SEO vs. PPC – Pros, Cons, and Strategy

Businesses of all sizes are noticing the importance of online marketing, especially through search engines.  It’s clear that your business must have a strong presence to ensure you’re front and center for your target market to find you.  So the question comes down to- Do we use SEO or PPC?

In this post, I’m going to consider the pros and cons of SEO and PPC and provide some tips.  I’ve broken both methods down and give you some insight into where they fit into your larger marketing plan.  Let’s get started.



SEO, aka Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of building traffic to a website through natural search results. When searching on Google, your website will appear directly under the paid ads at the very top of the page. This is free to implement, but it takes your time and commitment.  There are best practices that you must follow to take advantage of all the benefits.  SEO will take time before you start seeing your website appear on the first page of Google, but with the right strategy, SEO will bring in more qualified traffic and leads at a better cost vs. paid ads.

I’m a big advocate of SEO here at LR Design.  My experience within this industry has shown me that if SEO is done right, the organic results will deliver better conversions and a larger volume of the RIGHT traffic.


PRO’s to SEO:  Improving your Organic Traffic

Creditability- Most people know the difference between a paid and organic search result.  They are more likely to trust and click on the organic results.

Cost– SEO is not a cheap, easy, or fast.  Knowing that, it will be more cost-effective than other strategies.

Sustainable– Organic traffic will never come to a halt.  Unlike PPC, organic SEO will continue to drive results even if you don’t have money to spend on advertising.

Competitive Advantage- Once you get your SEO feet wet and begin to establish some keyword rankings, your competitors will be moving down the page.  If your competition is relying on paid ads, the only way for them to appear on page one will be to continue paying.

There are some drawbacks to SEO.  For most businesses, generating organic traffic is a slow process.  You will need to continuously create content and graphics that educate your target market.   Creating meaningful content, optimizing that content, and getting it out into the world is a big job!



PPC, aka Pay per Click, is paid advertising through Google AdWords.  PPC allows you to pay for ads that will display at the top of search results for certain keywords or phrases.  You pay a fee every time your ad is clicked on.


PRO’s of PPC: Targeted Visibility

Position– Paid ads appear at the very top of the search results page.  A user will always see these results first and must scroll down before seeing the organic results.

Targeting–  You can customize your visibility by keyword, phrase, geographical location, time of day, day of the week, language, and so much more.

Time- a PPC campaign can be created in one day!  It can begin to generate traffic right away.  There really is no faster way to get your website front and center.

Analytics– Google AdWords gives you a ton of information about how your campaigns are performing. You can see what users are typing into their search bar to find you, where organic keywords are often hidden.  On top of that, you can also track click-through rates and conversions.

While PPC has many benefits, it also has negatives that come along with it.  PPC can get expensive.  Costs can quickly add up, and sometimes you can be paying for clicks from the wrong audience.  PPC requires constant maintenance.  Your campaigns will need fine-tuning before they can bring in the optimized results you are looking for.


Short and Long-Term Approach

So, which option is better?  It really depends on your business and your budget.  The fastest way to get more traffic is through PPC.  SEO takes time to build and start generating traffic.  It can sometimes take months before you start seeing results.  SEO is worth pursuing because it will give your business authority, it’s more cost-effective, and it gives you an advantage over your competition.

In most cases, I recommend running PPC as a short-term strategy.  It gets your site to the top of search engine results right away and will begin to bring in new leads. SEO is a long-term strategy that you must commit to Every. Single. Month.


How SEO & PPC work together

In a perfect world, SEO and PPC would be integrated together.  Both strategies have positives and negatives and work best when supporting each other.  Running both will drive results that are greater than either SEO or PPC alone.

Do you have an interest in optimizing your website for search engines?  Let me help you integrate an SEO and a PPC campaign that fits the needs of your business.