SEO vs PPC Which Do You Think Is Better?

Apr 28, 2010   //   by Eric Gesinski   //   pay per click, SEO, SEO Blog  //  29 Comments

Two of the most prominently used methods of internet marketing are pay per click advertising and search engine optimization. How do they compare? When should you use either? Knowing how to properly use each can make a big difference in your ROI and traffic results.

  • Speed of results. As much as some extreme cases for SEO may be flaunted, on average search engine optimization takes a while to have full effect. This can be a few weeks, a few months, even as long as a year to get desired results. Pay per click on the other hand will have results within a day. If you're interested in getting immediate results with a marketing method, PPC is your choice. You'll find out what keywords are more effective much more quickly and can adjust them almost real-time. SEO is better used for a researched keyword list using keywords you know will have desired results.
  • Cost, immediate and long-term. PPC is very fast to produce results. You pay for the amount of traffic you want. If the traffic that searches for those keywords or browses the sites you advertise on exists, you can potentially pay thousands of dollars a month. For SEO, you generally will pay a large amount up front to get initial SEO work done, then a monthly amount to continue the SEO services. (This varies heavily, depending on where you pay for your SEO services.) On average, this is a higher cost than PPC for the same markets. If your PPC costs are high for every cost per click, chances are your SEO costs will also be high, and the same for markets with lower competition – both PPC and SEO will have costs relevant with the market value, and SEO is usually a higher cost.
  • Results, long term value. PPC is good because it can provide instant results, and you can get immediate return on investment. SEO will not produce results immediately, but the long term value is much higher. The traffic growth on a good SEO campaign is exponential, and growth for a PPC campaign (if any) is usually linear. The difference between an organic position on page 2, position 9 on page 1, and position 1 on page 1 is immensely different. For PPC, the response for difference in positions is quite different, but the it is not as large as those from organic results. SEO will cost more but will provide a bigger long term result, if the keywords being optimized for are quality ones.

Knowing these details, it's recommended that you use PPC to do keyword research fully and test which keywords convert best before pushing into SEO. That way your costs can be adjusted quickly for different keywords, and the commitment to SEO can be done with tested keywords that have verified results. This will save you large costs and help produce definite outcomes.


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Eric Gesinski

Eric Gesinski does Tulsa website design, Tulsa SEO, and other local internet marketing services for the Tulsa area.

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  • Kristi Hines
    Twitter:
    says:

    It seems like if you are looking for immediate results, PPC might be the way to go. But more people are likely to trust items in organic search rankings over ads, which is when the long term benefit of SEO comes into play. I like the suggestion of testing with PPC then focusing on SEO for the long run.
    .-= Kristi Hines´s last blog ..My Favorite 2010 Search & Social Awards Nominees =-.

  • Kristi Hines
    Twitter:
    says:

    It seems like if you are looking for immediate results, PPC might be the way to go. But more people are likely to trust items in organic search rankings over ads, which is when the long term benefit of SEO comes into play. I like the suggestion of testing with PPC then focusing on SEO for the long run.
    .-= Kristi Hines´s last blog ..My Favorite 2010 Search & Social Awards Nominees =-.

  • Vincent says:

    SEO has surely a long term results, in case you really work on it regularly… which can also cost at the end !
    .-= Vincent´s last blog ..Le SEO est mort =-.

  • Vincent says:

    SEO has surely a long term results, in case you really work on it regularly… which can also cost at the end !
    .-= Vincent´s last blog ..Le SEO est mort =-.

  • Gerald Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    Personally I pick option 3. SEO and PPC work quite nicely together and they both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages.

    When I start a new campaign I actually start of similar as tot he way you describe here.

    You really can get a lot of really valuable feedback from your sponsored links campaign that help you direct your SEO efforts for natural search.

  • Gerald Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    Personally I pick option 3. SEO and PPC work quite nicely together and they both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages.

    When I start a new campaign I actually start of similar as tot he way you describe here.

    You really can get a lot of really valuable feedback from your sponsored links campaign that help you direct your SEO efforts for natural search.

  • Vance Sova says:

    Hi Eric,

    When I read your post for some reason I felt that you almost favored PPC.

    But I could be wrong there and you are probably for the balanced approach which is where I would put my vote.

    I have not yet used PPC but know of several people who use it together with SEO very profitably.

    Many people including myself are kind of afraid of PPC because the potential loss can be big if one doesn't know what they are doing.

    Vance
    .-= Vance Sova´s last blog ..Can You Really Get Blog Traffic From Twitter? =-.

    • Hey Vance – this reply is a tad late, but I thought I’d still reply. I don’t really favor either, I think they’re very different approaches to generating traffic.

      I myself like both and do prefer using PPC as a good tool for keyword research. I do SEO with keywords I’ve done solid research on with different methods (which can include PPC).

      And yes, you can lose a lot with PPC if you don’t know what you’re doing (it used to be easier, but it’s gotten more competitive and difficult because of that). But you do some research, start small, and you can get good results. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?

      Eric

  • Vance Sova says:

    Hi Eric,

    When I read your post for some reason I felt that you almost favored PPC.

    But I could be wrong there and you are probably for the balanced approach which is where I would put my vote.

    I have not yet used PPC but know of several people who use it together with SEO very profitably.

    Many people including myself are kind of afraid of PPC because the potential loss can be big if one doesn’t know what they are doing.

    Vance
    .-= Vance Sova´s last blog ..Can You Really Get Blog Traffic From Twitter? =-.

    • Hey Vance – this reply is a tad late, but I thought I'd still reply. I don't really favor either, I think they're very different approaches to generating traffic.

      I myself like both and do prefer using PPC as a good tool for keyword research. I do SEO with keywords I've done solid research on with different methods (which can include PPC).

      And yes, you can lose a lot with PPC if you don't know what you're doing (it used to be easier, but it's gotten more competitive and difficult because of that). But you do some research, start small, and you can get good results. You've got to start somewhere, right?

      Eric

  • Mario says:

    I have mixed feelings about PPC. If am Searching for something I tend to favor the organic search results more than the paid links. At least with my thinking is at least they put in the effort to rank organically and just paid for it. So I picked SEO kicks some major PPC ass!

    Mario
    .-= Mario@Halloween super affiliate´s last blog ..Halloween Super Affiliate – How To Make Money With Halloween Niche =-.

  • Mario says:

    I have mixed feelings about PPC. If am Searching for something I tend to favor the organic search results more than the paid links. At least with my thinking is at least they put in the effort to rank organically and just paid for it. So I picked SEO kicks some major PPC ass!

    Mario
    .-= Mario@Halloween super affiliate´s last blog ..Halloween Super Affiliate – How To Make Money With Halloween Niche =-.

  • aj says:

    I love to use PPC to get the data on what KW actually make me money then I use seo to target those keywords.

    I keep my ppc and seo up at the same time though even when I am in the top spots. It doubles my chance of getting the lead and I think it leads to good branding as well.
    .-= aj´s last blog ..Twitter Hits The Reset Button =-.

  • aj says:

    I love to use PPC to get the data on what KW actually make me money then I use seo to target those keywords.

    I keep my ppc and seo up at the same time though even when I am in the top spots. It doubles my chance of getting the lead and I think it leads to good branding as well.
    .-= aj´s last blog ..Twitter Hits The Reset Button =-.

  • David Leonhardt
    Twitter:
    says:

    I could not resist voting in your poll. PPC is advertising, SEO is public relations. Since I do only SEO, not being really much of an ad guy, I had to vote SEO.

    But the two can coexist nicely. In fact, when clients come to me hoping that by doing SEO they can end the high prices they pay for PPC, I ask them whether they get positive ROI from PPC, including both expense and time. If they say "yes", I tell them I can increase their traffic through SEO, but why would they then reduce traffic by ending their PPC? It doesn't need to be one or the other.
    .-= David Leonhardt´s last blog ..Four unique social bookmarking gems =-.

  • David Leonhardt
    Twitter:
    says:

    I could not resist voting in your poll. PPC is advertising, SEO is public relations. Since I do only SEO, not being really much of an ad guy, I had to vote SEO.

    But the two can coexist nicely. In fact, when clients come to me hoping that by doing SEO they can end the high prices they pay for PPC, I ask them whether they get positive ROI from PPC, including both expense and time. If they say "yes", I tell them I can increase their traffic through SEO, but why would they then reduce traffic by ending their PPC? It doesn't need to be one or the other.
    .-= David Leonhardt´s last blog ..Four unique social bookmarking gems =-.

  • Ryan Carter says:

    Honestly, if someone is looking to buy, I bank on the fact that they will take the quick path and click the ad. Organic search results are great for netting the researchers, but when someone is looking to buy they usually go for the ads just as frequently. I tend not to link to a review site with my PPC campaigns for this very reason.
    .-= Ryan Carter´s last blog ..Building BackLinks With Linkvana =-.

  • Ryan Carter says:

    Honestly, if someone is looking to buy, I bank on the fact that they will take the quick path and click the ad. Organic search results are great for netting the researchers, but when someone is looking to buy they usually go for the ads just as frequently. I tend not to link to a review site with my PPC campaigns for this very reason.
    .-= Ryan Carter´s last blog ..Building BackLinks With Linkvana =-.

  • David Leonhardt
    Twitter:
    says:

    @Ryan The thing is that most people are not looking to buy. In many cases, they do not even know what they want. Most people on the Internet are looking for information. In some cases the line between problem and solution is short and straight (such as a n entertainment item they might be looking for) in which case people are either looking to buy or looking for reviews before deciding to buy. In many cases, the line between problem and solution is long and twisted (such as what to do about the strange red moldy thing that seems to be growing on the side of the back porch) and do not even know whether they are looking for a product or a process. PPC works better for some niches than for others, but in almost every niche PPC and organic work well together, capturing different kinds of "shoppers" – both those who know they are shoppers and those who do not.
    .-= David Leonhardt´s last blog ..17 signs you need a proofreader =-.

  • David Leonhardt
    Twitter:
    says:

    @Ryan The thing is that most people are not looking to buy. In many cases, they do not even know what they want. Most people on the Internet are looking for information. In some cases the line between problem and solution is short and straight (such as a n entertainment item they might be looking for) in which case people are either looking to buy or looking for reviews before deciding to buy. In many cases, the line between problem and solution is long and twisted (such as what to do about the strange red moldy thing that seems to be growing on the side of the back porch) and do not even know whether they are looking for a product or a process. PPC works better for some niches than for others, but in almost every niche PPC and organic work well together, capturing different kinds of "shoppers" – both those who know they are shoppers and those who do not.
    .-= David Leonhardt´s last blog ..17 signs you need a proofreader =-.

  • Phil says:

    I think PPC works better in ecommerce products where you have direct sell page, and when you have services to sell, PPC has less impact in terms of sales

  • Phil says:

    I think PPC works better in ecommerce products where you have direct sell page, and when you have services to sell, PPC has less impact in terms of sales

  • Jimy caran says:

    Thank you for this nice blog, PTC is a great method to make

    money,….as I think I'll bookmark yout blog, And I wish if

    you have time come

    take alook I have aweb site about ptc

    thanks

    My PTC

    Guide

  • Jimy caran says:

    Thank you for this nice blog, PTC is a great method to make
    money,….as I think I’ll bookmark yout blog, And I wish if

    you have time come
    take alook I have aweb site about ptc
    thanks
    My PTC

    Guide

  • Snooples says:

    When you do it right, PPC and SEO can drive traffic considerably. PPC for instant result, while SEO takes a lot of time and patience but the results are more rewarding.

  • Snooples says:

    When you do it right, PPC and SEO can drive traffic considerably. PPC for instant result, while SEO takes a lot of time and patience but the results are more rewarding.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello there , i think SEO is better than PPC because PPC for instant result, while SEO takes a lot of time and patience but the results are more rewarding and properly use each can make a big difference in your ROI and traffic results and if you want to know more information visit site : http://www.hexainfosoft.in

  • Tulsa Internet Marke says:

    Some pretty cool tips for sure. Personally I like PPC, because it works better. Anyway, Thanks for all the great info.

  • The PR (brandking) value of PPC compaings is often ignored. Primary reason is that it is hard to measure the value. AdWords campaign I ran had a good ROI for the leads it was generating. What was interesting was the cost for the total impressions that were received was lower than a small banner in an industry info portal. From the VP Marketing’s perspective he was getting leads and good branding. Remember the impressions were for targeted search terms, where on the info portal there was limited control just where the banner would show.