Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs. Pay Per Click (PPC)

A common question that arises when looking into boosting website traffic is: “Which is better SEO or PPC?”

It’s a question that doesn’t necessarily have a straightforward answer and can truly depend on your business’ objectives, circumstances, and market.

SEO and PPC will both play into your digital marketing strategy and it can be quite difficult to determine which will have the best result for your business.

The first step is to understand how SEO and PPC work.

seo vs ppc

What are the advantages of SEO?

SEO is organic lead generation and usually refers to the natural ranking that a website has within a search engine.

The process involved in SEO generally consists of optimizing your web pages to ensure higher ranking positions within search engine results. Simply put, it’s the process behind appearing sooner in searches on Google, Bing, or whatever search engine you’re optimizing results for.

These search engines have “crawlers” that seek to understand the content on web pages and provide the most relevant results to the search query proposed.

Naturally, you’ll want your site to appear first, so SEO can help ensure these crawlers know your site is the most relevant to the search.

But how can SEO help achieve this and why is it so useful for businesses?


No matter how you look at it, the primary goal of SEO is the website’s visibility. By optimizing your site’s keywords, SEO can help put your business at the fore front of the web and drive brand awareness.

Better still, good SEO can help ensure that you appear before your competitors in any related searches.


Appearing in organic search results can help influence how your customers perceive your businesses and its services. Many users trust organic results more than paid advertisement.

Cost effective

SEO is free – for the most part. It’s often better in the long term to invest time and effort into developing your SEO strategy, which can cost money. The labor costs of setting up your SEO may not initially be much different to the costs associated with setting up your PPC campaign. However, the clicks that follow will be free of charge, unlike a PPC campaign.

Long lasting

A proper SEO strategy and optimized site will have a long-lasting impact on your position within the search results. This means that if your site is ranking high, it’s unlikely to change much in position. So, it’s always beneficial to invest in ensuring your site is optimized.

Broad reach

With an ever-increasing number of queries going through search engines every day, ensuring your site has a broad reach is necessary.

Luckily, a strong SEO strategy will help you rank well for numerous keywords relevant to your website. So rather than paying to advertise every page of content on your site, you can help all your content rank well in the search results.

What are the advantages of PPC?

PPC refers to the process of buying “clicks” from Google (or other search engines). This allows you to advertise your website by bidding on appropriate keywords and targeting specific audiences.

Advertisers will bid on the perceived value of a click when considering keywords, platforms and audience.

There are a number of reasons that your business may benefit from investing in PPC.

Immediate results

Unlike with SEO which can sometimes take months before you see results, when your PPC campaign begins, you’ll see an immediate improvement in the traffic your site receives. Not to mention that it can take only days to develop the PPC campaign in the first place.

There’s no quicker method to get your site to your desired audience.

Position on the page

Paid search, as you may have seen, dominates over organic search when it comes to priority on the page. With up to four ads shown on any given search, a user will always see paid content first.


PPC provides the added benefit of allowing you to accurately target your potential customers. Because these ads can be targeted by keywords, geography, language, device, and much more, they can be very specific in the type of traffic that finds its way to your site.

Brand visibility

Running a PPC campaign ensures that your brand is at the forefront of a search, and because it can be properly targeted, this means the right people will see your ads. This provides your business with visibility it may otherwise have missed out on.

As an added bonus, even if a user doesn’t choose to click on your ad (and you won’t be charged if they don’t), they’ll still see your brand name.


If the cost is something you’re beginning to worry about, then it’s worth noting that PPC allows for control of your spending. You can dictate how much you want to spend and on what before the money has left your account.

So, you won’t have to spend a penny more than you’re comfortable spending!

No algorithms necessary

With PPC, there’s no need to worry about how a search engine’s algorithm will impact your ranking. You can remain confident that your ad will be shown among the top results in the search.

What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

There are two main differences that should be taken into account when considering SEO and PPC.

Firstly, paid ads will appear above the organic search results that are influenced by SEO. However, PPC ads and organic listings operate on a very different spectrum. So, if you haven’t taken SEO into consideration, unless someone is searching the keyword you’ve bid on, they may not see your site in organic listings.

Secondly, PPC is paid advertising and you will be spending money for every click of the ad, while the traffic generated through SEO will be free.

Which will benefit my business most?

The ideal situation for any business is a strategy where SEO and PPC work in parallel. This provides a well-rounded digital marketing strategy for your website to generate relevant, consistent traffic.

However, for many businesses, this may not be possible. So, the best thing to do is to analyze your business’ needs and see which method aligns best to those goals.

You’ll also want to consider what your budget is!

Generally, if you have the budget and you need quick results to make an impact in the market, then a PPC campaign will provide you with the best results.

However, if you’re not looking for immediate results and have some time to build your organic rank, then SEO will offer the best results. You won’t need to pay for website traffic, and you’ll slowly build your rank within the search engine.