Comparing PPC Advertising with Organic Search Engine Optimization

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Sizing Up Two of the Most Effective Digital Marketing Methods

As an award-winning digital marketing agency in Kansas City that has worked with a variety of brands, there are a myriad of things we need to be mindful of when building out a client’s strategy. Short- and long-term goals, key performance indicators, and other measurable insights guide our marketing tactics. However, there is usually more than one way for a client to hit their goals – and digital marketing methods work in tandem.

Two core components of a successful lead generation strategy are pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) because of how strongly the two initiatives work when paired together. Understanding the impact they have on each other enables a business to leverage their strategies in such a way that each campaign supports the growth and success of the other.

PPC and SEO are most effective when they’re allowed to synergize. No company should be running one without the other. For clarity, we’ll break down the finer points of PPC advertising and SEO.

What Is PPC Advertising?

PPC advertising puts clients in the driver’s seat when it comes to specific search terms and phrases they want to have a sense of ownership over. For instance, if you sell hard-to-find collectable sneakers in the Kansas City area, you might bid on the search term “limited edition sneakers for sale in Kansas City.” When users Google search that term, they’ll find your business at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).

When you consider that Google alone processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, you can see why PPC search marketing is such a popular method for businesses with a limited budget. It’s also worth noting that 65 percent of consumers click on paid ads.

The challenge with PPC paid search is mastering the nuances of bidding, delivering high-quality ads, and continually optimizing as data is collected. Understanding the cost implications for cost per clicks is key to ensure a positive return on ad spend (ROAS).

What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

When it comes to your online presence, your website content is key in determining where you rank when users search for specific words and phrases. However, not just any old website will do in the eyes of Google and other search engines. Your website needs to be optimized for speed, responsiveness, keywords, and loaded with URL structures and metadata that appeal to search engines. Effective SEO breaks down into three primary tiers:

  • On-page SEO – Blogs and content marketing that build your brand’s authority on a certain subject in the eyes of search engines.
  • Off-page SEO – Listing Sync/Distribution and backlinking that drives traffic from third-party sites to your website.
  • Technical SEO – The technical aspects of your website. This can include responsiveness, quick loading speeds, backend page structure, and functional links that enhance the user experience.

The challenge with SEO is that it is a bit of a long game, especially on-page SEO. It can take three to six months of consistent high-quality blog posts or on-page content before you see the needle move. Those who are executing a successful SEO will typically see the following changes:

  • A steady month-over-month rise in organic traffic.
  • The site is appearing higher on SERPs
  • The site is ranking higher for targeted keywords
  • Increased site authority score
  • Increased click-thru rate
  • Increased average time on page
  • Decreased bounce rate

An additional challenge with SEO is that the guidelines of what appeals to search engines and what doesn’t is a moving target. The best practices of SEO are always in flux, which is why it’s beneficial to have a digital marketing agency on your side to stay current with the latest updates.

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Main Differences Between PPC Advertising and SEO

Both PPC paid search and SEO are methods of getting your brand to rank for specific keywords and phrases that your customers search for. However, they accomplish this in very different ways, and each method has its own distinct pros and cons:

  • PPC search marketing offers immediacy, which means you could see results within a few days of your PPC ads going live. You can even target by income, age, location, and other attributes.
  • SEO earns organic traffic, which means it can be more budget friendly on a month-to-month basis. It also means that once your content and website rank highly, they should continue to rank highly as long as you remain consistent.
  • PPC advertising has the potential to become expensive if you’re bidding on high-demand keywords and phrases. However, there are also cases where PPC advertising is the cost-effective way to do things. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know that when you stop spending that your brand will cease to appear at the top of the SERPs.
  • Because SEO is all about appearing organically, it takes time before your site starts to show significant progress in ranking. Although appearing organically is superior to buying ranking via PPC, some companies don’t have the time to invest in it.

Ideally, every company wants to rank No. 1 on Google’s search results page. The challenge is that many companies lack the time and/or resources to do it organically via an SEO strategy, which is why they lean on PPC search marketing. PPC is great for meeting those short-term goals, but if you’re a business that wants to remain competitive in the years to come, you need to consider the long-term benefits of a well-executed SEO strategy.

Bottom line: the most effective marketing strategy uses PPC advertising in tandem with SEO. Using PPC ensures that your brand is appearing at the top of the SERPs while you simultaneously execute your SEO strategy to improve your organic rankings. Don’t make the mistake of going with one or the other. Maximize the effectiveness of your marketing budget by strategically using both.

Getting Started with PPC Advertising and SEO

PPC vs. SEO can be a bit of a head-scratcher at first glance. Even after learning the pros and cons of each method, you may be wondering how to divide your marketing budget between them to get the best results.

Fortunately, iFocus Marketing is seasoned at helping companies of all sizes figure out which digital marketing strategy is right for them. The best way to get started with this process is by booking a discovery call.

Once we learn a little bit more about you, your business, and your primary business goals, we can use that information to build out a digital marketing strategy that’s tailor-made to meet your objectives.

Ready to start rising through the ranks of Google and other major search engines? Reach out to the iFocus team today by calling (913) 708-8567, or by emailing us directly using the contact form on our website.

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