Posted on 13/03/2023 by Vinod Velusamy

SEO vs PPC Finding The Right Solution For You

Two of the most prevalent digital marketing strategies that you should consider adding to your marketing mix are SEO and PPC. Both take up valuable time and resources so you need to ensure that you know exactly what’s going to be the most effective to reach your marketing goals. Whilst each delivery is unique, SEO and PPC strategies can be highly effective in boosting traffic to your site, increasing conversions and growing your brand awareness.   

SEO refers to any practices that help your website gain visibility online through organic means. Improving your SEO means that you have a higher chance of ranking higher in search engine results pages. Depending on the campaigns you choose, paid search such as Google Ads and Bing Ads enables you to pay a fee in exchange for your ads being displayed across the ad ecosystem. 

Let’s explore both of these powerful marketing tools and discover the unique advantages and disadvantages to help you make informed decisions about the future of you marketing strategies.

What Is SEO?

SEO – also commonly known as search engine optimisation – encompasses a wide range of technical practices with the ultimate goal of increasing visibility online. It specifically focuses on boosting rankings in search engine results pages – or SERPs – such as Google. A higher-ranking website will attract more traffic to your site, thus boosting your chances of hitting business goals such as generating more leads, increasing online reach and boosting conversions. 

SEO looks at the most relevant individual keywords for your specific niche and attempts to rank as high as possible for them. For example, an online sports eCommerce website may want to rank for keywords such as ‘football boots for sale’ or ‘cycling clothing’. Ranking further up in Google’s results will bring more traffic to the site and bring the opportunity for more conversions.   

a person using google search engine.

Modern SEO isn’t all about rankings – your content must satisfy the specific user intent of your audience as well. After all, it’s no use ranking number one for a search term when the content on the page itself is not helpful to the audience that lands on it. Success comes from carrying out extensive research on your target audience to understand what they are searching for, what problems they have and what content format they want. Then it’s up to you to provide the solution and create the content that satisfies their intent.

What are the key benefits of SEO?

Target Organic Search Traffic

SEO is ultimately about boosting organic traffic to your website. By organic traffic, we mean any user that searches for a query online and finds your website naturally in the search engines. Google has over 3.5 billion searches every single day and by creating an effective SEO strategy you are in with a chance of competing for a fraction of that.    

Boost Conversions in a Cost-Effective Manner

SEO is truly one of the most cost-effective marketing techniques because it actively targets members of your audience who are already searching for your services or products online. In the past, companies would have to rely on outbound marketing techniques such as cold calling or physical advertising such as billboards. Whilst these strategies still definitely have their place, SEO enables you to get your business in front of people that are already at a certain stage in their buyer’s journey. 

For example, let’s use the eCommerce sports brand analogy again. Maybe your audience is in the awareness stage of their buyer’s journey and is looking for a solution to help track their exercise routines. You could then produce a piece of content focusing on health and fitness watches and help to satisfy this intent. You may also have members of your audience further down their buyer’s journey in the consideration stage. They might already know what they need but are unsure of which brand or model to choose. Content can then be created for this to further push your audience members further along their journey and towards a conversion, in this case, a sale.        

Increase Brand Awareness

Growing your presence online is one of the key benefits of SEO. Even if someone doesn’t click on your link and simply scrolls past – known as an impression – you’re still getting your company name out there and in front of audience members that matter.   

SEO Provides Long-Term Value

Unlike other forms of marketing where you might have to pay for a set campaign length, SEO continues to generate results over time. Whilst this doesn’t mean that just because a page ranks highly for a search query at one time it will forever, it does mean that by consistently updating your content and keeping up with SEO algorithm changes you can achieve long-term success. This makes it a very cost-effective marketing strategy that has the power to bring widespread success with relatively few resources.   

a person writing content in WordPress

The Common Cons of SEO

SEO is a Saturated Market

As the importance of SEO has been fully realised over the past two decades, its popularity has grown extensively. More businesses than ever are trying to improve their SEO and reap the rewards online. This makes it increasingly more challenging to rank, especially if you’re a new or smaller business in a busy industry. You’ll be competing with the likes of Amazon or eBay, or established global publishers such as the BBC.

Results Take Time

Unlike PPC campaigns where you start seeing results immediately, SEO takes a much longer amount of time. Results might take weeks or months depending on your goals and it’s best to view SEO as something that is built up over time. There is no quick fix, which can be off-putting if you want an instant impact. 

You Need SEO Skills & Knowledge

SEO is a rich and complex area of digital marketing and having broad, extensive knowledge is often the key to succeeding. Starting out will feel overwhelming and the support of a professional is almost always required. With more competition than ever, it’s going to be the advanced SEO practices that really make the difference in your SEO campaigns.  

There is Room For Errors

Closely linked to the point above, the complex nature of SEO means that costly errors may occur. Carrying out the wrong keyword research, poor technical practices and outdated knowledge will all cost your SEO campaigns and damage your ROI. Using a skilled professional with good professional knowledge is the key to success.  

What is PPC?

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click and encapsulates any form of paid advertising that brings traffic to your website. PPC ads are mostly found in the search results – you will most likely have seen them at the top and bottom of the page, although now it’s not uncommon to see them elsewhere on the page in features such as product grids. As the name suggests; pay-per-click platforms like Google Ads will charge a fee every time a user clicks on them.  

A business uses PPC to help drive traffic to its site, with the intention of boosting conversions and sales. They are effective as they allow you to specifically target a single keyword or phrase so that you can get your products or services in front of your audience members that really matter. 

a person looking at a google ad on a smartphone

PPC covers a wide range of platforms and encapsulates both Google Ads and Bing Ads. They can then be further broken down into different formats, all of which serve a different purpose and allow you to advertise in unique ways. Shopping Ads for example allow you to list products from your website on the SERPs using pictures, whilst a traditional search ad only includes text and so may be better for a service page or blog post. 

Normally, a business will first interact with a PPC campaign using Google Ads. This is because Google has by far the most users on the internet and allows businesses to get their products and services in front of a larger target audience. The main types of Google Ads are: 

  • Search Ads
  • Display Ads
  • Shopping Ads
  • Smart Ads
  • Video Ads

We’ve produced another in-depth review outlining the different types of rich media ads and campaigns, so go check that out for more information. 

What are the key benefits of PPC?

PPC Helps to Drive Business Goals

PPC opens the doors to a handful of popular business goals for online marketers. This can be anything from getting extra brand exposure at the top of the SERPs to driving an all-important conversion such as a product sale. With such a wealth of PPC options available, users are able to support and advertise products, services, content and much more through all parts of the sales funnel.  


One of the key ways in which PPC is effective is that it allows you to target very precise areas within your audience. This can be extremely specific so you can target a particular demographic in a specific geo-location, audience members in a particular point in their buyer’s journey, or users based on their past behaviours. This differs from other forms of advertising and helps to make PPC one of the most effective strategies for online marketers.   

Gain Valuable Data Insights

PPC is a marketing strategy that allows users to measure and track their data. By combining your Google Ads account with Google Analytics, you will get access to in-depth performance tracking information such as clicks and conversions. This means that there is no guesswork with PPC and everything you do is informed directly by key facts and figures. Your budget can be managed more easily because of this as you can specifically target the areas that are most effective for your business. 

The Commons Cons of PPC

It Requires Investment

Although effective, the cost of a PPC campaign can stack up quickly. A budget must be given for a PPC campaign and time must be taken to ensure that resources are being effectively spent. If not, you risk a poor return on investment and an underwhelming campaign. 

It Takes Time to Set Up

PPC campaigns require a great deal of time to ensure that they are performing to the best of their ability. Google for example, takes time to learn and understand the goals of your campaign before it starts to properly serve your ads to users and generate the most valuable results. You cannot just set them up, leave them and hope for the best. 

You Still Need to Do SEO

Advertising platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads have increased their focus on serving the most relevant and valuable ads to their users. For you, this means that your landing pages need to serve content that is relevant to the keywords or phrases your bidding on. To do this, you’ll need to carry out optimisation work to your landing pages. In addition to optimising your webpages for keywords, you’ll also need to ensure your landing pages have a good user experience and influence your users to convert.

What are the key differences between SEO and PPC?

Organic vs Paid Traffic

A well-run SEO campaign has a better potential to attract traffic to your website than PPC. Although a more difficult and time-consuming process, SEO has the potential to bring in huge amounts of traffic if you are able to rank highly for competitive keywords within your niche. Statistics show that organic search is 8.5 times more likely to get clicked than a paid ad. You also don’t have to pay for clicks meaning that a higher amount of traffic doesn’t increase the costs of our campaign, unlike PPC.    

Ease of Use 

Both SEO and PPC require in-depth knowledge and experience to be truly successful. However, SEOs train for many years to understand the complex world of search and have to be aware of any advances in the algorithm that could change their practices. PPC still requires training to get the best results but it’s generally more straightforward than SEO. Beginners are much more likely to get results from PPC as they can take a course, get to grips with making campaigns and begin their own campaigns immediately.  

Position in the SERPs

The position difference between PPC and organic results is often the most immediately obvious difference between the two. PPC ads will usually appear at the top or bottom of a results page depending on the keywords used, ad copy and more. Organic results are found in the traditional area of a results page – in between the paid ads. PPC allows you to immediately target a specific keyword and pay to be visible in front of your audience. SEO on the other hand takes time and it can be much more difficult to get a page to rank well. 

Which strategy has the better conversion rate?

Providing your ads are fully optimised and targeting the right keywords, PPC campaigns have a higher average conversion rate than organic search. This is because PPC allows for granular targeting of keywords to ensure that every user that is finding your ad is looking for the same solution. Organic results rank for a whole host of different keywords and phrases – many of which will not be the ones you are targeting. This means that users can come across your content and find that it isn’t actually what they’re looking for. 

SEO and PPC Hybrid Approach

As we can see, SEO and PPC each have their own unique pros and cons and a combination of the two is often the most effective method for achieving your digital marketing goals. They should both work in unison to support each other in an overriding digital marketing strategy that encapsulates a wide range of practices. 

Utilising organic search and PPC will help to boost your overall traffic volume and there is an endless amount of flexibility to how you want to run your strategies together. You might want to have PPC campaigns focus on low-cost, low-volume keywords and use your SEO campaigns to focus on the costlier, more competitive keywords. Or, you might choose to use PPC for a period of time before your SEO strategies begin to make an improved return on investment.  

Important data from PPC campaigns can be used to inform your SEO strategy. You may even test out keywords in a PPC campaign before investing time and resources into longer-term SEO strategies. 

Lastly, having strong visibility in both organic and paid results will help to solidify your brand as a market leader and boost consumer confidence. Users may click on your organic results after seeing a paid ad from another search and so on. 

SEO and PPC Support with Loop Digital

Loop Digital can help you achieve your specific digital marketing goals to take your business to the next level. Our skilled professionals have the in-depth knowledge needed to run successful SEO and PPC ad campaigns. Over the years we have supported a wide range of businesses with each of these marketing strategies to boost conversions, drive traffic, and increase brand awareness and visibility online. 

Depending on the goals of our clients, we often utilise a hybrid approach to ensure that we can maximise their return on investment and generate sustainable results. For more information, contact our helpful team today or explore our digital marketing services down below.

Vinod is an indispensable asset to our team, serving as a highly skilled Paid Search Specialist. With an exceptional ability to analyse competitors and identify innovative strategies, Vinod continuously strives for excellence in his work. His profound passion for writing and effective client communication further strengthens his ability to deliver outstanding results. Vinod’s unwavering dedication to tackling challenges head-on in order to achieve tangible and remarkable outcomes sets him apart. Bringing with him a wealth of knowledge, Vinod embarked on his educational journey, pursuing a Master’s degree in Marketing at UOB. Although not yet completed, his extensive coursework has equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of marketing. Vinod’s acute understanding of client needs enables him to develop targeted campaigns that not only surpass competitors but also drive significant growth for our clients. Beyond his professional pursuits, Vinod indulges in his passion for music by playing the guitar, honing his skills, and channelling his creativity. Additionally, his love for football provides him with an outlet to foster teamwork, resilience, and a competitive spirit. Vinod’s expertise as a Paid Search Specialist, coupled with his unyielding enthusiasm and commitment to delivering exceptional results, make him an invaluable member of our team. His ability to analyse competitors, craft compelling campaigns, and foster strong client relationships propels our clients toward unprecedented success.

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