Trish O'Loughlin

7 August 2016

SEO or PPC Advertising: Which Path to Take?

When companies decide to take the digital media plunge, it can often feel like being stranded smack bang in the fork of a road. Which do you choose: search engine optimisation (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising? The two streams of advertising are both highly effective for engaging virtual audiences, yet vastly different. Hence, it’s important to gauge a good understanding of the chief aspects differentiating the two in order to reach a decision that will provide the best value for your business.

Let’s take a look at a detailed breakdown of the two strategies

SEO entails the use of keywords to attract the attention of users via search engines. It’s about generating organic leads and, therefore, aims towards achieving a naturally high ranking on Google. Around 80% of users employ search engines to find their desired destination – this means SEO is an ideal way for companies to establish their online presence.

On the other hand, PPC refers to the creation of paid advertisements and sponsored links designed to situate you right in front of your target audience. While SEO campaigns have proven more successful in terms of boosting clicks, paid search results do hold a slightly more competitive edge when it comes to those all-important conversion rates. However, evidence has also indicated that audiences place much greater trust in SEO campaigns over PPC campaigns.

What does all this mean? Well, in short, the opportunity from organic search is significantly higher than that of paid search.

SEO seems like the obvious choice…so why should I bother with PPC?

Evidently, SEO presents a huge range of benefits. It’s much cheaper, while also much more successful in terms of getting your business noticed. However, there are definitely instances where you should incorporate PPC into your campaign.

Primarily, PPC guarantees fast rankings, while SEO takes its time in cultivating that prime search engine page real estate. A paid advertisement can get you on page one overnight, while the flexibility of these campaigns means that keywords can be bought ad hoc and then dropped when need be (for instance, after individual campaigns or during a PR crisis).

So, how do you know when to use one over the other?

Instances where a pay-per-click campaign is ideal:

As stated before, PPC campaigns trigger fast results and get you noticed quickly by potential customers. This makes PPC suitable for:

  • Launching a new company
  • Limited time offers
  • Special events
  • Advertising products

What about SEO campaigns?

SEO is particularly more beneficial for service companies than product companies. However, in saying that, SEO should always be at the core of your digital marketing campaign. It is grounded in providing long-term benefits, and is typically recognised by consumers as the more respected source of information.

In conclusion: why not both?

In order to garner the best results for your digital marketing campaign, the most advisable method is to use SEO and PPC in a strategic concurrent manner. This will drive audiences from a range of spectrums towards your business. However, to do it right, you need to be budget smart – the smaller your firm, the more you should rely on SEO in order to make your mark in the digital realm while also generating that highly-coveted profit.

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