SEO vs PPC – What’s the difference? Is one better than the other?

SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC ads (or Pay Per Click) are two great methods for getting your business found online. Today, we’ll mostly be referring to search engine results, so the PPC services that we’ll be talking about are Google Ads and Bing Ads. Both SEO and PPC revolve around strict targeting, focus keywords and driving traffic to your website. Many businesses often wonder what the differences are, which is better to use, and if they need to use both or not, and that’s exactly what we’re going to be clearing up in this article!

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What are the differences?


There are several main differences between SEO and PPC that give each their own advantages and drawbacks. The first being the simplest difference: SEO is organic and doesn’t cost you to get clicks or page positions, whereas PPC ads are (you guessed it) paid for, every time someone clicks on your ad – you’re effectively buying a top spot in search engine results.

Another major difference between the two is the length of time it takes to see results. As SEO is an organic process, it takes some time to get your website to rank at the top for keywords, especially if they’re competitive ones. On the flipside, PPC ads can bring you results much quicker, almost immediately in fact, as you’ll be getting top page spots straight away.

The final thing that separates the two is how they each appear within search results pages. SEO results can never reach above ads, so even if you reach the very top rank, you’ll still have results ahead of you on the page. However, whilst they do always appear at the very top, PPC ad results will be marked as an ad, which has more potential to put users off from clicking on them.

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So which is better out of SEO and PPC?


It’s often asked which of the two is better – should I be using SEO or PPC, or both? Unfortunately the answer to this question is a bit complicated as it’s influenced by so many variables; what keywords are you targeting? What is your budget? When do you need results? Having said that, we’ll still do our best now to give you an answer as to which you should be using.

The best solution is often to use a combination of the two. To many this may look like a waste – why pay to rank above a term that I’m already at the top for, or on the flipside, why spend time and effort to rank for a term that I can just pay for instead? However, using a combination is extremely beneficial as it allows businesses to develop a long-term “free” strategy for acquiring search engine traffic, whilst still reaching the top for extremely competitive terms, in a shorter timeframe whilst SEO efforts work their way up.

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As you can see, neither of the two is objectively better than the other. If you are happy to wait for results so long as it saves you more money, then SEO is probably better suited to your business. On the other hand, if you want large volumes of focused traffic, in a shorter timeframe, and you have enough budget, then pay per click ads are probably better suited to you. If you’d like to learn more about either of these services, you can view the pages below. If you’d like to know more about our packages that incorporate both tactics, feel free to reach out to us.

Which search engine tactics are your business using at the moment? Do you use any of the ones that we discussed today?

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