SEO vs PPC: Which One Should You Use?

We can all agree, optimizing your digital properties for search engines is a necessary strategy you want to drive organic traffic. However, search engine optimization, or SEO, is not the only way to drive traffic. Many businesses want immediate results, and instead focus on pay-per-click, or PPC, ads to drive traffic.

SEO vs PPC: Which One Should You Use?

One of the most common problems faced by digital marketers is that of choosing SEO vs PPC. Both of them are pillars of search engine marketing and can help you reach your desired goals.

However, based on your organization’s goals, you may have to deploy more resources to one or the other. Here are some qualities of each that can help you make a more informed decision.

Infographic SEO or PPC Which One Should You Choose by SpyFu header

Why SEO?

    • This is a long-term strategy and involves the creation of high-quality content and promoting it.
    • In the long-run, it can improve your brand awareness, get leads, and even increase sales.
    • With SEO, it takes a long time to reach the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and thus cannot be used to get instant traffic.
    • SEO’s effectiveness is rising significantly, according to about 42% of marketers.
    • If done well, SEO can help you reach the top of SERPs, and it can be difficult for your competitors to beat you.

Why PPC?

    • PPC helps you get immediate traction and traffic through ads displayed at the top of the SERPs.
    • Ecommerce brands can also have visual PPC ads that can catch the attention of searchers.
    • You can target these ads basis on demographics, location, and interests. This can ensure that they are seen only by your target audience.
    • Pay-per-click ads can give a return of nearly $3 for every $1.60 invested in it.
    • It is possible to scale the campaigns up quickly by adding more budget. However, when you stop pumping in money, the campaigns stop, unlike SEO.

The question remains, SEO vs PPC? Both have their own pros and cons. That is why the perfect search engine marketing strategy should aim to use both of them. Not only can you achieve your short term goals but can even reach long-term ones with ease. To learn more about both pay-per-click and search engine optimization, check out the infographic below by SpyFu.

Infographic SEO vs PPC Which Should You Choose by SpyFu

Image courtesy: SpyFu


As you can see, this is not an either/or question. An integrated approach using both SEO and PPC will yield optimal results.

Miss Kemya


Zac Harris SpyFuThis is a guest post by Zac Harris, the Director of SEO at SpyFu. He is passionate about scaling companies and testing all things SEO.

2 thoughts on “SEO vs PPC: Which One Should You Use?

  • Jill Paradis

    This is very interesting! I am aware of SEO and how to optimize my site for best results but I am not as knowledgeable when it comes to PPC. I can see how PPC would be a useful way to quickly boost my business, especially if I can get that traffic to convert to sales.

    • Yes, PPC can do wonders for traffic. When using the right keywords, conversions should noticeably increase. Just takes a bit of learning, but worth it. Thanks for stopping by, Jill.

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