One would assume that after years of the same argument – PPC or SEO – there would finally be a solid answer. But, that’s not the case. Where you spend your marketing budget depends on your short and long term marketing objectives, your current placement in the SERPs and when you plan to see a boost in traffic.

To know where you should be spending your advertising dollars, let’s review the differences between PPC and SEO.

PPC vs SEO: Understanding the Key Differences

Pay per click is a model of internet marketing where advertisers pay each time their ad is clicked. Instead of earning traffic organically, marketers buy visits. PPC works because it generates immediate interest by showing ads to highly targeted individuals. If you’re launching a new product or hosting a weekend sale, PPC is fast and reliable. Plus, you can pre-determine your budget.

Search engine optimization is the process of earning organic visits to your site. You are not paying for these clicks, so they are essentially free. SEO does not bring immediate results but it is necessary for sustaining your brand. Through a dedicated SEO strategy, businesses see steady, relevant traffic to their sites as well as enhanced visibility, brand awareness and credibility.

Where Should Your Marketing Dollars Go?

Unless you have unlimited funds, you need to think carefully about where your money goes. I recommend allocating some of your budget towards PPC and some towards SEO. Specific numbers depend on your marketing goals. Some businesses might split their budget in half, while others will give more to PPC or SEO.

Here are some things to think about when determining where to spend your ad dollars:

  • If your rankings are where you want them to be for prominent keywords in your industry, you can back off PPC. However, this is unusual unless you’re Walmart or Amazon.

  • Paid advertising is a constant investment. Once you stop investing, your ads go away. Be prepared to make the most of your PPC campaigns through continued optimization and monitoring.

  • PPC is competitive. If a competitor sees you running successful ads, they can copy your ads and steal traffic. There is not much you can do except be on the ball. Also, anticipate costs to increase based on bidding wars.

  • Although SEO is slow, it’s crucial. Organic traffic generates brand awareness, visibility and sustainability. It also delivers an excellent return on investment as there is no charge for the impressions.

  • The only way to have your website appear in the top of the search results is by having good SEO. People will see your company first and hopefully choose you to deliver goods and services.

  • SEO does not dry up once you end a campaign. No matter what your marketing budget looks like, SEO continues to produce results.

In the end, an integrated approach is best. By combining SEO and PPC, you can keep your brand front and center while moving customers through the purchase funnel.