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Organic SEO vs PPC: What’s the Difference?

By April 28, 2020November 20th, 2023One Comment

Organic SEO vs. PPCGenerally speaking, when people attempt to find information online, they turn to one place–Google. Positioning your business at the top of search listings will be beneficial to your business because these search listings generate the most clicks and have a high conversion rate. Two common ways to catapult your business to the top of search results, include SEO and PPC. Continue on to compare the differences between organic SEO vs PPC and discover when to utilize them in your marketing efforts.

What Is PPC?

PPC is pay-per-click advertising. PPC is a method of advertising where advertisers pay only when someone clicks on their ad. These ads are used throughout social media and search engines. Have you ever browsed the web to find a new pair of shoes only to be flooded with ads in your web browser or Facebook/Instagram feed? That’s PPC!

In the case of search engines, PPC ads are search listings that appear at the top of search results, ahead of organic SEO listings.

Advertisers will bid a certain amount of money for each click the ad generates. That becomes easier for advertisers to manage their budgets. Preview an example of how this works here.

What Is Organic SEO?

Organic SEO includes the listings that appear underneath paid ads, or at the top of a search if the search term doesn’t produce any PPC ads. They’re organic due to the fact that they are determined by Google’s search algorithm. The results aren’t influenced by advertising dollars the way that PPC ads are.

Ordinarily, SEO is used by local businesses, as a large percentage of searches on Google are “near me” searches, such as, “photography store near me.”

Organic SEO vs PPC: Which One Should You Use?

As a business owner you may wonder whether you should use SEO or PPC to promote your business? While the answer depends on your goals and budget, both are important since they allow businesses to reach the top of search results for a particular search term.

Approximately 75% of searchers don’t go past the first page of search results—do you? Moreover, 33% of all clicks in a search result are on the first search result.

In comparing the results of organic SEO vs PPC, this study posted on Search Engine Land showed that organic search drives 53% of all site traffic while PPC drives 15%.

Organic SEO can be volatile at times as it is dependent on Google’s algorithm. One change could throw your business into chaos. In 2018, Google made over 3000 changes to its algorithm. As such, be sure to work with an expert agency that understands how to implement an organic strategy strategy that demonstrates the ability to withstand such changes

On the other hand, PPC can generate fast results and deliver a high return on investment, with some brands netting a return of $3 for every dollar spent. Again, the decision to choose organic SEO vs PPC largely depends on your growth goals and your budget.

Using an Integrated Approach

Many marketing agencies understand the issue of SEO vs. PPC as black and white. It’s either one or the other. The reality is that there’s significant gray area between them.

SEO and PPC are complementary to each other and can be used together to create strong marketing / branding campaigns. Such an integrated approach can be beneficial for a number of reasons.

Brand awareness is one such reason. A user views a company’s brand multiple times when organic search results appear under a paid ad—reinforcing the brand in the mind of the user.

Consequently, an integrated approach will keep a business in front of searchers no matter what. Per the aforementioned Google algorithm, you might find that organic rankings take a slight drop due to a change—PPC can pick up where SEO left off.

Should marketers choose to use an integrated approach, SEO, or PPC? The answer largely depends on a firm’s budget, the competition, and the company’s marketing goals.

For example, a marketing campaign for a product launch may rely on PPC since the campaign has a defined start and end date. PPC should certainly be considered for a short game, when your business needs results within a few months.

On the other hand, an on-going lead generation campaign may use an integrated approach or start with PPC and then use SEO as momentum builds. 

How to Optimize Marketing for SEO and PPC

If you decide to use SEO, PPC, or an integrated approach, there are still a few items that you need to address to create a successful marketing campaign. First, every small business needs a website. Next, considerations must be taken on how to optimize the website to build trust with Google while creating an intuitive user experience for visitors. Ultimately, this will benefit both PPC and SEO campaigns.

Optimizing Your Website

Many web design companies neglect to tell small businesses that it’s difficult to drive traffic to your website once it’s built. As a business owner, you want to create the right impression when potential customers visit your site. Accordingly, your website must be fast, easy to navigate, secure, and provide the information that people are looking for.

Use the Right Keywords

How do you drive traffic to your site using SEO or PPC? First, you must develop a strategy to find and utilize the right keywords that will drive traffic to your site. The keywords you use have to be relevant to your business, and they must be used by people looking for your products and services in online searches.

Two often overlooked pieces of information include why someone is searching for a particular product or service and what keywords they are using in their search. While developing a keyword strategy it’s crucial to recognize that people are at different stages of the buying cycle during their searches.

One portion of your audience is in the early stages and just researching, or at the top of the marketing funnel. Meanwhile, others are ready to buy, or in the action phase of the marketing funnel and they’re searching for a provider.

For example, a person who is looking for a home to buy in Philadelphia will look at local listings. That person will look up information such as “first-time homebuyer tips” or “should I get prequalified for a home loan.”

Once they’re ready to take action and hire a real estate agent and a lender, they’ll search for “real estate agent near me” and “home lender near me.”

A business needs to align its search terms with the intent of the person searching. In the early stages of the buying cycle, it is a good idea to have content that addresses those questions.

As a result, you create and build trust when you align your content and search terms with all steps of the buyer’s journey. 

Understanding Organic SEO vs. PPC

When you’re evaluating marketing tactics, you want to drive as much traffic to your website as possible. Accordingly, you may be asking which is better: organic SEO vs PPC? Or should you have an integrated marketing campaign?

Ultimately, it depends on your goals and budget. No matter which one you decide to use, you need to check that you use the right keywords and optimize your website for the best results.

Contact us today to find out which marketing strategy is the best one for driving traffic and clients to your website.