One of the aspects of my life that I really enjoy is that I get to meet with a wide variety of business owners and marketing directors from all types of companies and industries.  Although the subject of the meetings is frequently similar – discussions to maximize ROI through all different marketing channels- my recommendations always vary depending on the unique circumstances at each particular company.  A question that comes up many times while discussing Search Engine Rankings is whether I recommend Organic SEO or PPC in order to increase search engine visibility and ultimately a higher number of online conversions.  And the answer is not always clear-cut; oftentimes, even the same company may benefit from one or the other or both options at different times.


Let’s start by stating the basic facts about each option:

Understanding SEO and PPC

SEO or search engine optimization is an online marketing technique (or actually a process) designed to make websites get the best possible ranking in search engines results pages.  On the other hand, PPC or pay-per-click is a marketing scheme which involves buying ads on various search engines platforms to get more (paid) traffic and higher page rankings right away. While each marketing channel has its own advantages, knowing these will give you better insight on what to use to reach your goals.

Fast Facts on SEO and PPC

• About 85% internet users view organic SEO listings to be more credible than PPC listings. However, when it comes to PPC, about 50% online users are more inclined to purchase from a seller’s (advertised) website than those that come from organic links.

• About 85% clicks resulting from searches come from organic links. On the other hand, PPC provides instant ranking and immediate results (compared to the long-term Organic approach) and thus it is a faster way to build traffic.

• ROI of SEO continues to increase over time, while PPC has a more definite ROI once it has reach its peak.  In other words, SEO has a longer shelf-life and a less defined ROI, whereas the ROI of a PPC campaign tied to a particular budget can be easily measured on a monthly basis.

When it’s best to use SEO

The following situations warrant its best to use search engine optimization.

• If you want to be on the first page of Google, it requires patience on your part as it is a long process. But when you finally land on the first page, no doubt you’ll enjoy more traffic. Even better, when you choose to use SEO Services on an ongoing basis, you will also be able to keep up with the constant search engine algorithm updates.  This practice will allow you to keep your position for a long time, hence you reap more rewards.

• If you want to increase your website’s value, you have to build a solid foundation for your website. There are certain factors that could provide a better influence and make your website more relevant to search engines.  Some of these include link popularity, page rank, SEO rankings over a specific time frame, and the consistency of traffic it generates.

• Content Marketing is the buzz word these days, and for a good reason. If you want to develop an authority website, you will need to add fresh and original content to it on a regular basis.  This in turn will little by little help your website become a dominating source of information in your particular niche.  A properly optimized website with original content that is also frequently updated will always rank higher organically and generate more traffic and conversions than other similar websites that are not updated or optimized on a regular basis.

When it’s best to use PPC

Like SEO, PPC is also useful in various cases, and some of these situations include:

• If you have a website which is not intended for SEO, like squeeze pages, (or single page landing pages), PPC is the preferred option to generate conversion.

• If you want highly targeted traffic, PPC is more of an advantage here. It allows you to choose the target audience who will view your ads based on your preference. With PPC platforms like AdWords, Wordstream or Facebook Ads, you get the ability to fine tune your campaigns so that you can promote your products and services to a certain group of people based not just on highly targeted keywords, but also on geographic location, education, income, age, gender, hobbies and a number of other factors.

• If you want quick results, then PPC is the best tool for you. Knowing its nature and the fact that it brings a multitude of people clicking on the ads, pay per click is great for product launches, affiliate marketing, time sensitive offers, special events, just to name a few.

As you can see, both marketing channels have their own advantages while they cater to complementary marketing goals. If you aim for the best Google ranking and you constantly make updates on your websites, then SEO is the most appropriate technique for you.  But if your website is fairly new, or if it doesn’t have enough content to become an authority in its niche, or if you opt for a highly targeted traffic segment, then PPC will provide better results.

If your budget allows, a combination of both strategies is always the ideal solution.  There’s no need to choose one or the other.  They are not exclusive options, and in truth, when they coexist, you can truly multiply your results, since in essence, you will be getting the best of both worlds.  Even when it comes to Search Engine Rankings, if you can diversify between Organic optimization (SEO) and Paid traffic (PPC) you will see your traffic and conversions grow steadily regardless of the frequent organic algorithm changes or bidding rates changes for your targeted keywords.

If you have any questions about this topic or if you need help deciding which option is best for your particular company, simply contact me directly or leave a note in the Comments area below.

Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)