One of the biggest issues is that comparing the two isn’t really apples to apples or perhaps I should say oranges to oranges to avoid an Apple lawsuit. PPC is advertising, SEO is marketing.

PPC = Advertising

  • PPC is paid advertising from Google Adwords, Yahoo, and or other ad networks. Your ads get displayed either in the top two spots on the search results or the right column.
  • You bid on different keywords are involved in an online auction with other competitors that decided where and win your ad will show up.
  • PPC should be compared to other advertising, print, billboard, radio etc. Yes it is more measurable, but it is still advertising.
  • You are charged each time someone clicks on your ad – whether or not they purchase your product or service.
  • Only 10% of the clicks on a search results page come from these paid advertisements.
  • PPC can be implemented within a matter of hours if you need a quick boost, but it is short lift.
  • You can end the campaign immediately.

SEO = Marketing

  • SEO is an organic way to appear higher in the search engine rankings by following best practices for your website. It does take time to see a boost in traffic.
  • Alternatively these higher rankings are free, and targeted specifically to the people searching for your product, service or business.
  • SEO has a much higher traffic potential. Over 41 percent of all searchers click on the top ranked organic search result, while less than 10% click on any PPC ad.
  • SEO offers a long term better financial value. Once your ranking increases, traffic can continue without paying per click.
  • SEO ranking lasts longer once you’ve put in the effort. Top rankings drop very slowly unless you severely violate one or more of Google’s best practices.
  • First-page organic results are about branding your business. Anyone can purchase an advertisement (PPC). 62% of searchers click on a first page result. If you’re on the first page of organic results you are effectively getting Google’s stamp of approval in your business category.
  • SEO is very effective with detailed search queries. For example if your keyword is Pai Gow Poker, you can capture more specific searches such as “Pai-Gow progressive poker jackpot in Illinois” If the searcher is typing in something that specific in the search bar there is a very high chance you can convert them into a customer. SEO is also effective in attracting only slightly interested general visitors.

Questions to ask before deciding on SEO or PPC…

  • With PPC you can test the sales message faster. Websites should be about conversions. (e.g. Sales, reservations, email signups etc. depending on your business) You can test multiple ads, change text, keywords very quickly.
  • SEO requires that you maintain a relationship with a company that is constantly researching changes to search engine algorithms (Like Click Magnet Internet Marketing) The formula Google and other search engines use to raise your results change from time to time.
  • PPC has a learning curve as well and requires daily monitoring and budget management. (Similar to any media buying)
  • In your market how competitive are the keywords you’re going to bidding on? In major market the cost per click can easily get into the $30-40 range without any guarantee of a sale. So depending on your market size and competition (something Click Magnet can analyze) For instance the avg. cost per click for the term Chicago Casino is $51 PER click. That can get very expensive… very quickly.
  • Generally speaking SEO approaches take advantage of slower responding competitors that may have not updated their sites in years.
  • SEO is a marketing tool. It requires working with a business to learn about their products and services, most profitable segments, and generating new fresh content on a regular basis.

To summarize, PPC is advertising. Advertising is a tool in the arsenal of marketing. SEO is a marketing strategy. PPC is very similar to running any sort of short term advertising campaign. SEO is a marketing plan, which may or may not include running PPC advertisements as part of that marketing plan.

Some people compare PPC ads to sales employees. If you find that your $44 a click ad consistently results in a sale of more than $44 dollars… you keep the employee or ad. Debating the two as though there were two similar options is misleading at best. If any business becomes wholly dependent on advertising to generate revenue there’s a huge threat when the eventual shift in the marketplace happens. On the flip side if you choose not to do any advertising you may be missing out on some low hanging fruit. Both SEO and PC can help a business grow, but they can’t accurately be compared to each other.