than you’ll use some of your profits as well. Usually this happens overnight and you can’t even prepare for it. However, when you pay for traffic, you get your money’s worth and receive a steady flow of traffic. It doesn’t matter what changes in Google’s search algorithm.

But using PPC takes a bit of learning, so you shouldn’t go all in with it. Start out with a small targeted campaign and connect it with your Google Analytics account to see how far it will take you.

What’s The Average Price of CPC’s In Your Niche?

CPC stands for cost per click. Most CPC platforms allow its users to bid the amount they are willing to pay for one click, which can vary greatly depending on what keyword they are targeting. For example, if you want to target people who search for the keyword „lose weight fast”, check out the CPC in Google’s External Keyword Research Tool -> Traffic Estimator. It can be cents or can go as high as $30 per click. If you’re faced with prices like this, it will be pretty difficult as a fresh advertiser. So opting for SEO would be the best course of action.

How Competitive Are Search Engine Rankings in Your Niche?

Before you make your decision, you should also evaluate how competitive the search engine results pages are within your niche. You can do this by entering the keywords into Google’s External Keyword Research tool or MOZ’s keyword explorer. It will give you an approximate monthly search volume and show you the level of competition the keyword has. It will also show the number of advertisers who are currently bidding on your keyword.

In most niches, the keywords you would be targeting are all dominated by authority pages. It might seem impossible to compete with them without a massive investment of capital. In this case, it’s a much better option to pay for PPC campaigns.

Using Both at The Same Time

It’s not always necessary to make a choice between PPC and SEO, because you can use both of them together. In fact, if you have the time or human resource investment necessary for SEO and the capital required to run PPC campaigns, you’ll launch your website off to a really good start.

When to Use SEO or PPC To Increase Your Profit

While both SEO and PPC are effective methods of gaining online traffic, they are best suited for specific circumstances. You might encounter some difficulties in gaining traffic with them for the same reason. Depending on your target audience and what you’re offering, you’ll be able to achieve better results.

ppc-seo-example-google

When Should You Use SEO?

Here are a couple of circumstances where it’s better to use SEO above PPC.

  • When You Want To Create an Authority Website – Establishing yourself as an authority or a thought leader in your industry will take quite some time. Becoming the „go to” website isn’t a walk in the park. But once you get there, it will generate plenty of traffic for free and you can monetize that traffic. Once you build up your reputation to this point, you’ll dominate the market. The only way to achieve this is through the production of powerful content and an intelligent SEO strategy.
  • When You Want To Add Value To Your Website – You might want to sell your website one day, even if you’re running a good business with it. In that case, having a consistent flow of organic traffic and a high page rank will help you sell that website for a premium price.
  • When You Want Consistent Results – It takes longer to get results with SEO, but in return, it will provide the ROI for longer. Once you establish yourself in a good rank, you’ll have a consistent stream of traffic. You can also work to maintain and improve your results from there, which will bring further benefits.

When Should You Use PPC?

Using PPC can make your ads appear on numerous Social Media sites, on website banners, even in some chat applications as well. You can use Google AdWords, Facebook’s Ad Program, Bing Ads, Messenger or any Niche specific PPC system as long as you know exactly who you want to target.

So in which scenarios is it best to use PPC marketing? Here are a few cases where using PPC would be highly beneficial.

  • When You Need Immediate Results – You can make a lot of money by creating content, promoting it on a PPC program and directing it’s viewers to a landing page. This method alone can earn you thousands of dollars. You can start counting the minutes before you see a rush of visitors who come to your website. Once you start a campaign on a PPC system, your ads will appear in front of millions of users. The load of traffic you get will be instantaneous. Thanks to all these benefits, PPC works really well with squeeze pages, product launches, affiliate marketing, especially if you’re working with high converting offers. Furthermore, you can also use it on event-focused marketing, seasonal promotions, online business campaigns, joint venture projects and whatever else comes to mind. PPC can be highly effective when you want to get some targeted traffic onto your site and fast.
  • When You Need Highly Targeted Traffic – One of the things that makes PPC promotions so effective is the fact that they offer highly targeted traffic. You can narrow down your prospects according to a specific demographic. A lot of social media sites like Facebook can be very precise in who they target and can help you find people based on their hobbies, their favorite bands, the communities they join and be much better at serving people’s business needs.
  • When What You’re Promoting Is Time-Sensitive – Events, a lot of marketing products and services have an expiration date which is always a race against time. The long gestation period of a SEO campaign can produce belated results, and might not be worth to invest time into. However, at times when you really need to be fast, some experience in PPC marketing can be a real godsend.
  • When Your Website is Not Made To Fit SEO Requirements – SEO requires your website to be rich in content and to get updated on a regular basis. This is the only way you can show the search engines that your site is relevant, remind them to keep ranking your site at the top. Some websites are just not made with this purpose in mind and that’s fine. For a lot of websites, the traffic they generate through PPC campaigns is perfect as long as it converts into actual buyers.
  • If You Want To Be On Top Of Search Results for a Specific Keyword – As you already saw in most search results, there is always a website on top that says „Advertisement”. It got there because they paid to be there. In that case, about 50% of the traffic that comes from the keyword will go to that site. If you’re not using PPC, you’ll lose a lot of those clicks to your competitors. If you want to make sure that you maximize the clicks you get from your keyword, then PPC is the way to go. You can beat your competitors just by paying Google.

Final Thoughts

So, looking at our initial question, „Should you use PPC or SEO for your business” The answer remains the same as it was, it depends. PPC is an outstanding way to give your business the kick it needs and jumpstart your growth. It will get you immediate traffic which you can start to convert. But if you really want to get the most out of PPC and dominate the market, you’ll need a bit of learning or hire someone who has experience. Google will give you training in their certification process, both for Google Analytics and for Google AdWords, so you’ll know where you can learn. However, you always remember that when you finish using PPC, most of your traffic will go away as well.

Practicing good SEO is very important and it can get you some consistent results, but it does take quite some time to develop an authority you need for the right keywords. Furthermore, there will be a lot of fluctuations in how you rank, especially in competitive markets. If a competitor steps up their game it might beat you.

With that said, SEO is a long-term strategy that will bring you the highest quality traffic and the most qualified leads. Furthermore, if you choose to use PPC as well, your optimization efforts will definitely help too.

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David Cross

David is the chief editor at WebHostingMedia right from the beginning. He has a great passion for building and managing websites and creating helpful content. He is also interested in programming - currently learning python.