SEO vs PPC in 2020 - Which Strategy Should I Focus On?

05 December 2019

Where to focus your search engine marketing budget in 2020...

A lot of marketers will be debating whether to implement Search Engine optimisation (SEO) or Pay Per Click (PPC) (Search & Display) advertising in 2020 and which one should be their main focus. Both help drive traffic to your site, but which would work best for you?

Understanding SEO & PPC

SEO involves gaining traffic from organic (unpaid) listings on Search Engine result pages (SERP) on the likes of Google and Bing. Rather than the instant results you would expect to see from PPC, SEO can involve a lot of tweaks to your website, which can involve a lot of time & hard work before you begin to see the results.

By making these modifications to your website, its pages will naturally begin to rise up SERP. Page rankings are determined by a number of factors, such as title & heading tags, as well as the relevancy of your content.

PPC advertising enables you to display your adverts in (the ever-growing) sponsored results of the SERP. If your target audience clicks on these adverts, then you will be charged a fee. It’s the ability to appear at the top of SERPs offer immediate traffic to a website that makes PPC so attractive to businesses.

The ranking of your PPC adverts is based on your keyword bids, the quality score of your ads as well as the users experience when they visit your landing page. Ultimately PPC is a sprint, whereas SEO is more of a marathon.

The Pros & Cons of PPC

PPC Pros

  • It offers immediate results. For example a new site can begin to gain a foothold in the market.

  • Online Advertising agencies are great at helping businesses understanding statistics. For example you can track what ads & keywords that convinced people to make a purchase.

  • You are in charge of where people visit in your website as well as the text within your ad. By testing out different options for both, you will be able to see which combinations offer the best results.

  • You have the flexibility of what keywords to bid on in addition to how much you are willing to spend per day. Not only this, but you are able to filter your audience by their interests & location.

PPC Cons

  • The long term benefits are limited. Although it’s possible to get some return traffic through brand awareness, once the money stops so do the adverts & all unbranded search traffic will cease to exist.

  • Audiences can be sceptical of anything with an “AD” label. People are much more comfortable skipping past the ad section in order to find the first organic result on the SERP.

  • Costs can quickly add up, especially if you are targeting highly competitive keywords.

The Pros & Cons of SEO

SEO Pros

  • As previously touched upon over 85% of internet users, prefer clicking organic search results over paid results, due to the fact they are more trusting of these pages.

  • There is much more longevity associated with SEO when you follow the best SEO practices, such as creating quality content with a plethora of effective keywords.

  • Although the process can be quite long in optimising your website for search engines, the results will show their worth in the long run & should reduce your reliance on PPC campaigns.

  • By focusing your pages on long-tail keywords, visitors who end up on your site after typing in long-tail keyword phrases should be exactly who you are trying to target. It is also much easier to rank for long tail keywords than shorter keyword strings.

SEO Cons

  • There can be a long delay before the changes you make, have any visible results in terms of increased traffic, especially when compared to PPC. It can take up to around 3 months to see a visible increase in rankings & is also affected by how much optimisation is actually needed.

  • It can be a never ending task optimising your website to rank in the top positions on SERPs, as Google continuously tweak there algorithms. This in turn can have a huge effect on your websites position on the SERP.

  • Doing SEO effectively requires a lot of man-hours, which not all businesses can devote time to, due to all the other tasks that are required within any given day. The various SEO factors need to be continuously monitored, in order to help maintain/increase their rankings.

Should I use SEO or PPC for my business?

Ultimately, when trying to choose between SEO and PPC, it’s important to identify the budget you have to work with. Both methods drive traffic, however PPC is entirely based on budget and unless you have a consistent budget to work with, SEO should be the focus. If you have a dedicated budget to work with, it’s recommended that you run a PPC campaign to reach your audience.

When creating any sort of new content, PPC is always advised to help establish an immediate audience. Through this, you will be able to quickly suss what keywords are working well & create an SEO strategy around this.

Realistically, there is no correct answer when determining whether PPC or SEO is better. The only certainty is that they are both produce the best results when used together. From our experience with working with hundreds of clients, a holistic approach has always produced the best results. If you want, to discuss options for your own business, don’t hesitate to get in contact.