Jan 9, 2012

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Pay-Per-Click Versus Search Engine Optimization

What Are PPC and SEO?

Two search engine marketing strategies for generating visits from search engine users include PPC (pay-per click) and SEO (search engine optimization). The SEO strategy can enable a website to rank well for selected search queries within the main search results. PPC advertising is used to drive targeted traffic to the website.

PPC ads are a method of buying visitors to your website, bidding on advertisement placements among the search engine results for very specific keywords. SEO is a natural way of dominating top search engine rankings by creating a keyword-rich website with a strong linking structure.

Which Method is Best?

Both PPC and SEO tactics can be used together and can be a cost-effective way to attract new visitors to a website. On the other hand, they also have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Short Setup Time and Low Costs

Pay-per-click can be set up to work effectively within a few days. Developing a website’s search engine optimization usually takes a matter of months. With that said, using PPC can be quite useful for brand new websites or for short term promotions. There is less initial cost involved, and the desired results would be achieved sooner.

Long-Term Cost-Effectiveness

Charging for each click to a website, PPC remains a constant cost for a business over time. In contrast, a successful SEO project can provide additional value long after the initial work has been undertaken. The cost-effectiveness overtakes that of PPC in the long run.

Lower Risk

The value, or ROI (return on investment), that an SEO project provides may vary. For example, a business with a well established website that contains extensive content will gain far more from SEO than a newly launched website with minimal content, though assessing this value against the initial costs of optimizing a website can be difficult.

In contrast, the effectiveness of a PPC campaign can be assessed as money is invested. If monitored closely, there is very little risk involved.


PPC advertising providers, such as Google AdWords or Yahoo! Search Marketing, provide information on clicks with no need to set up any extra tracking. Leads or sales can also be tracked with the addition of a small piece of code. The cost per sale or lead can be tracked from the outset.

With measuring the effectiveness of SEO, a website analytics package or log files need to be reviewed. This can be a more complex process.

PPC, SEO, or Both?

It can be worthwhile to include elements of both PPC vs. SEO activities within a search engine marketing campaign in most cases. There really isn’t any battle between the benefit of PPC and SEO. Both are vital to the success of an online business. Each will bring benefits in their own ways and time frames.


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