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SEO vs PPC – The Best Search Marketing Method For Your Business

You have an online business and you need customers.

That means, your customers should be able to find you online when they search for the services that you offer.

Page 2 of Google gets less than 12% of internet traffic.

That means you have to be on the front page.

There are two search marketing methods that will get you there: SEO and PPC.

But which one is best for your business?

In this guide, we have settled the debate of SEO vs PPC for the best search marketing method for your business.

SEO Vs PPC Search Marketing: Which Is Better?

Both SEO and PPC search engine marketing get you your target audience through search engines. However, both of them employ different methods and have different ROI.

The comparison of SEO vs PPC to find which search marketing method is best is necessary for the following reasons:

  • Every business can benefit from both.
  • A business may give better ROI in one method initially. But as it grows, the other might be better.
  • Diversifying your marketing efforts is always a wise decision.

In this article, we have settled the debate of SEO vs PPC so that you can make the best investment for your business.

First, let’s begin by understanding SEO.

SEO For Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website search engine friendly. That means optimizing the content and modifying the site architecture in a way that search engines prefer.

As Google gets most of the traffic, most of the guidelines for SEO are set by them that define the processes.

There are many processes that should be carried out for SEO and are broadly divided into three categories.

Three Pillars Of SEO

  1. Technical SEO: Everything that is related to the website but not to the content on it. Processes like updating sitemap, crawling, indexing, etc., consist of technical SEO.
  2. On-Site SEO: This has everything to do with relevancy. Processes include keywords research, adding alt text for images, adding correct title tags, etc.
  3. Off-Site SEO: This includes activities that improve your website authority. Website mentions and backlinks are the two major components of off-site SEO. In order to boost the position of a website on the result pages of top search engines, it is a good idea to buy backlinks.

Importance Of SEO In Marketing

The majority of traffic comes from search engines.

When your target audience searches terms related to your business, you should show up. Yes, you might get some traffic from PPC and social media ads, but it will be quite less. Search engines can earn you nearly 20x more traffic as compared to PPC campaigns.

Here is another reason.

SEO continues giving. Your SEO efforts will continue to drive traffic to your website forever, provided you are consistent in your efforts. SEO is an economical solution for small marketing teams with a limited budget.

SEO also has a significant impact on your bottom line.

The Marketing ROI Of SEO

The ROI of SEO for your business’ search marketing depends on multiple factors. It includes your vertical, the target audience, your keywords, etc. It is impossible to give a generalized answer that will satisfy you.

However, we can tell you how you can measure it easily.

  1. Find out how much you are investing in SEO. Consider all three pillars as we mentioned above.
  2. Open Google Analytics and see how much organic traffic you are getting.
  3. Track how much of that traffic goes to your landing pages and actually enter their details.
  4. Get the details from your sales team and find out how many of those leads actually convert.
  5. Use this formula:
    ((Value of Conversions – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment)x100

You can set conversion tracking in Google Analytics to make the process automated.

Now, let’s dive into PPC.

PPC For Marketing

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is named after its pricing model. In this marketing type, brands and businesses pay a fee each time someone clicks the ad.

The cost-per-click (CPC) is determined through bidding. For instance, if you want your ad to be shown on a particular keyword, you have to bid against others who want the same. Due to that reason, certain keywords might be expensive.

A well-executed PPC marketing campaign can get you very specific traffic to your website or landing page. Fortunately there are plenty of agencies and companies that can help you to do this, with many of them tailored for the specific markets that you may be trying to break into. This marketing agency for example specialises in managed PPC within the automotive sector, and can help their clients stand out in the crowded market. 

Four Pillars Of PPC

  1. Setting the goal: This is the most important part as PPC campaigns cost a lot. Set measurable goals. For instance, “aiming to get X leads” is a good start.
  2. Keywords research: These are the search terms for which your ads will be shown. Make sure you choose them carefully. Think of the intent of your target audience.
  3. Create an ad copy: It contains the value you are selling to your customer. It should explain what your customers will get. Add a clear CTA.
  4. Landing page: This is where your prospects enter their details to become leads. Make sure your landing page is great.

Importance Of PPC In Marketing

To choose the better option between SEO and PPC search marketing, it is crucial to learn how important PPC marketing can be to your marketing team.

For starters, it is quite simple to set up, which makes it a good option for small teams. If planned properly, you can get it up and running in a few hours. All you need is your target keywords, ad copy, and a form to get your prospects’ details.

If you don’t have the time to set up a PPC campaign, you can easily leverage professional services from PPC agencies.

It is quite easily measurable. You can glean the effectiveness of the campaign if you take one look at the click-through ratio (CTR). It means what percentage of people that see your ad click them. Based on that, you can take appropriate actions.

You can market in multiple channels. PPC is not just limited to search engines. You can use PPC for social media as well. This enables you to get relevant traffic from different sources.

Take a look at all the benefits that your business will get from PPC marketing.


The Marketing ROI Of PPC

To calculate the ROI of PPC campaigns, you need to know two things.

  1. Money spent on ads = cost of investment.
  2. Earning from converted leads = value of conversions.

Then use the same formula as you did to calculate the marketing ROI of SEO.

((Value of Conversions – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment)x100

SEO vs PPC – The Best Search Marketing Method For Your Business

So who is the winner of SEO vs PPC?

The answer is: it depends. 

SEO and PPC are quite different, the SEO vs PPC infographic below explains it all.


Take a look at the following points where we have weighed both on common parameters.

  • Investment: PPC needs money upfront. SEO needs more investment with respect to time.
  • Time scale: You can immediately see the results of a PPC campaign. For SEO, you might need at least 3-6 months.
  • Traffic quantity: SEO targets a wider audience and hence gives you a lot of traffic. PPC will get you niche traffic.
  • Traffic quality: Traffic from SEO is interested in education and learning. For PPC, it is purchasing.

This makes the comparison of SEO vs PPC for a better search marketing method for your business much more difficult. They are applicable in different contexts, need different kinds of investments, and give different results.

The best way to choose the better search marketing method between SEO and PPC is to understand what your business currently needs.

The good news is that SEO and PPC can always work together.

We hope that this article will help you choose between both search marketing methods.

Happy marketing!

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Dyka Smith
Dyka Smith is a content marketing professional at Inosocial, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Dyka worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. She graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

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