Search Engine Optimization vs Pay Per click?

These are two popular ways used to generate traffic to a website.
Having been managing both PPC and SEO for my clients for years, they ask me which are better? It’s not a matter of which is better, it’s a matter of how and when to use them.
They both have their place, but what is the difference?
The information just below is very basic but gives you a general idea of how they both work.


Search Engine Optimization
Here’s how SEO works in a nutshell;
1. Do Keyword research — find out what words people use when searching for your product or service.
2. Content Creation — create content for your website utilizing those keywords that you found in step one.
3. Design your website professionally. Make sure it is functional and easy to navigate.
4. Done right when someone enters a keyword relating to your product or service your website should come up on the search page, preferably at the top of the page.
Your position on the search result pages will be determined by how well your site is optimized for that search term.
Good SEO done regularly will allow you to get traffic organically (free) and if done right it will continue to grow your traffic and rank your site better in the search engines.


Pay Per Click
Here is how Google’s paid traffic works;
1. Create a Google account.
2. Research the keywords related to your service or product.
3. Create a Campaign, connect all the keywords you found in step 2 to that campaign.
4. Create ads using those keywords you have searched.
5. Set how much you want to spend on your ads.
6. Activate your Ad campaign.
7. Your Ad will trigger when someone does a search with your keyword that is in your ad. Your ad will be delivered by Google either at the top of the page or the bottom of the page depending on how much you paid and good your ad is.


The image below shows the PPC (paid ads) at the top.


The image below shows the organic search results. There is no symbol beside the listing.



When do you use SEO?
From the very beginning of your website creation SEO should be done, the sooner the better. If you want to play the long game and have your site continue to grow in the search engines it is essential that you do SEO properly from the get-go.
I have a client that I did SEO from day one as I created his website. I created his first website in 2013 when his niche was a lot smaller and no one knew much about SEO within his niche. We dominated it. Fast forward to around 2017 the niche grew quite a bit and some of the companies had savvy SEO people optimizing their sites but because of the advantage of doing good SEO from the beginning and continuing to optimize the site, he still owns that whole area on the web locally (his service area).



When to use PPC?

When you want traffic now, PPC is instant gratification! Ads go up and you get traffic immediately… if your campaigns are done properly. The amount of traffic and quality of that traffic is solely dependent on how well you do your keyword research, your bids (how much you are willing to pay) and the ads that are created.

I once managed a PPC account where I locked the client in at $15.00 a day (very small amount to pay). Because he was a small company with a big-ticket item he did not need a lot of traffic to make sales. His SEO that I did on his website was also good and got traffic from that. The Google ads were very targeted to his niche. So in the end he got enough traffic and sales so he was happy.

For me, SEO (organic traffic) should be done properly right away and consistently. If a business can afford it, PPC can be alongside SEO to enhance the traffic and leads, but don’t go nuts it’s so easy to spend more money on PPC or any other pay per click advertising before you realize the ROI is not that great. Remember also that PPC is like your water tap when you turn it off the clicks and leads stop from that source immediately.

Whereas SEO, you can stop doing it (not advisable) and things will continue for some time but you will start losing the gains as other sites will have continued doing SEO and if they are good will eventually outrank you.

Do Well!

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