SEO VS PPC | Which One Is Right For You?


Regarding digital marketing, especially when you first started, there will definitely be problems with doing SEO or PPC.

What are the characteristics of SEO and PPC? Which one is right for you?

The industry consensus is that PPC is paid for, and it can bring direct results, while SEO is free, but it takes time. So this is a simple transaction, time = money. Their characteristics are not just about this, there are many, this article will take you deeper.

In fact, you’d better combine the two together, and I will tell you why.


Search engine optimization is becoming more and more popular and more important for a startup. Everyone wants to have a well-ranked website because they feel that it is free. However, if you have been doing SEO for a while, it is very clear that time = money.

SEO may be considered a cheaper way to promote websites and products, but in reality it may not be so, depending on the niche market and market competition you are in. SEO involves content creation, which is not cheap, at least it takes a lot of time.

Let’s take a look at the characteristics of SEO

||SEO advantages

SEO covers the vast majority of search marketing. SEO work is like planting a seed, and it will be harvested sometime in the future.

1. It is free

If you do it yourself, just keep on improving your personal knowledge, spend time writing content, and then get good rankings.

2. Progressive learning curve

You may need a lot of time to fully become familiar with SEO , but you don’t have to wait until you are completely familiar with it. You can start by doing some simple keyword research and writing content, and then go deeper. Most content management systems now have a lot of SEO plugins, both content and technical issues.

3. Good return on investment

Doing SEO can lead to very good results, especially in the local business sector, where competition will be less. Even if you promote your paid service, using high search volume keywords to rank up to 15 times more clicks than paid search . On the other hand, paid ad clicks account for only 2-3 % of search clicks . Rand Fishkin analyzed the natural and paid click-through rates in the United States:

This difference can be caused by many factors, such as people prefer organic results, feel more trustworthy, not advertising, or use ad blocking software.

4. Long-term effects

If you persist for 6 to 12 months, the results can last for many years. However, it is a good idea to update and improve content from time to time, especially when there is better content in SERPS . However, if you continue to share content and put some backlinks, the search engine may retain your ranking even if the content is not updated.

5. Conducive to brand awareness

People often search for information online. When they want to buy something, they first search for some comments and guides. If you want to take advantage of this, you need to write content that meets user expectations in order to improve your rankings. Over time, this may make people remember your brand. On average, users will visit your website 7 times before they will purchase your product or service.

6. Free content creation

There is no limit on the content, and the title and description are slightly longer to increase the click rate. You can do almost anything. However, if the user is brought to an advertising interface, the website bounce rate will be high.

|| SEO Disadvantages

1. It takes a long time to see the effect

For some people, 6 to 12 months sounds pretty good, but for others it sounds like it’s been a long time. If you want to work quickly, focus on paid search. But once you decide to do SEO , just do it. Because it takes time to achieve results , the sooner you start, the results can be seen early.

2. Hard to master

If you want to be an SEO expert, you not only need to learn basic keyword research and link building, you may need HTML and CSS skills, at least the basic level, JS and PHP can also come in handy. These don’t include other technical content you need to master, such as site maps, indexes, URLs , redirects, multilingual issues, and more.

As links become more and more difficult to get, you need to have good creative content and persuasive skills. So many things that need to be mastered may have overwhelmed a large group of people. There are even categories, such as technical SEO and content SEO . Mastering both can be very challenging.

If the PPC is playing a musical instrument, then SEO is a bit like commanding the entire orchestra.

3. It is difficult to expand coverage

You have to do a lot of things in 24 hours. Extending content requires a lot of help, like money. If you build an authoritative website that needs to update hundreds of articles per week, with separate editorial and content marketing teams, you’ll get good results. However, if you want to compete with Dyson for a vacuum cleaner, it is best to use a paid search.

4. High uncertainty

Search engines are ranked by algorithm. For whatever reason, your site may quit rankings at any time, or even worse, even indexing will be removed. Usually, this happens if you are using black hat SEO technology. If you follow the guidelines of the search engine, it’s generally fine. However, there are many factors that may reduce the natural flow of your site, such as search engine algorithm changes, which is another topic, and will not be elaborated again.

5. Touch less buyers

Most people search for information online instead of looking for something to buy. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a user email in order to bring them back to your website. But with the EU’s GDPR law, this is even harder to do.

6. It is difficult to carry out A / B test

A/B testing is difficult in an organic search environment . Google doesn’t like duplicate content, and you can’t simply ask Google to display another page in a week. You may feel that you can change the same page and then switch it back. However, any changes to the page may result in a change in ranking. Generally, when the ranking is high, don’t modify the page.

When should you choose SEO?

SEO is something everyone has to do unless you don’t want to join a search engine. You should start as soon as possible because it takes a long time to work. More precisely, if you consider the structure and platform, start planning SEO before building a website .

The later you do SEO , the sooner you get results, it’s best to start as soon as possible.

| What are the characteristics of PPC ?

On the other hand, we have PPC (pay per click) or SEM (search engine marketing). Some people who do SEO may feel that they are less efficient than SEO and cost more. But this may be just a prejudice. In fact, PPC is a great way to promote your website, especially e-commerce websites.

||PPC advantages

You might think that PPC is a regular ad, but it doesn’t stop there. Only when a user searches for a particular keyword has an opportunity to show ads, and only pays when they click, which is invaluable. PPC has a lot of good things. If it doesn’t work, why do people have to pay for it?

1. You can see the effect right away

The biggest advantage of PPC is that you can see the results right away. Of course, as long as your landing page is appropriate. Ads require a call to action, so make sure your contact details are visible. In the ad auction, you usually pay more. However, there are other factors to consider, such as the quality of the title and content. SEO ca n’t do the top three in a day , but PPC can do it.

2. Easy to master

I am not saying that you can become an expert overnight, but in the long run, PPC is easier than SEO . Don’t misunderstand this sentence, it’s easier than SEO , it doesn’t mean that there are very few things to learn. You still have to learn a lot of things, of course, you can also learn by constantly burning money. However, once you’ve created an ad campaign and optimized it in a few months, you’re basically familiar with it. You can also contact Google employees for professional support and help you set up your campaigns, a luxury that is not available in the S EO space. If you want to adjust your campaign further, it’s not easy to learn. But finding someone who can create a decent campaign for you is easier than finding an SEO professional .

3. Easy to expand coverage

Using the Google Ads extension is very simple. Just pay more. There are two ways to pay more, one is to locate more keywords, and the other is to simply increase the daily budget.

4. No uncertainty

You don’t have to worry about any updates from Google. In the PPC world, updates are known in advance, not secret. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to create an ad and another 5 to 10 minutes to determine if it is approved. You will also know exactly what is allowed and what is not. Remember, you can also get Google’s own support.

5. Touch more buyers

Most of the clicks on PPC are for buyers. When people want to buy something, people don’t necessarily click on Google ads more, but the ads you target are keywords. When someone searches for this keyword, your ads are more likely to show up. While paid search results have a lower conversion rate than organic results, they are still more expensive than social media.

6. Easy to do A / B test

A/B testing with PPC is very simple. Just create two ads and serve them out. Then look at the background to see which ad works well, and finally choose the one that performs well, and eliminate the poor performance. In some cases, a 1 % increase in click-through rate may change the situation.

||PPC disadvantages

PPC also has some drawbacks, depending on who you are and what you did, and some may even seem to be a disadvantage.

For example, if your product has a high profit margin, you can pay for advertising. However, if you pay $ 0.98 for advertising for $ 1 , the advertising will not be effective, especially after taxes.

1. Pay for every click

The user pays for every click, which means that the traffic that the advertisement brings to you is money. But if you have traffic but no conversion, you may not feel worth it. Suppose you can earn $ 10 for each sale , so you can spend $ 0.01 to $9.99 to advertise that you are not losing money. However, this money can only bring you traffic and does not guarantee conversion. If the ad has brought 100 individuals and the conversion rate of 1 %, you want to make sure from 100 individuals to earn money than lead this 100 advertising costs of visitors . At this point, the money you earn is 100*1%*10 = 10 dollars. If the money for advertising is higher than 10 dollars, you will not lose money?

Pay per click is not bad, but it is superfluous relative to SEO .

2. Steep learning curve

When you first enter the Google Adwords platform, it may be very difficult. There are a lot of things to digest: campaigns, ad groups, keywords, negative keywords, budget, bids, clickthrough rate, cost-per-click, and more. If you don’t know, you may waste a lot of money. One of my most recent customers created an ad on their own, wasting about 75 % of the budget because he didn’t set any negative keywords.

However, once you have a basic understanding of them, you can easily set up as a good campaign. There are also official courses from Google , you can also learn.

3. Low return on investment

As I said before, doing SEO results is a bit slow, but the effect lasts longer. This is the exact opposite of PPC . The return on investment of PPC is calculated based on the amount of money earned by selling products in the short term minus the advertising fee. When you stop paying for advertising, there is no return, which is different from long-term SEO .

4. Growth is tied to advertising budget

Although it is easy to expand coverage, PP C is tied to the budget. This means that if you want to sell more, you have to pay more for advertising. It sounds like there is nothing wrong with it, but considering that growth often involves other costs, such as better servers, people, and even warehouses, you are always short of money.

5. Low brand awareness

When you pay for a click, you usually want to sell it quickly. As long as users buy once, search engines will be more likely to relocate them. Even if they end up buying from you, they are likely to come from other people’s information sites, whether through Adsense or some sort of affiliate link.

6. Content is restricted by the platform

If you want to show ads, there are some rules to follow. There are not only titles and descriptions but also content. There are some niches that can’t even be advertised at all, like some prohibited words.

When do you choose PPC?

You can choose PPC at any time. If you have a budget, you can use PPC from the beginning. PPC can attract traffic and keep business growing.

If you are already doing SEO, you can’t get all the keywords to be ranked. For those keywords that are not ranked, you can pay for advertising. You can also vote for existing keyword ads to increase your clickthrough rate. If you are in the top position, why not give up the second position?


Most of the time, people start with PPC because it brings immediate results. They missed SEO because they didn’t start doing it as soon as possible. The later you do SEO , the longer it will take to rank. You can start SEO with some simple things. For example, a blog, a content marketing strategy is a good way to increase brand awareness.

On the other hand, SMEs may miss many opportunities because they have never usedPPC.

In the long run, SEO is indeed much more powerful than PPC. But in the short term, PPC is the best way to get some initial traffic and sales.

Conclusion: Both SEO and PPC are good ways to sell products, and combined to do more.

These two strategies are usually complementary because you can run both strategies simultaneously for different types of keywords.

For example, most long-tail keywords are not suitable for PPC due to low search volume, but you can use them for SEO. For hot search keywords, PPC is easier to rank than SEO, and PPC gives you the chance to beat other powerful brands.

Of course, if you are understaffed or have other factors, you can choose one based on your goals.

What experience have you had? Have you tried PPC and SEO? Which one brings better results?


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