PPC vs. SEO: What’s the Difference?

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Are you struggling to decide whether pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine optimisation (SEO) is best for your business? We’re not surprised – it’s often a complex decision.

PPC and SEO are different approaches to search marketing, but it can be difficult to know what’s best for your business. With each strategy potentially providing great results depending on the execution of each project, it often boils down to whether you want to take the fast or slow route.

So, what is the difference between PPC and SEO? And can they work together to amplify your message? This article will highlight the main differences between PPC and SEO and compare the pros and cons of each. Let’s start with the basics…

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click (PPC) refers to paying for clicks to your website. In short, it’s an advert, just like the examples you see at the top of Google search engine results pages.

Similar to other advertising options, PPC has numerous pros and cons to consider:

Pros of PPC

PPC works fast

If you’re looking to start an advertising campaign, then all you need to do is set it up, and you’re good to go. You’ll probably start seeing results quickly depending on your advert parameters.

PPC offers targeted advertising

Want to target a specific demographic or location? Then PPC is a great tool. You can select a host of options to place your message in the best spot on the web.

PPC is easy to test

We mentioned above that PPC is fast at providing results. But, it also shows you what’s not working too. With this handy tool, you can A/B test campaigns and tweak parameters to get optimum clicks.

Cons of PPC

PPC can be expensive

Not surprisingly, you have to pay for advertising, and PPC is no different. The issue with PPC is that you pay per click, and the keyword’s competitiveness determines the price.

So, if you’re in a competitive sector, the price is higher. To get the best value for money, you’ll need to experiment.

No budget, no advertising

PPC requires a significant budget. However, if your funds run low, advertising stops immediately.

Adverts can lose their charm

Adverts are great for short, impactful campaigns. However, when you start bombarding people around the clock, they can lose appeal. If you want to experiment with longer campaigns, refresh the copy and images for maximum effect.  

Now onto SEO.

What is search engine optimisation (SEO)?

SEO is a marketing process that optimises your website to rank organically in search engines. This is often referred to as the ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach as it takes time and technique to get results.

To make things more challenging, you have search engine algorithms to think about. These systems determine the quality and relevance of web pages to show users the best search results. So, it’s not just a case of writing the same keywords over and over again to get good rankings.

SEO marketing takes time and continuous learning, but it has several rewards for businesses that stay on top of it.

Pros of SEO

Organic traffic has long-term results

Investing in quality organic-led marketing brings long-term results for many businesses. For example, there are keywords and phrases people continuously search for. So when you optimise specific keywords on your website, this will boost your traffic and keep it steady over time.

Compared to paid marketing, this is often one of the best options for scalable and long-term results.

SEO is typically more affordable

Any type of marketing requires investment. However, SEO can prove to be more affordable in the long run. An excellent example of how to compare the value in your keywords is to use a keyword analysis tool. This will show you the value of your traffic based on the cost if you had to pay for it.

Cons of SEO

While SEO has its benefits, there are a few downsides, including:

SEO doesn’t deliver instant results

No one knows the inner workings of search engines apart from the people that create them. So, in most cases, you’ll find there is no conclusive timeframe for how long it takes a keyword to rank. It could be a month or even a year, so don’t expect immediate results.

SEO feeds off great content

Long gone are the days of writing keyword-stuffed articles simply to get your business in the top spot. Algorithms have changed dramatically in the past decade, and your content needs to adapt too.

There are numerous ranking factors but simply put, your content needs to be unique and authoritative. While search engines don’t explicitly tell you how to make your content pop, this guide from Google may help.

Which option is best for your business?

To be honest, there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on the nature of your business or specific marketing campaign.

Some examples of PPC vs SEO in action include:

  • A small local business that only requires a few leads would probably do well with good SEO techniques. This will boost it in local search results without having to spend money on PPC. 
  • In contrast, a new business competing with big online retailers may struggle in organic search. A targeted PPC campaign for launch may provide a leg-up over the competition.

Both PPC and SEO have clear benefits and some downsides to consider, but is it possible to use both in harmony? Definitely!

Here’s why:

An integrated approach to PPC and SEO

To optimise your reach in search results, both practices are beneficial. Some key aspects of this include:

  • Data from your PPC results can be fed into your organic SEO efforts.
  • Using PPC and organic search will boost visits to your site.
  • Testing content and images within adverts can be used within evergreen website copy.
  • Targeting users at different stages of the customer journey will improve results.
  • Remarketing opportunities ensure you stay in front of customers after the initial touchpoint.

Still can’t decide whether PPC or SEO is for you?

You’ve come to the right place! The world of search marketing can be confusing. However, we’re not here to pit one against the other because we know the benefits of both. Our SEO agency specialises in PPC and SEO, helping accountants and accounting firms help you make the best choice.

Are you ready to explore how these marketing options could boost your sales and brand awareness? Chat to the team to get started.

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