Sometimes life throws us choices. And sometimes it doesn't. SEO and PPC are two completely different channels for driving traffic to a website. When it comes to which is better, there really isn't a definitive answer as it depends on a variety of factors, including the type of business, budget, and goals. Cutting to the bottom line, you typically want to use both.
Benefits of SEO:
- Increased visibility in organic search results. You show up higher and more often when people are looking for you. This brings free traffic to your site.
- SEO is great for long term, sustainable results with minimal maintenance costs. This is because unlike PPC, where businesses have to constantly invest time and money in order to stay visible in the search engine rankings, when a website optimizes their content for SEO, the changes they make will continue to bring them traffic over time.
- Improved brand recognition and trustworthiness from users. When people notice your website at the top of their search results, they are more likely to trust it over competitors.
Drawbacks of SEO:
- Time. SEO is NOT quick. It takes time and effort to build your reputation as well as accumulate significant traffic.
- Uncertainty. Most people don't do SEO well. They either don't do it correctly or often give up before they achieve the best results.
- Effort. You can do your own SEO. But, since most people don't do it correctly it's likely better to realize this up front and work with an expert.
Benefits of PPC:
- Quicker results than SEO. The ads you create today can be driving traffic to you tomorrow.
- Cost-effective as you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement. However, your cost per click may be expensive, especially as you first start your campaign.
- Increased control over targeting, with the ability to reach specific audiences through demographic or contextual targeting.
- Ability to test keywords, landing pages, and ad copy before investing in SEO or scaling up your PPC.
Drawbacks of PPC:
- The minute you stop investing in ads is the minute you stop getting prospects. PPC is an voracious monster that needs to be constantly fed to keep it working.
- Lots of management time. The better PPC works, the more you'll use it. However, the more you use it the more time you need to manage it.
At the end of the day, SEO and PPC are both powerful strategies that can help you reach your goals. Ideally, they are both used, with PPC giving you quick leads as you grow your free (organic) leads over time. PPC is also great for those special times when you want to quickly boost your traffic. Neither is better than the other. Beauty and brains, SEO or PPC, together they can be unbeatable.