Is SEO better than PPC in the long term?
September 30th 2021 | By Steve Grant
Is SEO better than PPC? Both have their merits, but which is better for online visibility in the long term? Here we look at the benefits of each as we set out to determine the best strategy.
Search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising are both effective when it comes to driving traffic to a website. But whilst one method can prove successful in certain situations, the other may not work so well in others. If you’re going to succeed with SEO or PPC, or both, then it’s vital to know the situations in which they are best used.
When is SEO better than PPC?
80 per cent of traffic to websites comes from organic listings, making SEO a crucial strategy for any business that wants to get found online. But when to use SEO rather than PPC?
When you want long term results, but have time to wait
SEO is a long term strategy. Results don’t happen overnight and arriving at the top of the search results must be considered a slow burn tactic. However, once you’re there courtesy of SEO, you will benefit from sustained traffic. In addition, if you maintain your SEO campaign and continue to focus on improving results and extending your reach, then you are likely to keep enjoying results over time.
When you are looking to build an authority website
If you want your site to be the go-to online resource for your particular industry or niche, then you’re going to need a search engine presence. Organic search results tend to be the trusted choice over paid listings and, once established, an authority website has the power to generate a great deal of traffic based on its URL alone. Building reputation using Expertise-Authority-Trust tactics will command sustained traffic over time.
When you want to build value in your website
If you are planning to sell your website, or your business, then you will need to increase its value, and a good way of doing this is to establish a strong presence in the search engines courtesy of SEO. A website that’s considered valuable will have a constant flow of traffic, good page rank, excellent link popularity and of course, top search rankings. All of these are powered by SEO rather than PPC.
When is PPC the better choice over SEO?
Pay-per-click advertising, such as that offered by Google Ads, Bing Ads and Facebook, is a method of advertising on the search engine results pages. It works by bidding to have your ads appear in the sponsored results when a user enters a query that includes your keywords. Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay. So when is it better to use PPC over SEO?
When you need instant results
Whilst SEO is a slow burn strategy, PPC delivers instant results. As soon as your PPC campaign goes live, your ads will start displaying in the search results and, providing your ads are relevant and well-written, traffic will start flowing in straight away. Many brands use PPC when launching a new product or running seasonal promotions or event-focused campaigns.
When you need specifically targeted traffic
PPC advertising allows you to set a specific demographic for specific targeting. Social media advertising in particular will allow you to target particular age ranges, genders, marital status, interests and hobbies, education levels and job titles. This makes pay-per-click advertising a powerful way of reaching the very people you have defined as your ideal audience.
When you want to promote a time-sensitive offer
For promotions with an expiry date, PPC works better over SEO as it allows you to get your message out instantly. Even if your offer ends in just 24 hours, PPC will get it out to your target audience for you without the delay that would be incurred by SEO.
When you need to dominate your competitors in the search results
If you want to dominate the search results for particular keyword categories, PPC will net you a prominent position above the organic search results, ideal if you are looking to stand out above your competitors. Without PPC, you may lose out on clicks which will otherwise go to competing sites.
So, what is better, SEO or PPC?
In the long term, and for sustained and consistent online traffic over time, SEO has to be the better option. But for situations where instant results are needed, PPC can be beneficial. Many businesses run both together, or use PPC during the early days of their SEO campaign whilst the rankings build.
Both have their merits in the right situations, and staging them off against each other isn’t always the appropriate thing to do.
If you are weighing up your options when it comes to promoting your business online, talk to Figment. We’ll appraise your business goals and target audiences, and then formulate a tailored strategy to ensure you get the results you need in the required timeframe. We look forward to helping you achieve the online visibility you need to grow your business.