PPC Vs SEO: When PPC Is A Clear Choice

Both SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click) can help increase conversions on your website. However, the mechanisms of SEO and PPC are very different – and there are times when PPC outweighs SEO in terms of effectiveness.

Let’s take a look at some of those situations:

Situations that call for PPC

Situations when PPC advertising proves more effective than SEO

You are promoting a short-term web project

The online world is changing rapidly. No wonder many businessmen nowadays leverage new web trends to start short-term online businesses, run them for some time, reap profits and wind them up. These web projects require large portions of visitors within a short period of time. No SEO strategy will bring you loads of new visitors overnight, but PPC advertising can certainly do that.

You are running a small web business.

If your site isn’t aimed at online marketing, you may not have much experience with SEO – and you probably aren’t enthusiastic about paying a SEO consultant to promote your website. Specialists, in fact, suggest that small local businesses should use special promotional techniques that differ a little from traditional SEO methods.

Actually, in case of small business, moving your website to top positions in SERP is not your top priority. But you need visitors anyway. A PPC campaign can be an excellent solution in this case. It’s easy to set up and track. And even if you are the only person behind your small business, you can easily manage PPC campaigns on your own.

You have specific website promotion goals.

SEO brings you all the visitors that are potentially interested in your website. But sometimes you need to narrow your target segment a little bit. Like, you want to launch a remarketing campaign, and you only need visitors that have already checked your website and left it right before making a purchase. Another example is promoting video websites. In this case you only require visitors that feature high video start rate. It’s easy to find a PPC ad network that allows audience filtering by video start and video time parameters. But there is no SEO strategy that will bring you audience that is that thoroughly tailored.

Advantages of PPC over SEO


It’s really hard to compare SEO to PPC advertising. But there are certain dimensions in which PPC advertising scores higher. These are flexibility, budgeting transparency and right-away effectiveness.


Every time something extraordinary happens in the world of PPC advertising, you just raise the bid, tweak the targeting settings a little, and that’s it. It’s different with search optimization: the SEO-related changes, like the introduction of Google Hummingbird, for example, urge SEO specialists to rethink their SEO strategy completely to adapt to the new trend.

Right-away effectiveness

It takes some time for SEO efforts to pay off. Pay-per-click advertising, on the other hand, starts bringing results right away. But you must take into account that once the campaign is stopped, the visitor statistics may drop significantly. However, if you are running your PPC campaign non-stop, you may enjoy quite stable results, no matter what changes are currently hitting search engine world.

Budgeting transparency

There is no denying that a long-term PPC campaign may be quite expensive. But the undoubted advantage of PPC advertising is the transparent budgeting process. Just consider: with SEO you pay for visitors that might or might not visit your website; with pay-per-click advertising you pay for the ones that already got there.

So how to sum this all up?

Opting for PPC advertising as your primary promotion tool doesn’t mean you have to give up SEO completely. Some SEO techniques, like creating a site map and adding tags, not only improve your SERP results but also improve the website’s navigability. Depending on your situation, though, the advertising budget you used to spend on more advanced SEO methods is better allocated to well-designed PPC campaigns.

Tory Woods is an account manager on REACH Network. She enjoys reading about Internet marketing and writing articles for her company blog.

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