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SEO vs. PPC: What’s the Difference?

Is SEO or PPC better for your business? Learn more about SEO and PPC, including their benefits and limitations here.

To put your business in a position to be successful, you need to craft a strong digital marketing campaign. There are multiple tactics you can leverage, and you need to think about which ones are best for your company. Two of the most common marketing tactics are search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaigns.

When taking a look at SEO vs PPC, those options can be effective, but it is important to understand the difference between SEO and PPC marketing. Understanding the difference between SEO and PPC is important to ensure you leverage the right strategy. But what do you need to know about these 2 traffic-generating tactics? Read on to learn more about search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaigns.

What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

It's important to understand how search engines work, which is precisely the goal of search engine optimization. Usually shortened to SEO, this is the process of crafting your digital footprint to match the needs of search engines.

The vast majority of people use search engines when looking for something they need. Most people click on something within the first page of search engine results pages (SERP).

Therefore, you have to make sure you land at the top of the SERP if you want people to find your website and learn about your products and services. That's why SEO is one of the most essential types of marketing.

There are multiple types of SEO, and they're broken up into on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to everything you can do on your website to help you improve your ranking on search engines. This includes posting content regularly, using the right words and phrases, and incorporating images and videos.

Off-page SEO refers to the steps you can take to improve your ranking without altering your website's content. This may include increasing your hosting speed or orchestrating a strong backlink campaign to increase your domain authority.

Because there are so many different types of search engine optimization, including local SEO, it might be beneficial to reach out to an expert who can help you.

Before starting your digital marketing strategy, you should consider the benefits and drawbacks of SEO. That said, here are a few pros and cons to keep in mind.

Benefits of SEO

  • Builds organic traffic. SEO enables you to build more organic traffic, which refers to the number of people who find your website using a search engine.

  • Less expensive long term. SEO isn't as expensive in the long run since you don't have to pay every time someone clicks on your website.

  • Improves trust and credibility. SEO can improve your trust and credibility since potential customers won't see a sponsored tag next to your meta title on the SERP.

  • More sustainable for long-term growth. SEO can be more sustainable because your traffic will continue to increase even if you stop updating the page.

Drawbacks of SEO

  • Results aren't immediate. It can take a long time before you land on the first page, let alone at the very top of the SERP.

  • Competitive keywords. Some of the keywords you want to target are probably very competitive. This means that many people are vying for the same terms, which can make it difficult for you to stand out from the crowd.

  • Constant search engine algorithm updates. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, making it hard for you to stay at the top of the page.

  • Tedious and time-consuming. You need to spend a long time figuring out what type of content you want to share and how you want to structure it. Plus, learning the ropes of SEO can be a tedious task.

What is pay-per-click (PPC)?

Pay-per-click marketing, or PPC, is when your website appears at the top of the SERP, and you only pay when someone clicks on the link. Your advertisement will typically appear at the top of the page above organic search results. However, the link will have a “sponsored” tag next to it, so people will know that you have paid for that advertisement.

You need to figure out what keywords and results pages you want to advertise on. What terms are most important to your business? Then, when someone searches those terms, your ad will show up and people will click on it if they're inclined to do so.

There are a lot of businesses that want their links to appear on the same search results page. You'll need to out-compete the organizations that want to occupy the same advertisement space. The company that spends the most money will land on the page, so there's a bidding process if you want your advertisement to be at the top of the SERP.

Because you only pay for the advertisement if someone clicks on it, you need to maximize your conversion rate. That means thinking carefully about how you structure your landing page, which is where visitors will go after they click on your advertisement.

It’s best to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of PPC ads if you want to successfully market your small business. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of PPC below.

Benefits of PPC

  • Quick results. You can get results quickly. If you want to get your name in front of as many people as possible, all you need to do is bid for the advertising space. People will immediately see your link, and you can entice people to click on it.

  • Reach the right audience. You also have an easier time reaching the right audience with PPC ads. You'll need to determine what terms are most relevant to the product and services you offer to get your name in front of your target market.

  • Contents will appear at the top of search engine results pages. As mentioned, your website or desired page will appear on the top of the SERP above the first organic result.

Drawbacks of PPC

  • Expensive. A PPC campaign can be expensive as a long-term strategy. Because you have to pay every time someone clicks on your advertisement, the fees can add up.

  • Doesn't always generate profit. There’s no guarantee that your PPC campaigns will appear on the SERP since someone might out-bid you for the same terms and phrases. And even if your ad does emerge on the SERP, RankPay reports that 94% of users skip paid search results.

  • Visibility is temporary. If you stop paying for your advertisement, your visibility goes away. Your ad will immediately be pulled from the SERP, so your visibility will plummet.

Is SEO or PPC better for my business?

It's important to think about the differences between SEO and PPC.

SEO is much more of a long-term strategy since it can take a while for your content to rank high on the SERP. However, optimizing your content can help you get to the top of the list and stay there. Furthermore, your website may be viewed as more trustworthy because you don't have to worry about having an “Ad” tag next to your link. Even though SEO is time-consuming, you can generate exponential traffic.

On the other hand, PPC ads give you faster results. You can show up at the top of the page today if you're willing to spend enough money. As such, this may not be viable for small businesses with limited marketing budgets.

Ultimately, one isn't necessarily better than the other, but you must consider what's best for your company. If you're interested in taking a more long-term, sustainable approach, you might want to use SEO. If your goal is to increase your visibility fast, you may want to use pay-per-click marketing. Keep in mind that your digital marketing strategy can use both of these together.

Using SEO and PPC together

You can use SEO and PPC together to maximize the benefits of each and create effective marketing campaigns.

If you want to boost your visibility, you can use a PPC campaign to get your name out there fast. Doing so will help get your brand in front of people quickly.

Then, as you increase your online presence, you can boost your organic traffic by running an SEO campaign. As you get more organic visibility, you can reduce the amount of money you spend on PPC while maintaining your traffic through a strong SEO campaign.

Wrapping up: SEO vs. PPC

You can maximize your online visibility if you invest in a strong digital marketing strategy that uses SEO and PPC. While both SEO and PPC are beneficial, you need to know how to use them effectively. That means investing in the right tools and people.

For example, you can use Mailchimp to host your website and create optimized content for SEO. Plus, you can pair your SEO and PPC strategy with an email campaign to ensure your business remains top-of-mind.

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