SEO vs. PPC: How to get an Edge on Your Competition

Published on
October 26, 2022
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Search Engine Marketing is a crucial part of your website’s success. You can have the best designs and intricate programming, but none of that matters if nobody is visiting your site. You know search engine marketing is important, but what does that really mean for your website?

There are two main kinds of search engine marketing: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing. Both are important to understand so that you can choose which is best for your website. It can be overwhelming trying to navigate the two strategies, but we will tell you everything you need to know!

Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO?

All search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing, have algorithms. These algorithms decide which website pages appear on their search engine results pages(SERP) for a user’s search query. The results of a search query appear naturally or organically on the SERP page.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the common term for modifying a website page to increase its ranking on the SERP. Two the most important factors to consider when optimizing your website are your target audience and the 4 pillars of SEO:

  • On Page Optimization
  • Off Page Optimization
  • Technical Optimization
  • Content Optimization

When you work with an SEO Expert, they consider all these factors. That way they can ensure that your website is readable to search engine algorithms and crawlers, while maintaining quality value for your users. There are many practices you can implement to improve your SERP ranking, which is the primary goal of SEO.

Where do Organic Results Appear on the SERP?

Organic search results appear under the top group of Google Ads, and to the left of a knowledge panel. The website pages with the best Search query match will rank higher on the page, while the less relevant website pages are ranked lower. Often, the irrelevant website pages rank off the first-page of the SERP, where they rarely receive any traffic.

The fundamental goal of SEO is to reach your target audience and increase traffic to your site. The higher you are ranked, the more likely it is for Users to click on your website. Your goal in SEO should be to appear on the first page of the SERP because most people do not look past the first page of results. Once you reach the first page, you can continue optimizing your website pages until you reach the first position.

How to Increase your Organic Ranking

While trying to increase your SERP ranking may seem overwhelming at first, there are plenty of small steps you can take. The first thing you’ll want to do is understand who your target audience is. Once you know who you want viewing your site, you’ll be able to research common user queries, and target the appropriate keywords.

Each valuable page on your website should have a target keyword, as well as secondary keywords relating to the page’s topic. In a search or query, the target keyword is the primary word or phrase. You can think of it as the main idea or purpose of the page.

As an example, if a sporting goods store posted a blog article titled: Snapshot into the Best Baseball Players of All Time,” their target keyword might be “Best Baseball Players of All Time”. They would want that blog post to rank highly whenever someone searched for their target keyword, so that the blog page and their site would have more traffic. Target keywords and high quality content are very important for your page to rank for your target keywords.

Search engines also consider the user’s experience when ranking websites. The algorithm measures a user’s experience on a page using technical performance factors, which means the search engine can know if a user likes a specific website page. That’s why optimizing your website for Performance and User Experience (UX) are very important aspects of SEO. Experts have many tools to help keep track of these ranking factors, and understand how a website can be optimized.

What are the Benefits of SEO?

SEO is an important aspect of every website. With an effective strategy and time, your site will be ranked on the First page, which provides more long term value to your website without spending money for Paid Ads.

In addition, people tend to trust websites that rank higher organically more than Paid Ads because Organic query results are “natural”. We highly recommend to invest in an SEO strategy if it makes sense for you. However, if you’re looking for short term results, Pay Per Click marketing might be the ticket for you.

Pay Per Click

What is PPC Marketing?

Pay Per Click, or PPC, marketing is very different from SEO, and is actually more straightforward. PPC is when a person or business entity pays a search engine, such as Google, for an Ad to show up on the SERP and pays per ad click. This is a very effective form of digital marketing, and offers much quicker results than organic SEO.

Where PPC Ads Appear on the SERP

Paid search results appear at the very top or bottom of a SERP and are marked as “Ad” or “Sponsor”. The positioning of your Ad, top or bottom, depends on the amount you are willing to spend. Top positioned Ads appear at the absolute top of the SERP page, even above Organic Results.

PPC is very effective because it allows you to position your page at the top of a SERP without the work of optimizing your website. No matter how well you optimize your website for Organic Results, it will never rank above the paid ads.

How Does PPC Work?

With PPC marketing, the manager of a site pays a search engine for the site’s ad(s) to appear on SERPs.

First, you will need to setup your Ad where you set a budget, copy, target location, target user characteristics, and target keywords. For example, if you own a Sporting Goods company in San Diego, you can set your target location to San Diego, target users who are interested in athletics, and target the keyword “Sporting Goods Company in San Diego”. There are many resources available to effectively target your audience.

Next, choose your keyword match type: exact match, phrase match, broad match, or modified broad. If you choose “exact match,” your Ad won’t appear unless someone searches your exact keyword, whereas if you choose “broad match” it would include synonyms and other variations of your keyword. While “broad match” will reach a bigger audience, it will also be more expensive.

Once your ad is configured, your Ad will be reviewed to ensure it is following the applicable guidelines. Finally, once it has been approved, your Ad will start appearing on SERP pages!

Best Things About PPC Marketing

PPC marketing can be a huge timesaver and direct more traffic to your site quicker than organic SEO can. People tend to click on the top results offered, so having your site at the top is a great way to get more clicks and traffic.

Which is More Important?

The Pros and Cons of Organic SEO


Trustworthiness - It has been proven that users trust organically ranked pages and websites more than Paid Ads. This is because organically ranked pages have to prove that they are great user resources in order to be ranked high.

Sustainability - With a succeessfull campaign, you can expect to continiously receive users from your keyword ranking and the overall improvement of your website. This is because you will have to frequently optimize your content and site performance. The more you optimize your site, the more you will see an increase in the quality of existing web pages and the creation of new pages, further improving your website as a valuable asset.

User Quality - If effectively optimized, it is likely that organic search queries will bring high quality users to your site. This is because the more you optimize a page, the more it will match the user’s search intent.


Long Term Investment - It typically takes several months to see the results of a SEO campaign. This makes it hard to track the return on investment in the early stages of your SEO campaign.

Competition - Other websites are always competing for a higher ranking position, or to protect their existing rankings/. While you may be number one today, it is difficult to forecast how you will rank in a few months.

Algorithm Updates - Search engines like Google frequently update their algorithms which means that you have to stay up to date on the latest trends and strategies. A strategy that was effective last year may not be as effective this year.

PPC Marketing - Pros and Cons


Fast Results - Paid Ads generate traffic a lot quicker than SEO. If you have an ad posted, it will typically be listed within the top 3 results each time your keyword is searched. This method is great for increasing traffic quickly, but can be expensive.

User Targeting - It’s a lot easier to target your audience with PPC marketing because you can set your Ads to run for user characteristics, geographical locations, keywords, and even times of the day.

Direct ROI - Similarly to targeting, paid ads guarante that people will visit your site and interact with it. The money you spend will always get your site more traffic because you are paying per click.


Short Term Investment - PPC is a short term investment meaning that once you pause or remove your Ads, the users you acquired from Paid Search will most likely no longer visit your site and your Paid Search channel will be extinguished.

Cost - Paid search results are typically pay per click (PPC), which means you’re paying every time someone clicks on your website. This can be very effective, but also very expensive if you aren’t making enough money back from those website visits.

Less Trustworthy - People tend to trust these results less than organic search results. Many people skip over the ads entirely, even though they appear at the top of the page, and go straight to the organic results.

The Verdict

Both Organic SEO and Paid PPC are very useful tools with their own unique set of Pros and Cons. For the best results, you should use each strategies to reap the benefits of both. However, sometimes that isn’t feasible for some companies because of budget constraints.

Ultimately, your decision should be made depending on which strategy is best for you. PPC can be a great strategy to earn fast results, but it can become very expensive with no long term benefit. However, if you are willing to invest in a long term strategy, we highly recommend SEO because of its sustainable user acquisition.

Understanding the difference between SEO and PPC, and knowing which is best for you can make the difference between your success and failure in gaining traffic. If you have any more questions about how SEO or PPC can give you an edge over your competitors, reach out to our team for more information!

Our team of experts is always here to help you navigate the world of SEO and PPC. We understand that it can be overwhelming to decide which strategy is best for your business. That's why we offer personalized consultations to assess your specific needs and goals.

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