SEO vs. PPC: Differences, Pros, & Cons

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Let’s face it, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. You have to make decisions between things like content marketing and social media marketing, or even SEO vs. PPC.

Deciding between SEO vs. PPC isn’t a simple process as there are many factors that go into each one.

Depending on your industry, your current situation, and your goals, one may be a better choice over the other.

So where should you really be investing your time and online marketing dollars?

SEO vs. PPC: What’s the real difference?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing tactic used to improve your website’s visibility on search engines through the content provided on the site. SEO can help to increase your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEO includes everything from providing valuable information to including search terms in your site copy.

As you include these search terms, also known as keywords, in the copy of your website, you help it to rank better as these terms are matched to the search intent of potential customers. SEO is not a paid method of marketing, but rather helps to increase organic traffic for your website.

You can learn more about SEO and factors to help you rank higher here.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, on the other hand, includes the process of advertisers paying a fee each time one of their ads is clicked on. These are ads that can show up anywhere on the internet however, one of the most popular types of PPC ads is those that show up at the top of search engine results pages.

These ads allow you to reach users at a crucial time–when they are specifically searching to speed on a product or service. This is a great way to gain their business directly and quickly.

Paid online advertising is a massive subject to cover, so you may benefit from reading our blog: Display vs. Search vs. Social Ads vs. PPC

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the pros and cons of SEO vs. PPC.

SEO Pros

Total clicks and impressions dashboard

One of the pros to SEO is that it keeps your organic traffic flowing.

As you keep up your ranking in search engine results, you better maintain consistent traffic to your website. Rather than having it turn on and off like a faucet.

SEO is often seen as a more cost-effective solution than paid advertisements as well. Rather than paying for direct costs of advertising, SEO is more investment of time.

However, this investment is valuable because it is permanent. Content can live on your website forever if you want it to and continuously pull in organic traffic.

SEO Cons

While you may be investing time instead of direct dollars, SEO can take a lot of time. This means SEO isn’t going to be the right choice for businesses that only have a short window of time to make a big impact.

SEO also requires valuable content that is well thought out and helps to establish authority within the given industry. In order to create content of value, you will need subject matter experts and great writers to get the job done right.

PPC Pros

Pay-per-click advertising is great because it is quick and efficient. You can plan and complete a PPC campaign all within a day.

PPC also allows you to select specific demographics, interests, and locations of the audience you are trying to target. This means you can control exactly who it is you want to see your content and better target their needs.

There are also a lot of options for learning from trial and error with PPC. A/B testing is great for figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and making adjustments as you go to drive even better results.

PPC Cons

One of the cons to Paid Search advertising is that it takes money to get your products or services out there. This can add up quickly, especially if you’re in a competitive industry. More competitive keywords will always cost more.

PPC can also lose its effectiveness over time which means a constant flow of new ads with fresh copy and images.

Get Started on SEO, PPC, or Both!


Choosing between SEO vs. PPC is made a lot easier when you can clearly lay out the pros and cons of each. One may be better to use over the other, and sometimes an integrated approach with a combination of the two is going to be the key to your business’s growth.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to refer back to your digital marketing strategy and understand your target audience.

Always think first about how they use the internet and then determine whether organic search, paid search, or a combination of both is going to be best.

If you’re looking for help in setting up your digital marketing and following through with it, Blue Water Marketing in Stuart, FL is here to help! Check out our full range of services and contact us today to get started.


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