Which is Better, SEO or PPC?

Though both marketing angles focus on the same objective (Increasing leads / website traffic / revenue), PPC and SEO are very different from each other in many different ways. All too often do I get asked the question, “John, should I consider SEO or PPC as an addition to my marketing strategy, and why?” and my following response usually sounds like this.

PPC (Pay per click) is a sprint. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a Marathon. So to summarize before diving completely into this question…..

Which is Better, SEO or PPC?

It all depends on the long or short term goals of the campaign, there is no right or wrong answer.

  • PPC Achieves Almost Instant Results
  • SEO Achieves Long-Term Results
  • PPC is Pay to Play
  • SEO is Pay to Stay
  • Both PPC and SEO Can Be Disastrous When Partnering With the Wrong Provider.
  • PPC Often Suffers from Click Bots
  • SEO Suffers from Possible Negative SEO.

That’s my short list. I do believe that there are many advantages to PPC over SEO but I also believe the reverse is also true.

Pay Per Click Achieves Almost Instant Results

Notice that I say instant results, whether those results are good or poor are completely dependent on the skill and insight of your PPC provider. Whether your looking to start your own SEO company while also offering PPC, or you find yourself looking for a seasoned PPC expert that can deliver the results your looking for, PPC is strictly a sprint, not a long term goal. PPC demands continuous budget in order to achieve on-going instant results. If it takes a $5,000.00 budget commitment to achieve $2,500.00 in monthly revenue, do you have the funds to continue a monthly PPC campaign until you can figure out how to turn your PPC spend into profit?


SEO Achieves Long Term Results

SEO to me is basically a polar opposite of pay per click. Instead of turning the switch on today and expecting leads tomorrow (PPC), website owners need to enter into their SEO campaign expecting to hold out for a few months before seeing any tangible return on investment. This might come as a choking point for new SEO clients or yourself if you need SEO for your own project, but if you ever get approached by a SEO who guarantees massive promises within the first month of work, its my opinion to say that you should run as far as you can and never purchases services from that provider. In my years of experience as a marketer, the number one SEO questions client has usually follow along the lines of, “How long will this take”. My response, “If you cant stick with SEO for at least six months, you’re not serious enough to invest into this marketing strategy”.


Pay Per Click is Always Pay to Play

The pay to play game that PPC demands can be detrimental to small businesses. Why? Lets say you threw $5,000.00 into a PPC campaign for someone else to manage and that campaign manager has no idea how to properly optimize and execute a PPC campaign. Well guess what, you threw $5,000.00 away. Can you continue investing into pay per click month after month after month with repeated failures on conversions? Likely not. To take this a step further, I have clients who spend millions a year in click advertising with great results, and their profits are relatively heavy also from the clients they win over through their click campaigns. Point is, if you invest into click advertising, make sure you choose a provider that has case studies and a proven track record, otherwise this type of marketing becomes extremely expensive.


SEO is Pay to Stay

Again, SEO and PPC are obviously polar opposites. Can you afford to shell out six months of SEO campaign services with only the hope to see real tangible results and ROI? In my experience throughout the years of marketing, looking both at small business and enterprise marketing campaigns, SEO takes on average six months before you begin seeing real achievements. Real achievements aren’t only number one rankings, but actual money going into the clients bank account accumulated from SEO exposure. If you or a client cant commit to several months of spend I think it’s easy to say that SEO isn’t the best route to take, but maybe click advertising. On the flip side, once you achieve great SEO results its often easy to say that your results stick far better than PPC (considering that when you turn off PPC you no longer receive referral traffic).

No Matter Your Budget, SEO and PPC Can Both be Disastrous

It doesn’t really matter if you have $5,000.00 per month to spend on marketing, or $1,000,000.00, if you choose the wrong partner to render these services, your marketing campaign will be a complete disaster. Nothings worse than throwing money into a cause only to achieve no ROI. When searching for a SEO and PPC provider I recommend always demanding references and case studies. If nether of those can be obtain, I would advise looking elsewhere for a partner. That said, for full marketing campaigns I always avoid Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and other “cheaper alternatives”. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.


Did You Know that PPC Suffers From Click Bots?

Although Google has its own guidelines on Click Bots, there are plenty of reasons why several “PPC Click Insurance” companies have come to existence. Long explanation short, there are many companies that invest into shrinking click spend budgets of their competitors. An example of this would look like…. Let’s say I own company A. and you own company B. Company goes to Google and begins clicking on company B’s. Is this a real problem in todays pay per click industry? . Find out for yourself right here ads to spend all their budget fraudulently.


SEO and and Negative SEO Attacks

Its a massive debate in the search engine optimization industry whether or not negative SEO is real and if it’s a current risk in todays world. Though I wont go into too much details about this practice specifically, I do personally believe negative SEO is a real issue in todays marketing world. If you want, you can read this article that covers some of the negative SEO trends.


Now It’s Your Turn!

Do you you prefer PPC, SEO, or both? Does PPC offer a competitive edge over SEO or is the reverse true? Let me know if the comments, and thank you for reading!

Written by John King
Self made Entrepreneur that co-manages PlacementSEO.com, a growing internet marketing agency. To learn more about our agency vision, SEO secrets and growth hacking, follow me on Facebook.