SEO vs. PPC: Which One Is A Better Investment
The website of your dreams is finally ready after months of exhausting explanations to web and graphic designers what exactly your vision of a top-selling webpage is. Or you have changed the design by yourself a thousand times until you started sending it to your best friend and mum three times a day, just to hear some encouraging words.
So now, with all that breathtaking web beauty, you have to conquer the world. You are sure that everyone on this planet will hit the “Buy” button once they see this web design piece of art.
However, weeks and months go by, and though your business’ online face is undoubtedly pretty, you are still like an exile in Siberia being put on the third page of Google. And as we know, Google’s third page is a place where even business owners are terrified to click, fearing they might see the bones of long-forgotten once-beloved brands or potentially face their future as an abandoned and neglected websites that no user would ever see, even if they desperately need this fantastic vacuum cleaner that can also cook and watch the children while their parents are away.
It’s sad and unfair, I know, but it’s true. Many companies with great products remain unnoticed because they think that having a website is the end of their online investment. If you follow our blog, you’d know that’s not how being successful nowadays works, so needless to say; you’d need to spend a bit more of your capital to get these money-infested clients to storm your online store. There are two options for you - invest in SEO optimization or invest in PPC campaigns. Or why not both? Let’s find out together - SEO vs. PPC: Which is a better investment.
Why SEO Is So Important
Let’s start with one of our favorite topics - search engine optimization or SEO. We never get weary of talking and writing about SEO’s importance, and we’ve done some outstanding research lately on the subject. Here you can recall the trends in SEO for 2022, why SEO is nothing without decent speed, and the main pillars of SEO.
Search engine optimization is the cornerstone behind your visibility on Google. And let’s face it, if you aren’t on Google, you practically have no website. With 81% of people conducting a search before making a purchase, it’s safe to say that SEO will boost your visits immensely. Nonetheless, to get the full benefits of being on Google, you need to be its best friend. As a top dog, you will enjoy 31% of all clicks for a particular keyword. Check out all the glorious gifts Google will give you if you become its BFF in our dedicated blog post.
None of this, however, would be possible without investing in a proper SEO campaign, which, though often costly and time-consuming, still brings around 20 times more clicks than any other method of online marketing.
What Is PPC
A PPC (or Pay-Per-Click as it's widely unknown) campaign is part of the search engine marketing (SEM) where the process of being noticed follows the simple logic - you pay to the platforms people use (mainly Google, since no one cares about Bing).eople see you before the organic search results. But, most importantly - now, not in six months! It's great being on the first page, and what's even better - right on top, under the search field. It's like watching yourself on the TV but without the blushing part.
With over $144 billion spent on PPC campaigns in 2021 alone, it's really not a question of whether PPC works but more of how good it is. Statistics are adamant that it's, for the lack of a better scientific term, "the bomb." The ROI is one of the highest in Digital marketing as for every dollar spent; the investor gets $2 in return. Not a bad deal at all.
Just bear in mind that these search results are tagged with an "Ad" marker, so visitors will know you are paying to attract their attention. So it's not like shelling out, and you get all the benefits of being first in Google. In fact, PPC campaigns get only 6% of the traffic. But on the other hand, the conversion rate is 50% better than organic traffic, and it does attract an audience with higher intent.
You should also keep in mind that in order to preserve people's trust, search engines always follow the ethics of being honest regardless of whether they were paid or not. Therefore, Google's algorithm is always looking for misleading information and low-quality content.
The good thing about PPC is that advertisers pay only when visitors click on the ad. The bad thing is that this click could be costly, depending on how hard it is to get to the right visitor.
The Benefits Of SEO Vs. PPC
While the battle over whether SEO or PPC is better for your website is obviously never-ending, let’s have a closer look at why many business owners choose SEO over PPC as a marketing strategy.
More Stable Traffic
Once you deserve your place on the first page of Google, you will have stable traffic 24/7. Unlike the traffic from PPC campaigns that comes only in the active hours of the campaign, organic traffic comes any time a user is searching for your keywords. The better the SEO is, the more clients end on your page!
Better Long-Term Returns
SEO has a better spend-revenue ratio. If you can technically make your own SEO strategy and optimization, you can have great results without investing additional money in your site. Besides, strengthening your credibility and authority will make you more trustworthy for the search engines. As a result, your new content will rank higher with less effort. Your website will gain much better visibility, more people will see and buy your product, and if you do your job well, you don’t even need to pay a single dime for all that traffic.
Better Click-Through Rate
With only 6% of users going after the paid results, it’s obvious that you will receive the majority of the clicks with SEO. However, bear in mind that the competition for the free SEO positions is an absolute massacre, so to get more clicks, your SEO should really be impeccable.
Outstanding Results At The Top Of The Funnel
While SEO does wonders in all parts of the funnel, its results are truly remarkable at the very top, where the audience is as cold as my ex’s heart. With SEO, you have a genuine arsenal of tools that will help you grab anyone’s attention, even if they are searching for mildly resembling products. As a result, it’s a perfect way to snatch customers from your competitors and, even better, from people interested in related industries.
Boosts Website Authority
It’s not a coincidence that Google’s first place receives 31% of all clicks. Users trust that Google will provide them with the best answer to their query, and of course, they click on the first option. This boosts your authority in the field and gives you immense power in dictating the market trends and their direction.
Things We Don’t Love About SEO
Just like anything else in this world, SEO has its bad sides as well. Except for sleeping. Sleeping is awesome, and especially at 2 in the morning, it’s very hard to convince me that there is a bad side to it. Search Engine Optimization is terrific in all so many ways, but there are just a few downsides along the way.
They Are Time-Consuming
Even if you are an SEO expert, or better said, especially if you are an SEO expert, you know that SEO is hard work. Some inexperienced people could find managing search engine optimization devastating and overwhelming as it takes a lot of time and effort. Though this time and effort will pay you back, you may wait to see the results for months, if not years.
Higher Initial Investment
While many companies point-blank refuse to believe they should have an SEO budget, since SEO is free, it’s important to emphasize that you still have to invest in this process either your precious time or again money for hiring an SEO expert or agency. So it’s not correct to say that choosing the SEO path is cost-free.
Google Algorithm Changes Often
Once you crack Google’s algorithm and see how users frantically click on your website, and your site gets more and more visits, you start to feel like His Royal Highness, the King of the Internet. But wait for it! All of a sudden, everything breaks down, or at least the great results you had to shrivel up and die. After all your work, they are twice as worse as they were just a few days ago.
Yeah, Google just changed its algorithm again. This is the worst nightmare of all digital marketing experts, and although it happens around 500-600 times a year, it’s always met with the same huffs and puffs. To get better, sometimes Google and the other platforms get worse (in terms of difficulty, not quality). And you start again… And the following month once again… And a man has just stepped on Mars for the first time, and the whole world is cheering and waiting for a better future, but Google changed its algorithm the next day again. This will never change! Never!
Needs Time To Work
Be patient! Even if you follow closely all the instructions provided by the search engines and SEO experts, don’t expect to see the results right away. That’s where PPC comes to the scene, but we will talk about that briefly. AI is something great and is developing at an astonishing speed. Still, it registers changes just as fast as a gorged sloth. It takes time, and you will have to wait to see if the optimization you made is working correctly.
It Needs A High Level Of Expertise
Again, SEO is hard work that requires a lot of knowledge. You can’t expect to see several video tutorials and read some blog posts to fill that knowledge gap. Becoming an SEO master takes time, years of hard work, and struggles to find out why even after you’ve done everything according to the book, it’s just not working. If you are not familiar with that process and you don’t want to risk your mental health, just hire someone. Trust me, the investment will pay off, and you will have more time and energy to focus on your business growth.
Advantages Of PPC Vs. SEO
One of the most significant advantages of PPC is that you can remain relevant in a highly competitive market without really having all that much SEO knowledge. It’s the perfect way to jump over your competitors, but alas, it’ll cost you some hard-earned money.
Easier And Faster To Make
As we mentioned before, SEO results take a lot of time. What is worse, sometimes you realize something is not OK after waiting for months. If you are new to the business and can’t wait to see some results, PPC is the way to go. As soon as you launch the campaign, you will know if the ad, the landing page, the targeted people, the keywords, the product, or any other aspect of your campaign are well set up, and you can act promptly to improve it.
The Initial Investment Is Lower Than SEO
Yes, you have to pay for every click on your site, and you may even hire an agency like Locus Digital (wink-wink) to prepare your landing page and ad, but the price will be far less costly compared with an entire SEO campaign and do-over. However, keep in mind that a PPC campaign is a limited-time solution, so it will gradually become more expensive over time.
Allows A/B Testing
Now we’re talking. If you need to test some products, landing page performance, clients’ attitudes, etc. (and you will definitely need to check them as a business owner in the making), PPC is the way. You can’t have a test with concrete results using organic traffic. Want to know black or white, Billie Eilish or Adele, Russia or Ukraine? Just pay for a test, and the results will soon be on your screen.
Faster Results And Faster Data Collection
The fast results are not only crucial for the testing. You will also need them when collecting data. As you know, information is the gold of the 21st century. You and your business are nothing without it, so paying for some data is the fastest way to get the precious figures and start using them for growing your company.
Gets Your Content On Top Of The Organic Search
It’s really a herculean task to take over the first place in Google using only SEO. If you manage to do it, make sure to screenshot it, print it, and put it on your fridge (and as a Facebook cover), so everyone will know what an incredible thing you’ve done. While the organic first place rivalry is fierce, the guys who pay receive that prize in minutes. That’s right. The PPC campaigns show over the organic search results. You give money, and your company is first, even though you activated your website yesterday. It’s that simple. Yes, there is an “Ad” tag, but still, first place is first place.
Better Audience Targeting
SEO is cool and all, but targeting a specific audience there is simply impossible. You optimize your website with keywords, and that’s that. Whoever comes - comes. With PPC, you can actively target audiences you believe will bring you better conversions. You can pinpoint a geographical location, age, income status, interests, and even which Taylor Swift album is their favorite. OK, the last one is not true, but you get the point.
Downsides Of PPC Vs SEO
Now that we talked about how great PPC is, it’s time to deflate its ego a bit and tarnish Google ads’ good reputation with some flaws they have.
High Price Compared To SEO
As I mentioned above, PPC has a lower initial investment, but as it is a limited-time solution and you pay for every click, over time, PPC gets far more pricey than the more sustainable SEO solution. So while it’s a good idea to use PPC to gather data and get some quick conversions, it’s not a sustainable solution.
Much Lower Profit Margins
You may have more purchases after the PPC campaign has been launched, and it’s an excellent way to refresh your traffic. BUT then you need to do the math and calculate your actual earnings. Every purchase comes at a hefty price. Sometimes more means less, especially when we are talking about money.
It’s All About The Money
When we are talking about business, we are talking about money. Because money matters in every aspect of life, no matter what the romantic comedies and love songs say. So PPC is just that - money in action. But if you stop the money flow for your PPC campaigns, the traffic will cease. Yes, Google is a strange lover. You may charm it and wait several months for it to respond, or you can pay for its love, but once you stop throwing money at it, Google’s love is gone.
PPC campaigns bring clicks and clients by the dozen, but others will steal your idea if your campaign is successful. Yes, shockingly, you are not the only one following your competitors’ success. Therefore, if you have a highly successful PPC campaign, be sure that your competitors will have the same ad with the same copy in a few short weeks. This, unfortunately, will lead to people simply skipping your ad in favor of someone else’s.
The Much Lower Click Rate
We already mentioned the “Ad” tag in front of your page in the search result. While it’s not a big deal for most users that desperately seek this awesome pink Metallica backpack on yellow spots, a good deal of potential clients just skip the ad part of the search results and click on the first organic result. Actually, as mentioned above, around 94% of users do this. You’ve also done it, haven’t you? Well, now you know it’s not cool. The phenomenon is called banner blindness and makes people not notice and skip ads unconsciously. It’s a modern thing - our brains’ reaction to all that ads around us. Like it or not, people can ignore your ad even if they want your product.
So, SEO vs PPC, Which One Is Better?
There isn’t a correct answer here. Both SEO and PPC are great tools that help your business and good online reputation grow.
If we talk about money, PPC requires an investment from the very get-go, and the costs pile up with time. So, SEO seems the better option since it’s cost-free. But given that you will most likely need an SEO expert to assess your website so that it can emerge in Google’s search results, and it will happen in months, in the end, the otherwise free SEO turns out to be a significant investment as well.
PPC is definitely the horse you want to put your money on when it comes to targeting. SEO brings high amounts of leads, but they are as diverse as an SJW college frat party. PPC will target your audience much more precisely, which will get you fewer leads but far more conversions.
Another huge advantage of PPC campaigns is the flexibility. You can literally change them in real-time. SEO, on the other hand, takes months to register a single optimization.
If you are aiming for organic traffic, SEO is all you need (and a good SEO expert, of course). About 94% of the traffic is organic. Therefore PPC can send you just 6% of the internet users. So for the sake of higher visibility, invest in SEO.
And last but not least, people tend to trust businesses that are ranked higher by Google. That means that SEO will make you an authoritative website, while PPC will bring you fast results but no authority or loyalty.
You can clearly see that the question is not whether to use SEO or PPC but when to invest in each one. SEO is the better long-term solution to your traffic worries, makes you look more trustworthy, brings you higher CTR, and, if used wisely, is more cost-effective. On the other hand, PPC gives you the chance to enter the big game right away, choose your audience according to your needs, make marketing tests, and collect precise data fast. Most successful companies have implemented both tools and used them according to the current needs.
We know that going through all this information is tough enough, but actually building a proper SEO or PPC campaign is 1000 times harder. That’s why your best bet is to hire professionals to take care of your Google needs. We at Locus Digital have the know-how and experience to boost your SEO rankings and make a winning PPC campaign in virtually no time. So instead of wasting your valuable time, let’s arrange a free call and discuss your inevitable success with our help.