Should I do PPC or SEO?

With Google processing more than four billion daily web searches, competition for consumer attention has never been more intense.

To gain any serious business from the internet, the two main marketing tactics are Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Both can help you achieve your business aims, but using different approaches.

With PPC, you bid for the keywords for which you want to your websites to rank in the search pages. Your campaign then has ads at the top or bottom of the Google results when your target audience searches for the term you’ve successfully bid for.

You pay the price you bid at each time anyone clicks on your link.

With SEO, you use organic methods, playing by Google’s rules, to rank highly in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), as graded by the search giant’s algorithm. Following the rules and winning more visitors will get you ever higher in the rankings.

While the rules change all the times, ranking factors include high-quality linking, optimised content, security features, frequently updated content, loading speeds, responsive design and mobile friendliness.

How much effort is involved?

With PPC, most search engines have their own advertising tool, with key ones including Bing Ads and Google Ads. So a PPC campaign is pretty easy to set up.

SEO, however, is much more of a long-term affair. Initial efforts can begin when you develop your site, but regular maintenance and updates are needed, because search algorithms, as we’ve said, change so often.


With PPC, if you target the wrong audience or use the wrong keywords, or set a wrong timeframe, your investment could be wasted.

But you do have more control over where and how your website is displayed in searches, and where in the results your ads will appear.

People believe SEO is ‘free’ – and it’s true that search engines don’t charge to allow your site to rank. However, there is a lot of ongoing work involved in optimising for search.

There’s the cost, for example, in creating new content weekly, and optimisation inside and outside the site.

On the other hand, bear in mind that not every visitor will necessarily look at the first paid result. Based purely on trust, it may well be that the first organic search result is clicked on first.

And if competition for your chosen keywords is especially fierce, the money spent may not always immediately justify the results. Equally, some industries will simply fare better with PPC advertising, although SEO can help just about every kind of website, especially those targeting customers via local SEO.


PPC can get you to the top search spot the minute your campaign launches – but, of course, this finishes as soon as your campaign ends. SEO will take more time, anything up to a year, but the resulting success can be held onto for longer.

In truth, the reality is that you need both PPC and SEO, so, ultimately, an integrated approach typically works best. After all, if your website isn’t optimised for search and the user experience, paid-flor clicks won’t become conversions anyway.

If you need any advice or are interested in PPC or SEO then contact us and we can have a chat.