PPC or SEO: Which One is Right for Your Business?

When it comes to digital marketing, two of the most popular strategies are SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay-per-click). Both methods have their own unique advantages, and choosing which one to implement depends on a variety of factors, such as business goals, budget, and target audience.

SEO, in essence, involves optimising a website to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). This can be done through various techniques, such as keyword research and optimization, content creation, backlink building, and technical optimization. SEO is a long-term strategy that can take months or even years to yield significant results. However, it is also a cost-effective approach that can generate organic traffic to a website over time.

PPC involves paying for ad placement on search engines and other websites. Advertisers bid on keywords related to their products or services, and their ads are displayed to users who search for those keywords. PPC ads can also be targeted to specific demographics, geographic locations, and devices. Unlike SEO, PPC can yield immediate results, as ads can be set up and launched within a matter of hours.

While each approach has its own strengths, using a combination of the two can yield even better results for a business. By combining SEO and PPC, businesses can benefit from both approaches. While SEO efforts are underway, PPC ads can provide immediate traffic and help the business reach its target audience right away. PPC ads can also be used to test different keywords and ad copy to see what resonates with the audience, which can inform future SEO efforts.

So let’s take a more in-depth look at what SEO and PPC offer, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. 


Advantages of SEO


Compared to PPC, SEO doesn’t require a cost per click, so there aren’t always many additional costs to factor in with the initial and ongoing investment of hiring an SEO agency or specialist. Once a website is optimised for search engines, it can generate organic traffic without the need for ongoing ad spend. It should be noted, though, that this doesn’t take into account other services your SEO agency may offer, such as additional content creation not covered in your package or big technical fixes that will take time. 

Long-term results 

SEO is a long-term strategy that can yield sustainable results over time. While it may take months or even years to achieve top rankings on SERPs, the results can last for years to come. This can provide a steady stream of traffic and leads without the need for ongoing ad spend.

Builds trust and credibility 

A high-ranking website on search engines can be seen as a credible and trustworthy source of information. This can help establish a business as an authority in its industry, which can lead to increased brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Increases website visibility 

By ranking higher on search engines, a website can increase its visibility to potential customers. This can lead to increased traffic and leads, which can ultimately result in higher sales and revenue.

Disadvantages of SEO


SEO is a long-term strategy that can take months or even years to see significant results. This can require a lot of patience and ongoing effort to achieve and maintain high rankings on search engines.

Requires technical expertise 

SEO requires technical knowledge and expertise to optimise a website for search engines. This can require hiring an SEO agency or specialist, which can be expensive.

Subject to algorithm updates 

Search engines like Google are constantly updating their algorithms, which can impact a website’s rankings. This can require ongoing adjustments and updates to a website’s SEO strategy.


Advantages of PPC

Immediate results 

PPC can yield immediate results, as ads can be set up and launched within a matter of hours. This can provide a quick boost to website traffic and leads.

Targeted advertising 

PPC ads can be targeted to specific demographics, geographic locations, and devices. This can help businesses reach their ideal audience and maximise their performance.

Measurable results 

PPC provides measurable results, as businesses can track clicks, conversions, and other metrics. This can help businesses optimise their ad campaigns and improve their return on investment (ROI).


PPC allows businesses to adjust their ad spend and targeting on the fly. This can help businesses adapt to changing market conditions and maximise their ROI.

Disadvantages of PPC


PPC can be expensive, as businesses must pay for every click on their ads.

Requires ongoing investment 

Unlike SEO, PPC requires ongoing investment to maintain ad placement and continue driving traffic to a website. This can be costly, especially for small businesses with limited budgets.

Click fraud 

PPC is susceptible to click fraud, which occurs when individuals or bots click on ads with no intention of making a purchase. This can lead to wasted ad spend and lower ROI.

Ad fatigue 

PPC ads can become stale and less effective over time, especially if they are not regularly updated or refreshed. This can lead to decreased click-through rates and lower ROI. To combat ad fatigue, businesses may need to invest in new ad creatives and test different messaging and imagery.

The verdict?

Choosing between SEO and PPC for digital marketing requires careful consideration of a business’s goals, budget, and target audience. SEO is a cost-effective, long-term strategy that can build trust and credibility while generating sustainable organic traffic. However, it requires technical expertise and ongoing effort to achieve and maintain high rankings on search engines. 

PPC, on the other hand, provides immediate results and targeted advertising that can help businesses reach their ideal audience and maximise their ROI. However, it can be costly, requires ongoing investment, and is susceptible to click fraud and ad fatigue.

By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy, businesses can make informed decisions and develop effective digital marketing plans that align with their goals and budget.

Ultimately, the decision to choose SEO or PPC depends on a business’s specific needs and resources. 

We would actually say that most businesses may benefit from a combination of both strategies, using SEO to generate sustainable organic traffic while using PPC to provide an immediate boost and target specific demographics. 

Moreover, using a combination of SEO and PPC can help businesses dominate search engine results pages. By having both organic search results and paid ads displayed for relevant keywords, businesses can increase their visibility and create a stronger brand presence in the minds of potential customers. This can also help establish the business as a trustworthy and reliable authority in its industry.

Additionally, PPC advertising can be used to target specific demographics, locations, and interests, which can help businesses reach their ideal audience with more precision. By using data gathered from PPC campaigns, businesses can also gain valuable insights about their target audience and adjust their SEO strategy accordingly.

The SEO and PPC teams at Distribute Digital are here to chat about what your digital marketing requirements are, and what the best approach would be for your business. Contact us today!

Keisha - SEO Account Manager

Keisha is a driven SEO Account Manager with a person-centred approach and a degree in Business Psychology from the University of Worcester. Keisha has extensive client service experience and excellent organisational skills.

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