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SEO vs PPC: What’s Best for your Website?

by Natalie Temple

Feb 15, 2018, ,

digital marketing agency Derby

Should I Use SEO or PPC?

A question we are often asked is, “Which is better: SEO or PPC?” This is not a question with a general answer, as it really depends on your current situation, objectives and marketplace.

When it comes to boosting traffic to your website, you have two basic options: paid search (PPC) advertising organic search (SEO).

You can pay for traffic using PPC advertising through either Google Adwords or Bing ads. They enable you to display ads in the sponsored results section of each search engine’s results page. Then, you pay a fee based on how competitive your chosen keyword is.

Alternatively, you can build traffic for free by achieving high rankings in the natural search results — the listings displayed next to the sponsored results. You will need to follow SEO best practices to try to get your site displayed on these pages more prominently and more often. It may take time to reach the top of the natural results, but the free, targeted traffic will probably prove to be well worth the investment.

But which approach is better? It depends on your needs and budget as well as your industry. You may find that it’s hard to make profit on PPC if you’re in a highly competitive industry with cost-per-clicks (CPCs) of £20+. Alternatively, if you’re in an industry which has CPCs of £0.20 and you want more traffic fast, then PPC might be right for you. . SEO is an essential for any business, it’s a long-term investment but it’s critical for successfully running any website, especially an online store. 


In choosing between SEO and PPC, you first need to decide what size advertising budget your business can support. If you have no money to commit to advertising, you’ll need to stick with free SEO methods. But if you have even a little capital to invest in PPC advertising, consider giving it a try because it offers a number of benefits, including faster testing.

You also will want to determine how competitive the search engine results pages (SERPs) are for your target keywords. To do this, enter your keywords into the Google Keyword Planner Tool, which will tell you the estimated competition level, as well as the number of advertisers bidding on your keywords and the average CPCs.

In the most competitive industries, you may find that results pages for your target keywords are dominated by authority websites. They can be nearly impossible to displace without a significant investment of time and money. In such cases, it may ultimately make more sense to pay for traffic via PPC promotions. Alternatively, you may find the PPC CPCs are so high that it’s hard to make a positive return on investment from a PPC campaign. 

An Integrated Approach

Digital marketing is changing in a big way, and all marketing techniques are starting to need to merge together in order to form a successful marketing strategy.  As I mentioned earlier, one of the largest SEO ranking factors is the volume of traffic to your website. This is why email marketingsocial media marketing and PPC are so important as a part of your overall strategy. If you can bring traffic to your website using these elements, it will help to boost your SEO and organic search rankings.

With this shift in strategy, we offer customers a wider marketing strategy that offers them all the above practises to boost their online presence as a whole, rather than trying to optimise using only one.

The Benefits of running SEO and PPC in Tandem

In an ideal world, we would look at both SEO and PPC. They both have pros and cons and work best when supporting each other synergistically. Where you can get SEO and PPC working together, you will often be able to drive stronger results.

The benefits of running SEO and PPC together include:

  • Keyword and conversion data from PPC can be fed into organic search (SEO).
  • The total volume of traffic can be increased by targeting clicks in paid and organic for high-performing keywords.
  • High-cost keywords, high-volume or low-converting (yet still important) keywords can be moved from PPC to organic search.
  • A/B testing of ad copy and landing pages can be fed into your organic listing and landing pages.
  • Remarketing allows you to stay in front of visitors after an initial touch via organic search and customize messaging around their engagement with your site.
  • Test your keyword strategy in PPC before committing to long-term SEO strategies.
  • Target users at all stages of the customer journey from research to comparison to purchase with commercial keywords.
  • Increase confidence and awareness by having both strong organic and paid visibility.

In our experience with hundreds of businesses, an integrated search strategy that looks at both SEO and PPC is the optimal approach. Results are improved in each channel by utilizing both paid and organic. This will not be right for every business, but for high-growth, aggressive marketing, you will want to develop a holistic search engine strategy rather than look at SEO or PPC in isolation.

Get in touch with Peaky Digital and let us plan you an integrated digital marketing strategy, complete with the latest techniques and Google insights to help get your website ranking.


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