PPC vs SEO: What Is The Best Option for Your Website?

PPC vs SEO: What Is The Best Option for Your Website?

Our clients often ask us about the difference between pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a digital marketing technique to drive traffic to your website via organic reach. PPC advertising is a search engine marketing strategy that increases your paid reach.

You can imagine the question that quickly follows. Clients want to know where strategy is better for their business. Like any complicated question, there’s no straightforward answer. When debating between PPC vs SEO for your company, understanding the benefits of both will help you develop a better digital marketing strategy.

Our focus in this article will be Google since they control the majority of the search engine market share. Read on to learn about these PPC and SEO and how they compare.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Before we compare these two digital marketing strategies, let’s start by explaining what each one is. Did you know that, on average, one-third of internet users scroll past the paid results and choose the first organic result displayed for their search query?

SEO is simply a strategy to help improve where your company’s website is ranked in search engines. Google determines your SEO rank based on a variety of factors. This includes backlinks, bounce rate, the keywords you’re targeting and more.

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?

PPC, which stands for “pay-per-click”, means that the brand pays the search engine each time a user clicks on their advertisement. The way PPC advertising works is that digital marketers set up campaigns through Google Ads. Before setting up a campaign, they research keyword phrases that are likely to bring prospective clients to their website.

To set up the campaign, they write text ads targeting these keyword phrases and set a maximum bid amount in the platform. Whenever someone clicks on this advertisement, the company pays the search engine.

For companies with a small budget, it can be hard to justify spending money on attracting visitors when you can do the same thing for free with search engine optimization. It’s important to remember that there is a discrepancy to the quality of leads that reach your site via paid marketing versus organic search. According to 55% of B2B marketers and 65% of B2C marketers, PPC advertising is the most effective way of promoting content.

Benefits of SEO

One of the biggest benefits of SEO is that it increases awareness about your brand by putting it in front of targeted leads based on their search engines queries. Best of all, this comes at a much lower cost than PPC advertising.

However, it would be disingenuous to say that SEO is free. Even though there is no direct charge per click, developing your SEO still costs you in employee time. That said, if you can run successful SEO campaigns and rank for the relevant search terms, you’ll find that the ROI on organic traffic is better than traditional forms of advertising.

Another benefit of improving your SEO is that it improves your credibility. When users see that your website ranks highly, they assume that if Google sees you as a reputable and trustworthy source then they can as well. You can further enhance this with user reviews of your product or service on your website.

Benefits of PPC Advertising

So far it may seem like SEO is the obvious contender but there are distinct benefits to PPC advertising as well. One of the main benefits is the visibility of PPC advertising versus SEO. Paid ads take up anywhere from the first one to four spots. Even if many users are scrolling past the ads, you’re still increasing awareness about your brand.

For businesses that are selling products, PPC advertisements allow you to display visual product ads. One of the options in Google Ads is Product Listing Ads (PLAs) that display an image of the product along with the price. For consumers who are ready to make a purchase, these PLAs see a higher click-through rate.

Finally, setting up a PPC campaign is faster than improving your organic search rank. Whereas it will take months to see your website near the top of a search engines results page, a PPC campaign can be created and executed in just a few days.

As you can see, there are significant benefits to both strategies. Besides these benefits, you also need to consider the position your company is in.

Things to Consider Before You Settle the PPC vs SEO Debate

As with any business decision, there are internal and external factors that will affect the success of your digital marketing campaign.

Firstly, you need to research the level of competition and cost-per-click (CPC) for your industry. Use a keyword research tool such as the Google Keyword Research Tool to determine the search volume and popularity of keywords that are relevant to your industry. The key is to find search terms that receive a high volume of search queries but have a limited number of competitors.

Depending on your product, the first page of the search engine results page may already be dominated by the major players in your industry. For example, if you specialize in athletics wear, you will struggle to rank ahead of brands like Adidas, Nike and Lululemon.

Another external factor is the average CPCs for your industry. Continuing with the previous example, the average CPC for the keyword phrase “yoga pants” is $2.50. This means that a new entrant to this industry could compete with the major players by promoting their website through paid advertising campaigns.

On the other hand, some industries have considerably higher average CPCs. Some of the most expensive keyword phrases can even exceed $50 per click such as “business services” which has an average CPC of $58.64 or “lawyer” at $54.86.

Finally, you need to consider your advertising budget. You can run for a campaign for as little as $10 or $15 per day if your budget allows it. Even with minimal spending, PPC advertising gives you the tools to actively test your website and user behavior.

Consider Implementing PPC Advertising and SEO Together

Ultimately, the most successful strategy doesn’t come down to PPC vs SEO. The best option is to use these strategies together to build an integrated digital marketing campaign. When you use them together, you can quickly see what works and what doesn’t with your consumers based on the analytics in Google Ads.

Not sure where to start or don’t have the time to learn PPC advertising on your own? Contact us to discuss our Google Ads Management services.

PPC Management Pricing

PPC Management Pricing

PPC Management Pricing: Are You Paying Too Much?


A lot of people assume that if you’re paying a lot of money for a product or service, it’s going to be superior than low-cost options. However, that isn’t necessarily true. In this guide, we’re going to go over PPC management pricing and how to figure out if you’re paying too much.


A PPC Management Service is supposed to let you focus on what you do best – growing your business. But are you paying too much for peace of mind with little results?

This is a common, yet costly, issue for expanding businesses. In this article, you’ll learn why you’re losing money on PPC, how much you should be paying, and how to save money on your PPC strategy moving forward.

What Is PPC?

PPC stands for pay per click. PPC is the foundation for most of your favorite ad Networks, from AdWords to Facebook. Instead of paying for an entire PPC strategy at once, you pay only when someone engages with your ad. This is a huge draw for business owners, but if mismanaged, it’s like flushing money right down the drain.

Here are several reasons why PPC campaigns lose money:

  • Targeting the wrong audience
  • Competing for pricey keywords
  • They’re not optimized for mobile
  • Not tracking performance or results
  • Not implementing a PPC strategy
  • Depending on Broad match
  • Uninspired ad copy

In the hustle and bustle of running a business, it’s easy for details like these to fall through the cracks. These mistakes add up and they certainly don’t help your conversion rate.

That’s where your PPC Management Service comes in.

What Does a PPC Management Service Do?

PPC managers are responsible for managing pay-per-click accounts across all PPC ad Networks. But what does this mean for you, the business owner? What should you be getting for your money?

In addition to avoiding the aforementioned problems in the previous section, your PPC manager should be responsible for the following:

  • Strategic planning and implementation
  • Achieving a good return on investment (ROI)
  • Deliver PPC campaign reports
  • Quality copywriting
  • Market research
  • Campaign performance tracking
  • PPC budget management
  • Keyword Research
  • Setting conversion goals

Let’s cut to the chase. How much will this cost you?

Paying for PPC

How much you’ll pay for PPC management will depend on a number of factors, from your target audience to marketing needs.

For example, an audit may reveal that social ad networks yield more conversions for your business than Google AdWords. Understanding which channels work best for you will help you calculate how much you’ll need to pay. That’s why it’s critically important to set goals before forking over the cash.

Ask yourself how much you want to make from PPC. Do you want to make $5 from every dollar you spend on PPC ads? Are you using PPC to grow brand awareness? How much are you willing to spend to improve your visibility?

Asking yourself why you want to use PPC is a smart way to avoid costly mistakes down the road.

PPC Fee Structures

Another way to anticipate your costs and avoid over paying is understanding PPC fees. There are a few main PPC fee structures to know: percentage of spend, percentage of profits, number of keywords, monthly management fees, hourly management fees, and setup fees.

A common percentage of spend fee hovers around 10% percent to 20%, with a minimum fee between $300 to $500. Therefore, if your monthly ad spend is $1,000 expect to pay a POS fee of $300 or more per month.

Ideally, the more you spend each month with a results-driven PPC management company, the more sales you should generate. If your sales are increasing with your spend, this is a good sign and even an opportunity to expand your PPC strategy.

If you’re spending money and not seeing conversions, that’s a big red flag. This could mean that your PPC manager is not targeting the right keywords or using high-converting ad copy.

A PPC management Service may also charge you by the hour. If this is the case, it’s important for you, as a business owner, to be acutely aware of how those billing hours are used. A fee structure like this may help you identify opportunities for cutting back on your PPC budget.

Timing is Everything

If you’re new to PPC advertising, it’s important to understand that it takes a couple months or more to start seeing results. PPC success is an involved process that doesn’t happen overnight. For new accounts, PPC managers need time to generate keywords, perform market research, a/b test ads, set up analytics accounts, and hire copywriters before launching your campaign.

Once your PPC campaigns hit their stride so to speak, expect your monthly PPC management bill to even out. That’s why it’s important to consider contract length in your payment calculations.

Ask yourself, once your PPC campaigns are automated and performing well, how long do you want to use your PPC management service? Would you rather use select services moving forward? Confronting these questions ahead of time is one way to save money on future pay-per-click costs.

Consider a 3-month contract first and go from there. You should also ask yourself if you want a contract that auto-renews every few months.

What’s Your Return on Ad Spend?

If you’re paying too much for PPC management without a decent return on ad spend (ROAS) to match, then stop what you’re doing and reassess your PPC plan.

One rule of thumb is to divide your total conversion value by your total cost of advertising. For example, let’s say you have a lead generation company. If you spend $10,000 on an AdWords campaign that generated 350 leads, and you sell 200 of those leads to an agency, your total conversion value would be $70,000. Divide your conversion value by your ad spend, and you would have a ROAD of 7% or 700% – not bad!

Investing your PPC efforts where they matter most is a surefire way to boost your ROAS and save money in the long term. But is your PPC management Service making the most out of your budget?

Moving Forward

Now that you have a feel for PPC pricing, it’s time to choose the right management solution for your needs. Use this post as a checklist as you plan your budget and narrow down your choices.

Don’t forget–knowledge is power! Check back often for more insider tips or contact us now to speak directly to one of our own PPC experts.

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