As long-time online marketing consultants, one of the questions we get asked the most is, “Which is the best approach for my brand – SEO or PPC?”
And like most situations, it depends.
It depends on your business goals, your budget, and even the state of your website, among other factors.
But even though your business is unique from any other, we can still explore the basic differences in SEO vs. PPC. This will give you a much-needed foundation for moving forward.
How to Think about SEO vs. PPC
In the simplest terms, think of SEO as a long-term approach to driving traffic and increasing conversions. Alternatively, think of PPC as a short-term approach to doing the same.
In SEO, it can take weeks or months to see your pages move up in organic search results. You’re putting in the work to optimize your website pages, get quality links back to your site, analyze the performance of pages, and refine on-page and off-page elements accordingly.
While it’s true organic drives more traffic than PPC, the results may come more slowly, but their effects are longer lasting than PPC. In short, SEO – when done correctly – has far greater staying power.
In PPC, you can experience immediate lift for your brand’s website. As your ads drive more qualified traffic to your website, you may see better performance across certain pages, including more conversions.
If you’re a relatively new brand and you want to increase awareness, then PPC is a great vehicle to use during a customer’s research and discovery phase. The results are seen much faster, but they are more short-lived than SEO. Once you stop investing in PPC, your website will likely experience a dip in traffic.
And this is a big but –
The results you experience with SEO vs. PPC depend on your business. Enterprise websites can stop running PPC ads and experience less of a dip in traffic than small business websites. Usually, this is due to a larger marketing team to support the website, picking up where one channel leaves off. On the flip side, if you’re a fledgling company just getting your feet wet, you may be able to build up awareness through PPC while also pursuing SEO for a more long-term effect.
No matter what the goals, budget or state of your business, it’s a good idea to use a combination of SEO and PPC, if you can. Talk to a qualified marketing consultant to get a clearer picture of what is best for your unique brand and situation.
Sheila Hart-O’Connor is a word geek who is passionate about all things digital. She specializes in advertising and marketing copy, with a lean toward SEO, social media, and blogging.