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6 min read

SEO vs. PPC: Ultimate Comparison – Pros, Cons, & Integrated Approach

When was the last time that you scrolled six pages into search results to find the service or product you needed? Probably never. At On The Map Marketing, we help our clients businesses grow through a variety of strategies that help them to be discovered by wider audiences who are looking for what they offer. 

As a business owner, you are looking for a marketing strategy that will help get your brand in front of more people, intrigue them, and make them want to become a customer. Advertising on the internet is very different from the traditional advertising of decades past, but even within the digital marketing industry, there have been massive disruptions and changes. 

Two of the methods for achieving the goal are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC). The marriage of these two methods works exceptionally well, as each one is able to complement the other, which can be a boom for businesses. 

Advantages of SEO

SEO is all about driving traffic to your website using keywords that your customers are using to find businesses just like yours. But it’s also a lot more than that. Google evaluates websites on over 200 elements in order to rank them, not just title tags and keywords, so SEO is a lot more than simply ensuring you mention certain keywords in your content, or backlinking. And when done well, SEO can help you dominate your industry.


While developing brand awareness isn’t free, SEO is highly cost-effective because there are no charges for every impression, or click on your link. Instead, your organic search is generating traffic from your keywords. For this reason, SEO has a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to other forms of paid advertising. SEO is extremely cost-effective for improving visibility and generating more traffic to your website from a targeted audience. 

SEO is customizable depending on the aggressiveness of your campaign and how much you want to pay. Your monthly costs could range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, our project managers put together a strategy that will help you reach your goals. This makes it a flexible option for startups, small businesses, and individuals who want quality marketing campaigns for an affordable price.

And because you’re not paying per click, your SEO strategy won’t be affected if you decide to go with another company or make any changes. Remember that you get organic search results from SEO, so you will continue to see results no matter what.

Building Your Brand As An Authority

As more people get to know about your website it’s going to drive up your visibility and brand awareness. You can use content to help you become an authority in your niche. When new customers visit your website and see that you have high-quality content that informs, entertains, or gives them something that they need, they will repeatedly come back to your website for more. 

By using videos, images, or blogs to inform your customers about what you are about your product or services, they will begin to trust you as an authority. Once they know that they can get their questions answered by going to your website, and have built trust in you because you’ve provided them with accurate and relevant information, more people will revisit your website and share it with others on social media.

Once your credibility becomes established from both your organic improvements and superior content, your reputation as an authority can benefit your business. You will enjoy a higher click-thru rate and have more trust than your competitors.

Advantages of PPC

It’s hard to beat the effectiveness of SEO, but there are also many advantages to using PPC. The first and most obvious reason is that paid search ads are the first results people see when they type keywords into Google and hit “Search.” And even if your target customers just scroll by them, they’ve still seen them. This does a remarkable job of building brand awareness. Organic searches will not be on the top portion of the search results page. With PPC, they see your ad no matter what and you only pay if they click on your link.

Works For Any Budget

Before you settle on a budget for PPC, you will want to consider your Average Order Value (AOV), or how much your products cost, and your Gross Margin Percentage. If you know what your business goals are and how much you want to make in sales, then you can calculate how much you should spend per month on clicks, which can be broken down even more into the maximum amount you will spend on an individual keyword. Our project managers will walk you through how to choose the best strategy for your business and budget.

Increased Visibility

Usually the first 3-4 results “above the fold” on search results pages are paid ads. Customers can see information about you such as your location, phone number and prices. A well-written meta-description can pull those customers in and make them decide to not scroll by. Who wants to keep searching when the answer is right in front of them? That reasoning is why PPC is so effective.

Stable Over Time

Quite a few fields are very competitive in the SEO world. If you’re selling a product or offer some sort of local service, then you’re constantly competing with other businesses in your niche. This could mean that the keywords that rank highly today might not be the same ones that rank highly in a few months as other companies implement their SEO plans. PPC offers more stability than these inevitable ebbs and flows. 

The Benefits of Using SEO and PPC Together 

Each business is going to have their own unique needs. For example, a local business in a medium-sized city or town that is trying to rank for their location will probably have a higher visibility in their local and organic search results. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, then that may be all that you need. But if you are a large e-Commerce store that is trying to fight for customers against major online retailers, then you’re going to need a very robust strategy using both PPC and SEO.

Meeting Long-Term And Short-Term Goals

SEO requires a lot more patience. Depending on your budget and how aggressive you want your campaign to be, you can begin to see results between 6 to 18 months. PPC, because it is paid, starts to reel in results right away. SEO is great for your business’ long-term goals. PPC is a great partner to SEO because it allows you to jump right in and see results sooner.

Use Successes To Drive Decision-Making Between PPC and SEO

If you have a high-performing PPC ad then you can incorporate the headline into your SEO title tag or meta descriptions. This allows you to take certain keywords for a “test drive” on PPC before committing to use them for SEO.

Use Each Method’s Weaknesses To Strengthen The Other

You can use each method’s advantages and disadvantages to actually benefit you. For example, instead of using PPC for high-cost keywords, you can use SEO instead, which is free. Google has listed some of the most expensive keywords, which range from $30-$50 per click, as opposed to $1 or $2 per click. You can also use SEO for keywords that convert at lower rates, which could blossom into beneficial keywords for you when you have great content. 

Design A High-Quality Landing Page

Remember that without a high-quality landing page for visitors to arrive at, there’s no point in using PPC or SEO. If your visitors show up to a poorly-designed website or one that isn’t optimized for mobile use, then they will leave, which will negatively affect your bounce rate. The bounce rate, as the name implies, is the number of people who visited your website and then leave. Websites with a high bounce rate are ranked poorly, which will negate all the work put into your SEO campaign. This is easy to avoid by hiring a cutting-edge, successful website design company to also manage your PPC and SEO.

Why On The Map Marketing

What some other agencies do is fill up a website with all sorts of targeted keywords for a certain niche, location, or category. Then they try to sell those websites to businesses who unwittingly think that they will see a return on their investment. In fact, this can harm your SEO in the long run. A marketing company focused on keeping their pockets fat won’t care if you’re losing out on thousands of potential customers due to nefarious techniques.

At On The Map Marketing, we only use the techniques that help our clients, not hurt them or their business goals. Combining the two means that our team spends more time with you. By building a partnership with you, we are able to provide you more comprehensive solutions to your needs. Give us a call today.

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