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PPC and SEO are two popular marketing strategies. Most businesses can benefit from using both, however there are times when you may want to use one type of strategy more than the other. The following guide compares both PPC and SEO to help you determine which one you should be using.

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) involves paying for an advert to display until a certain number of people have clicked on it. Such an advert could lead to your website, helping to generate more visitors and customers. 

PPCadverts can be found all over the internet and can take various different forms. A few examples of types of PPC adverts include:

  • Paid search marketing: When searching for something on Google or Bing, you may notice that a few search listings appear as ads at the top. This is one of the most popular forms of PPC advertising.
  • Display adverts: These include image ads and video ads which can be found all across the internet. They are another popular form of PPC. 
  • Social media advertising: The likes of Facebook allows users to pay in order to ‘boost’ a post. The advert will display on users Facebook walls until a number of people have viewed it. This can also be viewed as another form of PPC.

Some of the popular ad platforms include Google Ads, Facebook Advertising and Microsoft Advertising (used for Bing). You can create ad campaigns yourself using these platforms or you can seek help from advertising companies. Getting help from a professional company could help to make your campaigns more effective. 

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a strategy used to help improve your rankings on search engines such as Google and Bing. This can help you to attract more visitors to your website (and potentially more customers). 

While you can use PPC advertising to display your search listing as an advert at the top of the rankings, SEO can help you to rank at the top longer without the need for constant advertising. It’s a known fact that some people also tune out adverts and skip straight to the non-paid search listings. 

SEO involves a variety of tactics including using keywords, improving page loading speed and building backlinks. It is often worth using a professional company to handle SEO as it can be quite complex and time-consuming. 

Which is better for me: PPC or SEO?

PPC and SEO can both be used alongside each other. However, there are times when you may want to favour one over the other…

Are you looking for a quick or long-term solution?

PPC is much better for getting quick results. As soon as you publish your advert it will start displaying – you could start to see more visitors and customers within hours. Of course, most people aren’t this lucky and it can sometimes take a bit longer to get results (the average amount of time is about 3 months). 

SEO can take a little longer to make an impact. Most people don’t see results until 4 to 6 months after starting an SEO campaign. Consequently, SEO isn’t recommended for promoting temporary deals or imminent events (PPC is better for these types of promotion). The advantage of SEO is that the effects are much longer – while a PPC ad may only display for a few weeks, an SEO-boosted webpage could continue to rank highly for years. 

Are you looking to target a specific demographic?

PPC campaigns can be targeted at specific demographics. Advertising platforms allow you to set certain parameters so that they only display for certain types of consumer. This can make PPC useful for marketing a niche business.

SEO can similarly be targeted at niches but you don’t have quite as much power over your target demographic. As a more general marketing strategy, it can often be more effective – whereas PPC is not so effective at this. 

How much money have you got to spend?

In the long run, PPC can often work out more expensive than SEO. This is because, in order to be effective, most companies will have multiple PPC campaigns on the go. 

SEO tends to be a much better long-term investment. While many companies pay for SEO on an ongoing basis, you generally won’t have to spend as much you will on PPC to get results. Companies on a budget may want to focus on SEO more than PPC for this reason.