SEO vs PPC: Which One Is Best For Your Business

Quick Summary:

SEO or PPC: The Ultimate Showdown. Discover the pros and cons of each digital marketing approach and find out which one aligns seamlessly with your unique business goals.

Unsure which marketing method between SEO and PPC is right for your business? Chris Foti, the founder and President of Stack Mode Marketing Group, provides valuable insight into where these strategies fit within your long-term marketing goals.

Let’s dive right in!

A common question we are asked as marketers is “which between SEO and PPC would make my business more profitable?” The truth is there is no definite answer because it all depends on your business’ current circumstance, market place and objectives.

Stack Mode is currently big on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Foti’s over 10 years experience in the marketing industry has taught him well that when organic search is performed efficiently, it can deliver more volume at every lead that surpasses paid search.

However, new enterprises will have to work extra hard on SEO whereby paid search may offer faster results in search marketing than the former. That said, it all depends on your digital marketing initiatives. Understand the market and how people utilize the web in the best way to evaluate whether organic search or paid search or a merging of both is right for your distinct case.

In this post, we will cover the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC as a marketing technique and offer hints to selecting the best fit for your unique business needs. We will also touch on how integrating SEO and PPC will enhance the results of your search marketing efforts.

SEO vs PPC Pros vs Cons Chart


There are two major contrasts between SEO and PPC. First, the traffic from organic search via SEO is free whereby PPC traffic has a cost for every click.

In many situations, SEO and PPC produce the best results when they are aligned strategically and integrated but we’ll let you decide after you’re done reading this post.

SEO Marketing Strategy: Boost Your Organic Traffic

SEO involves improving your organic traffic on the search engine results page (SERP). When you are searching on Google you will see that organic listings rank after the paid ads or shopping results.

To successfully increase your SEO rankings, you must know how to properly optimize your website such as ensuring the search engines can crawl into your site, upgrade your content, index it and increase the credibility of your website.

With Google’s algorithm being influenced by more than 200 ranking factors, it takes a top of the line marketing team to understand how to win the game. Lucky for you Stack Mode Marketing Group has an international class team of marketers who can help you stay ahead with technical SEO, on-page SEO, link building, content marketing, UX, you name it!

However, ranking is not a walk in the park! In comparison to other channels, SEO is multiplex and considering that Google constantly upgrades its algorithm, it requires the right blend of multiple factors for your website to rank well.

The Advantages of SEO

1. Cost-effective: Organic SEO offers one of the most affordable ways to enhance your site’s ranking and can place you right in the eyes of your potential clients when they run a search for businesses similar to yours.

2. More attraction: SEO averagely attracts 10 times more clicks than paid search. That means that you get a wide flow of traffic to your site without investing in ads.

3. Targeted content: With SEO you can develop content that targets every stage of the funnel without having to pay for any click.

4. Stability: Organic SEO offers more stability. If you do your site optimization right, your rankings should remain stable for longer.

5. Sustained outcome: Once you’ve attained robust rankings with SEO, you are guaranteed sustained results because your site shows to prospective clients 24/7.

6. Free organic clicks: When you get your SEO strategy just right, you are rewarded with free traffic. Obviously, it requires resources and time investment but clicks won’t cost you a cent!

The Disadvantages of SEO

Every coin has two sides and while SEO has a pretty glossy side, it has some setbacks that don’t always make it the right strategy for your business.

Let’s take a look at the cons of SEO:

1. No guarantees: Even with a tight and sound strategy, you are not certain to outshine competitors. When it works though, you’ll definitely earn the big bucks. It is an imperfect technique that needs persistence and patience.

2. Time-consuming: SEO takes time, which can be mind-boggling and tiresome particularly considering that Google makes a ton of updates to its algorithm each year. It can take months for your site to rank in the top searches for competitive keywords. You’ll always need to be in the know with any algorithm changes to stay ahead of your competition.

3. The process is never ceasing: Rather than being a one-time strategy, SEO is a prolonged process that needs sustained investment. Apart from constant improvements and tweaks, you’ll need to be aware that your website will never be 100% optimized. But our Stack Mode team will ensure to grant you 99.9% optimization with kick-ass content creation, link building and ongoing technical SEO audits. We promise to make your investment worthwhile by hiring us as your specialist agency.

PPC Marketing Strategy: Laser-Focused Visibility

PPC consists of paid clicks on search engines run through Bing Ads or Google Ads. PPC opportunities include search ads, shopping ads, YouTube ads, display ads, Gmail ads and re-marketing.

Unlike SEO that offers free clicks, PPC ads need you to pay each time a visitor clicks on your ad. With PPC, you can therefore spend even thousands of dollars a day to lure visitors to your website.

Even with its high cost, PPC comes with its perks. Here are some of the profits of using PPC:

The Pros of PPC

1. Not susceptible to Google’s algorithm updates: With PPC, you don’t have to keep checking for Google’s changes to its algorithms. You’re already bidding on the top margin so your organic searches won’t make much of a difference.

2. Fast and easy: PPC allows you to run quick A/B tests and split tests with Google Ads. This enables you to take a continued testing approach to run your campaign and drive consistent enhancements and better returns.

3. Data benefit: Running a PPC operation offers you volumes of data on the ads and keywords that visitors click on before buying your products or services together with those that lead to a purchase. That means that you can promptly make upgrades to your campaign for better optimization and improvement of your ROAS (return on ad spend).

4. Target customers with ads: With the right advertising formats such as video ads, search ads, shopping ads and more you can amplify your reach to the audience and stir them up to purchase or make an inquiry. Organic listings lack the same variety of strategies to target your audience.

5. Hire a small expert team: Unlike SEO, you need a smaller team of experts to run and manage your PPC campaign. In most cases, you’ll only need a paid search specialist and a copywriter to write striking ads and landing pages.

6. More targeting opportunities: PPC offers you the chance to amplify your business’ presence on search engines through call outs, phone numbers and enhanced site links. So you have increased chances to capture a searcher’s attention to your ad.

7. Increased visibility: Whether on desktop or mobile searches, PPC ads are always at the top of the page and the first thing a searcher views before any organic results. PPC gives you that competitive edge that is impossible to achieve using SEO alone.

8. Guarantees instant results: Immediately after your PPC campaign launches you will begin to notice clicks, conversions and traffic. The same results take months to achieve with SEO.

The Cons of PPC

While PPC provides a plethora of advantages to businesses, it has its fair share of hitches too. Here they are:

1. Traffic ceases when ads turn off: You need to consider if your website will survive once you click the off switch on your PPC campaigns. It can be tempting to become too dependent on PPC alone but a successful website needs an all-rounded strategy approach that assures no controversies in the future.

2. Too costly: You’ll need to factor people costs in addition to click costs. You will have to hire an agency, a freelancer or a marketing team to monitor your campaigns.

3. Higher initial investment: Starting a PPC campaign can be too expensive especially for a start-up enterprise given that you’ll need to pay for clicks. Moreover, as new adversaries begin to advertise, click costs can increase. You may incur more costs to drive a conversion.

4. Risk of wasting clicks and money: With PPC, the more you invest the better the results in terms of an increased number of conversions and clicks. However, you’ll have to keep an eye on your conversion rate because if your traffic isn’t converting, your hard-earned cash and clicks will go down the drain.

5. Higher click costs in some industries than others: By now you are aware that traffic from PPC advertising isn’t free. You’ve got to pay for every single click on your website via an ad. But some industries have higher click costs than others with the insurance niche grossing with the highest CPC of $ 17.55 in the U.S. Other niches with a high CPC include real estate, e-commerce, stock market, loans and attorney.

SEO or PPC: Which One is Right for Your Business?

It’s not possible to say which one of these two strategies is the right one for your business because every corporation is its unique set of needs.

Therefore, if you choose to venture into a single channel, you’re going to consider your business’ specific situation including the long-term and short-term goals and balancing the cost of investment against the rate of income received.

Here are some prevalent scenarios that would dictate which channel to go for:

  • If you want to raise awareness of your business using top-of-the-funnel traffic, SEO is the best to emphasize a strong content strategy.
  • If you want quick marketing and traffic results despite the toll, best to go for PPC.
  • If you’re looking to assess the success of a new product or service, choose PPC because it is simpler to attract traffic to your website, you can plan your budget and flip the off switch on your ads if need be.
  • If you already have leads from other sources but want to invest in your long-term returns, use SEO.

Using SEO and PPC Together For Better Results

In reality, it is hardly possible to use either one of the search strategies and forgo the other because when integrated, they both support each other for greater results.

Therefore, if your pocket allows, it is better to use both to balance your short-term and long-term results.

Below are some key benefits of running SEO and PPC together:

  • Increasing your brand’s reputability and awareness through both organic and paid searches.
  • Conversion and keyword data can be channeled from PPC into organic search (SEO).
  • Targeting visitors at all phases of the purchase journey from research to comparison to purchase and feedback using commercial keywords.
  • Increasing your total traffic volume by targeting clicks in organic and paid searches for effective keywords.
  • Assessing your keyword strategy in PPC before attending to long-term SEO techniques.
  • You can easily move high-volume, low-converting or high-cost keywords from PPC to organic search.
  • Re-marketing enables you to interact with visitors from the get-go using organic search and personalized messaging.
  • A/B evaluation of ad copy and landing pages can be funneled into your organic listing.

With the benefit overkill offered by both SEO and PPC, we must look into the various ways to integrate the two for increased online visibility.

1. Utilizing Shopping Ads to Increase Leads

If you run an e-commerce business, you definitely can’t afford to overlook shopping ads. Even if you already have a strong SEO campaign, you’ll also need a captivating and efficient pay-per-click strategy.

Potential buyers are constantly drawn to product listing ads that display images and prices on the SERPs. We all want to buy products that we can view alongside their prices. So, you should be investing in shopping ads besides SEO to ensure that you’re increasing your visibility on SERPs and concealing all options on how your clients want to look into competitor products or services.

2. Harness the Power of Ads and Apply Data to Enlighten Your SEO Campaign

Your PPC process can feed the SEO strategy to help gain meaningful insights. Data and results obtained from ad headlines, conversions, calls-to-action (CTAs) and messaging can be used to heighten your SEO campaign built on keyword groups and terms that have the most ideal conversion rate.

This analysis from your PPC strategy offers you a hint of the areas that might require more focus for increased success.

Looking to create successful ads and efficiently optimize your landing pages? Our PPC experts will research all there is to know about your business model to provide a more customized and dedicated search campaign. This way you can centralize your attention on other strategic tasks.

3. Refocusing

Did you know that you can generate ads to target people who have already visited your website? This strategy is called re-marketing or re-targeting and is very efficient in capturing visitors who have already interacted with your site.

For instance, a user places your product on their basket but does not finish purchasing. You can serve them ads to motivate them to complete the transaction through banner ads on the Google Display Network or SERPs ads.

4. Brand Bidding

It’s quite common for another company to bid on your company’s name. Sounds shocking? Yes, businesses often use ads to bid on another business’ brand name. Though you could top the organic search for your brand name, an adversary that bids on your brand name stands a higher chance of beating you on the SERPs.

In such situations, you can use PPC to bid on your brand’s terms to increase your visibility, meaning that a user is most likely to wind up clicking on your website despite the route they take to your site, either organic or paid clicks.

Which Strategy Matters the Most?

In our experience with real estate, retail, travel, telecommunications and pretty much any other industry in the market, we can say that without a shadow of a doubt that an integrated search approach using both SEO and PPC is the best for optimal results.
Though not a perfect fit for some businesses, companies that experience high growth often develop a holistic search engine campaign that synchronizes SEO and PPC rather than each in isolation.

What are your experiences with SEO or PPC? We would love to hear your achievements or lessons from using either SEO or PPC or both of them together. You can always reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Get in touch with us today!

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Avatar of Chris Foti with Stack Mode Marketing Group

About The Author

Chris Foti is a developer and agency owner specializing in delivering the highest quality websites and digital marketing strategies.

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