PPC vs SEO competition


As we’re sure you’re aware there are a lot of tools in the online marketing toolbag.

In order to get your website up the search results though, two clear tools/techniques stand out. We are referring to ‘search engine optimisation (SEO)’ and ‘Pay-per-click (PPC)’.

The key difference between SEO and PPC is that website traffic coming from SEO is free while traffic generated from PPC isn’t; as the name implies you pay a cost for every click to your site. Search results provided by SEO are referred to as organic whilst PPC are often known as paid results.

So which is going to get your website more traffic?

Well as with anything of a techie nature, there are pros and cons to each. So let’s have a look:


  • Low cost: there isn’t a direct cost for each website click like PPC (which can really mount up), however it does need a real concerted effort to create good SEO friendly content.
  • Targeted audience: with over 6 billion searches on Google per day you can really tap into this continuous stream of targeted searches.
  • High authority: if you rank highly in organic search results you demonstrate high credibility in your area of business.
  • Ensures quality content: to rank well with SEO your site needs to have content which Google deems to be high quality. This will generally mean that visitors will spend longer on your site and are more likely to convert while there.


  • Can take a long time: by its nature it takes time and effort for a website to climb up the organic rankings. In fact one of the Google ranking factors is the age of a website.
  • No guaranteed results: your competitors want their site to rank higher than yours. And in some cases they may well achieve that and leapfrog your site in the rankings.
  • Changes to Google: sometimes Google releases a new algorithm which will change the emphasis on certain ranking factors. When this happens it often creates a shakeup of search results.
  • Needs constant attention: you need to create new, fresh and interesting content in order to maintain good ranking. If you don’t maintain this your site will start dropping in the rankings.
  • Requires knowledge: whilst tools exist to help with successful SEO, it’s sometimes better to call in the pros which is an added cost.


  • Fast results: pay per click campaigns can be executed in quick time. They can be set up and run in a matter of hours.
  • No substantial changes required to your site: PPC can be pointed at your existing site (although creating targeted landing pages can increase conversions.)
  • Good control: You can decide where your listing appears in result pages and also what your ad says. You can also switch campaigns on and off as you see fit.
  • You can bid for an unlimited number of keywords: this will ensure great results as you can display on Google for many different keywords.
  • You can set a budget: which allows you to fully control costs.
  • Test campaigns: run different campaigns side by side to test effectiveness.


  • Can be expensive: popular keywords attract intensive bidding, so cost per click can soon mount up.
  • Some web visitors may prefer organic links.
  • Recurring costs – You need to keep on paying for clicks month after month. If you fail to meet the budget then your listings disappear and with that the potential website clicks.
  • Takes time and monitoring – investment is required to constantly monitor and refine ads and listings to ensure a good ROI.
  • Requires knowledge: as with SEO, you need to know what you’re doing to get good results.


There are pluses and minuses for both PPC and SEO, and sometimes a combination approach is best. You could use PPC for a targeted sales strategy, while your SEO strategy evolves and starts to deliver organic results over the longer term.

But be sure to consider both as a means of boosting your online presence.

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