SEO V Google Ads – which is best?


9 mins

SEO V Google Ads - which is best_

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Two of the best digital marketing strategies widely used nowadays are SEO and PPC  advertising, such as Google Ads. While some preach the use of Google Ads and others swear by SEO, the truth is that you can go further using both. 

It’s no secret by now that these two methods are very different but can both crucially benefit your client’s business. The important question is how to utilize them effectively.

As the digitization of businesses gets more widespread, it has become vital for growing businesses and giant companies alike to understand SEO and PPC and how they should focus on each of them.

In this guide, we’ll discuss a detailed comparison between Google Ads and SEO – their similarities, differences, what to consider before using them, and best use cases.

After reading this post, you’ll gain a better understanding of these marketing strategies and how they can work for different businesses.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It is the process of improving a website’s visibility in search engines by applying different sets of practices to get traffic from organic search results. 

Digital marketers focus their knowledge on Google as it is currently the most popular search engine nowadays. However, SEO applies to every other search engine online, such as Bing, Yandex, Baidu, Yahoo Search, and even Quora and Linkedin, among others.

Some of the most common optimization techniques used are:

  • Backlinking
  • Internal linking
  • Relevant keyword integration
  • And many more 

By optimizing a website, you increase your chances of generating more organic traffic, as the search engine will match your content to users conducting related searches. In turn, these leads will help you guide users toward the bottom of the sales funnel.

A webpage’s ranking on search engines is determined by different factors, including:

  • The quality of content and keywords
  • Backlinks
  • Length of session per user
  • The ease of navigation due to web design

What is PPC?

PPC (pay-per-click) is a digital marketing strategy that involves paying a fee each time your ad is clicked. 

There are different types of PPC that appear in different places on the web. One of the most common is the search ads such as Google Ads or Google Adwords. Other social media platforms such as Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads also offer PPC advertisements for brands.

Paid traffic is used to gain immediate results and traffic to your website. It is a powerful tool that lets you maintain full control of your budget. With PPC, marketers can allocate their money only to the specific keywords they want. You can also target a specific audience and show them relevant ads to make sure the aim of the campaigns is correctly implemented. 

PPC works by letting advertisers bid for keywords they want to use for ads, thus making it a highly competitive industry. The bidding price will continue to go higher the more saturated your niche gets. 

You also have to increase your marketing budget to continue paying for ads. If you only have paid traffic coming to your website, you will lose your spot on the search engine results once you stop paying for ads.

Bidding on a keyword means that when a user searches using that keyword, your ad will appear on top of the organic results. Once your ads are in place, you can track and test them. 

Experiment and check which keywords drive more customers. Focus on what works. You can also gain an even better view of your campaign’s performance, generate reports, and analyze search results data effectively when using data analytics and Google Ads reporting tools.

SEO vs. PPC - Key considerations

SEO and PPC approach digital advertising in different ways. For one, the traffic SEO generates is organic and technically free, while PPC is paid. PPC adverts offer an instantaneous influx of users, while SEO takes time to kick start. 

That said, we have listed some key considerations you should closely look at before you decide which one will work better for different businesses you manage.

Key considerations in SEO

Before jumping into building SEO for your next client, consider the following factors:

1. Return on Investment (ROI)

Organic search traffic is technically free. Once you have figured out the formula that works and consistently optimizes your page, you will generate traffic for a long time. 

However, organic traffic takes a lot of work and resources to pay off and get the ball moving. It also creates a wide competition between websites wanting to rank on top of search queries.

2. Cost-per-click (CPC)

Since traffic comes from organic search results, SEO does not have cost-per-click (CPC). 

3. Overall cost

SEO is not cheap since it’s a long-term strategy. It will take months or even a year of spending to build a firm standing on the search engine results page and get ROI. 

However, it is still more cost-effective than other marketing tactics in the long run since this takes time to build, but it is more cost-effective than other marketing tactics.

4. Brand awareness

When you make a website more optimised to appear on top of search results to queries relevant to your brand, more people will get to know the business and increase brand awareness and visibility.

5. Credibility and Trust

SEO requires rich, unique, and authentic content. A good byproduct of optimizing a website is that you get to build a brand and establish its reputation as a legitimate business as you build trust with your users and increase repeat visits. 

The audience will also start to build trust in the brand, especially if the content brings value to the users.

6. Long-term strategy

As mentioned, SEO is not an overnight success strategy. It needs consistent work, plenty of time, money, and patience. But once you attain strong rankings via SEO, it is more guaranteed to last.

7. Content development

SEO is great for promoting informational content and building authority in a niche. It informs the development of site content that will rank high and meet the needs of visitors.

8. Search Intent

Using SEO, you can target users within the different stages of the buyer journey, such as initial interest or buying stage.

9. Opportunities

Search behaviour is continuously changing, and the volume of keywords/search queries continues to grow. It may pose a challenge but also opens up opportunities for brand expansion and content improvement.

While SEO is a useful tool, there are still downsides to using it. Here are some of them:

  • Longer-term strategy – Some marketers give up after the first few months of implementing SEO, especially if their marketing efforts did not bear fruit by that time. But always remember that building an SEO-friendly website will really take time; some months or even a year or so. An exception should be made to some low competition arenas which can be penetrated more readily. 
  • Keyword Competition – Getting the right keywords is not an easy task, especially for branded searches. To get around this, you can start by collecting the different forms of branded search keywords for the business dominating the search results for those keywords.
  • Algorithm changes – Google Analytics always changes algorithms, so you have to keep up and regularly optimize your page.
  • Lead conversions – There is a mix of relevant and irrelevant website visits in SEO. That said, not all traffic on your webpage from organic clicks will generate sales. So if your client’s primary focus is immediate sales, SEO may not be the best tool for their business.
  • More complex tracking – SEO is more complex to implement, track, and generate analytics reporting than PPC ads.

Key considerations in PPC

Before starting a new PPC campaign, you should consider the following factors that could affect its outcome:

1. Immediate results

PPC advertising campaigns will bring leads to your website much faster than using SEO.

2. Search intent

Keyword identification and selection enable PPC campaigns to specifically target aspects of search user intent, such as purchase intent.

3. Retargeting

The PPC model provides the freedom to customize your ads and show them to users who have already viewed specific pages of your website before.

4. Engagement adverts

PPC is all about the ads and keywords. With a direct and descriptive CTA, you can guide users on what you want them to do with your ads. Additionally, attractive and engaging ads help businesses get the desired attention from customers.

5. Brand awareness

PPC allows specific targeting of keywords relevant to a brand or product. Once you place ads with the proper keywords, it will help raise brand awareness as they are displayed when users make the corresponding searches.

6. Overall cost

Despite being costly, especially in the first few months of setting up, PPC campaigns can be efficient and cost-effective. It can act as a traffic light switch that can generate leads within the day of publishing and can deliver excellent ROI. 

However, you also have to constantly invest in your ads to continue profiting from them.

7. Budget

With PPC, you get to have control over what keywords you will spend your budget on. You will know what exactly you’re paying for. You can easily stop paying for keywords that don’t generate many clicks and focus on the ones that work.

8. Visual ads

PPC advertising comes in different forms, like visual ads that are far more engaging than text-based search results.

9. A/B testing

PPC campaigns, ads, landing pages, etc., can all be honed and optimised using A/B testing.

Some downsides of Google Ads/PPC include the following:

  • Overtime expenses – As Google Ads are on a bidding system, the more competitive your industry gets, the pricier the keywords will be. You also need to continue ramping up your budget as you scale up your business. Investing in ads costs a lot, especially in the first few months when you are in the experimental phase to know what works for the business.
  • Maintenance – Just because your ad appears on top of the search engine doesn’t mean you can just leave it there unchanged. You have to update your campaign to stay relevant (headline, copy, images, etc.) to make them work in the long term.

Other things to consider whether SEO or PPC will work better for a brand or business

It is important to remember that every situation is unique. There is no one approach that will work for every business, so it’s not possible to simply say whether SEO is better than PPC. 

It is always best to get to know your client and their needs. Additionally, consider the following factors that will affect the marketing strategy you can use for a business or brand:

  • Financial situation or budget of the business – For small businesses without a thousand dollars a month to spend just on marketing ads, SEO might be the best way to get into digital marketing.
  • Business goals and needs – Is the business scaling up? Does it need to drive just traffic or increase sales? Determine whether your client requires a long-term or short-term strategy to drive customers to their website.
  • Product or Services – Different products and services need different ways to get seen. For example, an Ecommerce site in a competitive space might take time to gain better organic search rankings using SEO. However, PPC ads will get them valuable traffic ASAP.
  • Length of campaign – limited-time campaigns need reach as soon as they can. Using paid ads will work best to reach as many people as quickly as possible.

Using SEO and PPC together

SEO and PPCs can actually work hand in hand to give your client a better chance of achieving its goals better than only applying PPC advertisements or building SEO. 

Note also how the combination of both approaches can deliver far more than the sum of the parts.

One of the most common ways that Google Ads can help boost SEO is through the improvement of keywords. Use PPC ads to test out and monitor which keywords work best to drive customers into the business. Then, apply them organically to the website as you restructure it to be more SEO-friendly. 

You can also monitor other essential insights and data collected using PPC campaigns and apply them to SEO efforts. 

Some of the key benefits of using both SEO and PPC include the following.

1. Keyword data from PPC

Aside from important insights on PPC campaigns, gaining organic rankings for high PPC cost keywords saves money.

2. SERP dominance

Improving PPC and SEO together will make your website as visible as possible on SERPs.

3. A/B Testing

Ad copy and landing page performance analysis can be used to further optimise SEO attributes.

4. Resistance to changes

Using both PPC and SEO will make your website more resilient. For example, if Google issues a huge update on its search algorithms and your SEO performance suffers, PPC will maintain traffic to your page.

5. Expand reach further

Once you have maxed out your SEO rankings, PPC ads can take over to drive even more traffic to your website.

Wrapping it up

With different businesses having unique needs, you should always customize digital marketing strategies so they can put their best foot forward and know how to effectively market their brands.

Google Adwords and SEO are two distinct approaches to improve website visibility and drive potential users to your page. While they work great on their own, implementing both and letting them work together will not only boost your search engine ranking. It will also help you understand what keywords drive more customers, know more about your visitors through reporting tools, and simultaneously work on short-term and long-term marketing strategies.

However, implementing these methods is only the first step. Tracking and monitoring performances are also crucial to keep them running seamlessly. Using Google ads and Google analytics reporting tools from Reporting Ninja will make it much easier to monitor campaigns and synchronize them with SEO. 

Try our Google Reporting Services today! Sign up for a 15-day free trial and experience simplified analytics and reports like no other.

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