A Comprehensive Guide to SEO vs. PPC Strategies

Traffic is the top priority when you want to establish an online business. New businesses struggle to attract potential customers to their websites. Besides, running a successful marketing campaign without going beyond budget is challenging. Most importantly, which marketing channel allows you to achieve your goal? Professional marketers always consider SEO and PPC as the most significant strategies to promote business and reach the target audience.

The biggest difference is that SEO helps you get organic traffic. On the contrary, PPC is intended to bring qualified traffic with paid ads. So, let us talk more about these marketing programs. 

Definition of SEO

Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is a way to improve your website’s organic visibility on popular search engines like Google and Bing. The aim of SEO is to make a site rank higher and gain more organic traffic. According to a reliable source, more than 60% of digital marketers consider SEO as the top factor for inbound marketing campaigns. 

Search engines focus on different ranking factors, which affect the position of a webpage. So, the best SEO strategy involves creating flawless webpage design and quality content to boost the SERP rankings. 

Definition of Pay-Per-Click

PPC is a digital advertising model for driving qualified traffic to a website. The advertiser needs to pay the advertising fee based on the number of clicks on the ads. It means you have to pay for targeted visitors to your app or landing page of your site. The fee would not matter to you if your PPC campaign works effectively. For instance, you might have paid only $3 for a click. That click helps you make a sale of $300. Thus, with the right PPC strategy, you will be able to increase your ROI. PPC ads may appear on websites, search engines, social networking sites, and several other platforms. 

Running a Google Ads campaign is highly valuable, as Google is the major search engine. This search engine receives a high volume of traffic and delivers a lot of clicks to your advertisements.

The frequency of appearance of PPC advertisements depends on the match types and keywords. Although several factors affect the success of the PPC campaign, bidding on the right keywords is important. Besides, PPC professionals need to ensure high-quality landing design and improve the ad’s Quality Score. It is also essential to create a highly enticing ad copy to captivate the viewer’s attention. 

Types of SEO

Before putting in your SEO efforts, you should learn about the type of SEO.

White-hat SEO

The term ‘white hat’ refers to ethical practices to improve your website’s position in the organic listings. So, white-hat SEO experts always follow the guidelines of Google to reach their goals. Some white-hat SEO techniques include quality content development, well-labeled images, proper keyword usage, meta tags, and so on.

Black-hat SEO

Black-hat SEO is an unethical optimization strategy, as it goes against the guidelines of search engines. Although it provides faster results, there is always a risk of Google penalties. Keyword stuffing, developing private link networks, and content cloaking are some common black-hat techniques in the world of SEO.

SEO can be categorized in several other ways-

On-page SEO

On-page or on-site SEO is a strategy that allows you to optimize your webpage elements, including keyword-rich content, internal links, URLs, search intent, and title tags. With high-quality graphics, images, and other quality media, you will get the best result from on-page SEO.

On-page optimization is important as it allows search engines or bots to understand your website content and respond to the search queries.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO involves gaining more brand exposure through different channels, such as social media and news outlets. It refers to the SEO activities outside the website, and you can build your website’s reputation with off-page SEO tactics. Your SEO tactics should increase engagement, boost social media shares, and encourage branded searches. Search engines use citations, backlinks, and several other factors for measuring the quality and relevancy of your site. A website with quality backlinks and higher domain authority has a higher chance of appearing on the search results. Link building, guest posting, article submission, and social bookmarking are some off-page SEO tactics.

Technical SEO

Technical issues often prevent a website from achieving a higher rank. So, SEO experts need to check every technical detail of a website. Especially on-page SEO professionals take care of technical aspects and make the website crawlable and indexable. Technically proficient SEO specialists also focus on the speed of your website and webpages. Google and other main search engines give importance to websites that load quickly. With technical SEO, you can provide the best experience to your website visitors. What’s more, the technical SEO team ensures your website has a mobile-friendly and responsive design.

It is also essential to add XML and HTML sitemaps to your site as they display your website architecture. Again, robots.txt files allow search bots to identify the pages that need to be crawled. 

Types of PPC ads

There are various types of PPC advertisements, and you have to focus on the right ones for your advertising campaigns. 

Search ads

Paid search advertisements appear in Google’s search results. You will find these advertisements tagged with the term ‘ad’. They are textual ads and do not include any visuals. Long-tail keywords are highly important for these paid ads, as they help you reach the target audience. Google will assign Quality Score to your ads based on the click-through rate and ad relevancy.

Display ads

Display advertisements are a type of PPC ads used for reaching consumers who are interested in your products or services. They become visible on partner websites of Google. Most commonly, these advertisements include a short text and a photo. You have to set your target market before choosing these ads. However, your ads will not be shown until Google has approved your ad copy.  

Social media ads

You can run PPC ads on social media to connect with your target audience. Social media advertisement is a highly popular type of PPC campaign. You have to select the social platform before running the ads. For instance, for your Facebook ads, you may target viewers based on demographics, location, and other details. 

Remarketing ads

A remarketing ad is intended to reengage your target audience. Some visitors might have entered your website and did not purchase the products or services. To avoid the loss of lads, you can invest in remarketing ads. You have to set up your ads while segmenting audiences based on their activities.

Instream ads

These ads appear in YouTube videos. While watching YouTube videos, you might have come across some types of ads. Sometimes, the ads appear before the beginning of the video. It may be a small sidebar, non-skippable, or full-screen ad. This is the sponsored content targeted for video viewers.

Shopping ads

Many eCommerce business owners invest in Google shopping ads to allow leads to find their products. With a carousel format, these ads appear above the Google main result. So, consumers can easily find the desired products and their prices before entering your website.

Gmail sponsored ads

With Gmail-sponsored ads, you can send your message to the inbox of qualified leads. These advertisements appear at the top of the recipient’s mailbox. However, these advertisements appear like other emails but the only thing is that you will find the ‘ad’ tag. There is also a bold subject line included in the ad content. 

While setting up the new ad campaign, you have to select the Display Ad button. It will allow you to run the Gmail campaign. You have to configure the campaign type, goals, and targeting. When someone clicks on the ads, Google will charge you.

Benefits of running an SEO campaign

SEO campaign benefits you in various ways-

Awareness and visibility

With targeted keywords, you can make your website more visible in search engines. So, more people will be aware of your business. When users make informational queries or use search terms, your business website will appear in front of them.

Trust and authority

If your website consistently appears on search results for certain relevant keywords, you will gain trust. It also helps you develop authority in your business. Most users prefer organic results and skip ads when they look for products or services.  

More stable search traffic

Once you have optimized your website for search engines, you will start receiving free traffic to your platform. The best fact is your website will not disappear from the search results, if you reduce your marketing budget. But, in case of PPC, your ads will not be shown when you no longer want to pay for them.

More affordable in the long run

Some startups and freelancers claim that it takes time and money (for SEO tools) to find the SEO result. But, in the future, you will find SEO a cheaper marketing strategy.

Allows you to win the competition

Competitors are present in all industries. To beat them in the online world, you need to evaluate their SEO tactics. For instance, SEMrush and Moz enable you to find the keywords chosen by your competitors to rank their websites. Once you have selected proper keywords related to your industry, you can develop a strategy to outrank competitors. So, your website will gain higher visibility in organic searches, and you can win the competition. 

Improves other marketing tactics

It is another reason for running your SEO campaign. If you have combined SEO and PPC campaigns, you will achieve better results. Your high-quality SEO-friendly content will be the best marketing resource. By monitoring SEO and other marketing results, you can put better effort into your campaign.

Benefits of running a PPC advertising campaign

Investing in PPC ads is beneficial for several reasons.

Achieve your business goals easily

It is the biggest reason for creating PPC ads. PPC enables you to achieve different marketing and business goals. Whether you want more brand exposure or a higher eCommerce sales rate, you can run PPC advertising campaigns. 

Easy to track and measure

Like SEO, PPC advertisements are easily measurable. You can use both Google Analytics and Google AdWords tools to measure the result. For instance, you may check the number of clicks, impressions, or conversions depending on your goals. So, depending on the statistical data, you can determine the performance of your campaign.

Fastest result

While SEO is a time-consuming effort to get the desired outcome, Google Ads and other PPC ads will give you results within the shortest time. Moreover, you will get an opportunity to target people who are not on your follower list. PPC also helps you find new potential customers. So, you can choose the PPC advertising platform and get the best result.

Better control

While running your PPC campaign, you will have control over different options. For instance, you can control the budget for your PPC campaign. You may start with a small budget and then invest more in PPC ads. As a PPC advertiser, you can set bids and ad budgets on your own. If you have noticed positive outcomes, you may scale up your advertising campaign. On the contrary, if you are not satisfied with the result, you can stop investing further. 

Comparing different factors- SEO versus PPC

The side-by-side comparison of these marketing strategies will help you choose the right one.

Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate is the most significant metric measuring the number of users who have clicked on the ad or organic search result. Some marketers have found that the CTR is higher with the PPC ads. But the rate may vary due to different factors like ad copy quality, ad position, and user intent. CTR helps you compare PPC.

PPC advertisers can improve CTR in various ways, and most commonly, they are related to the industry. You can test the variable of your ad for better CTR. However, to increase the CTR in the natural search result, you have to use data from analyzing SERP.

Conversion rates

Another important metric to understand the difference between SEO and PPC is conversion rate. It calculates the number of visitors who have taken the action (like buying a product or submitting a contact form). For eCommerce and some other industries, the conversion rate will be higher with PPC ads. However, both PPC and SEO can drive conversions. SEO is best for long-term results and consistent ROI, whereas PPC is effective for fulfilling short-term goals.


Relevancy is another factor in measuring the effectiveness of PPC and SEO strategies. The relevancy level influences your business visibility in the SERP and the quality score of paid ads.

Search engines try to present the most relevant non-paid search results. Websites with optimized content, authoritative backlinks, higher user engagement, and user-friendly design rank high. Relevant organic content addresses users’ needs, which are important for SEO success.

On the contrary, Google Ads and other PPC platforms assign a quality score based on the ad’s relevancy. Professional advertisers give importance to Keyword Performance, landing page content, and ad copy. Their aim is to find a lower CPC and higher ad position.

When should you choose SEO?

In some situations, SEO is more important than PPC.

When you need long-term results- Investment in SEO is good if you want a long-term outcome. You may not find your website in the top position overnight. So, you need to work consistently with the best SEO company to improve its position in the SERP.

When you want to develop a high-authority website- A high-authority website in a particular niche is a resource for consumers. With your ongoing effort, you will be able to establish a strong authority. However, you have to publish quality content for search engines and users to generate more traffic.

 When should you choose PPC?

 Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other social media ads are some paid advertising options. In some scenarios, you can consider niche-oriented PPC ads-

  • You need faster results- Online advertising lets you get the desired result very fast. Sometimes, it takes minutes to get visitors to your webpages. If you have created quality ad content and placed high bids, PPC Ad Campaigns will provide significant value.
  • You want targeted traffic- With Search Engine Advertising, you can bring potential customers to your website. Advertisers will target audiences based on their gender, marital status, education, income, and other details.
  • Your website is not SEO-friendly- You might not have updated your website content regularly. So, PPC is the best way to inform the search bots about the relevancy of your site. It will help you generate more traffic to your site. 
  • Time-sensitive offer- If you want to promote a time-sensitive deal, you can invest in Google Ads and other PPC advertisements.

End note

You have now understood how SEO differs from PPC Marketing. If you want to bring organic traffic, you can focus on on-page and off-page SEO. However, to get instant visibility, you need to consider PPC ads. SEO also helps you gain business visibility but it will take time to show the result. Most professional marketers consider both digital marketing strategies to promote your brand. They will also help you set your marketing budgets.

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