I get asked this question by many people. Should I spend (more) money on Adwords – Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising or should I invest time and money into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? Ask yourself “Do I pay attention to paid advertising or am I more likely to go for the best of the organic search results?” There is no question that both of these traffic acquisition techniques have plenty of merits, but if you are wanting me to pick one over the other, I will choose SEO every time.

And here’s why.

What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

81% of users, according to Jupiter Research study 2006, find what they are looking for using a search engine, not by typing in the company’s name in the URL field.

So if 81% of your customers are using search engines to find you, where is effort best directed?

Benefits of SEO:

Google’s algorithm is tuned to deliver relevant results on the search terms provided, which implies a strategy based on publishing content that is of relevance to your audience has winner written all over it! Once you begin creating content regularly, you can work to dominate the search results for many different keyword combinations.

It also beneficial to consider that organic results carry respect – users have become wary of some of the tricks done with Adwords, after all, your competitors and people in neighbouring markets can outbid you on words you are running and frankly, users are just not looking at paid ads as much as organic results.

The stats say top organic results are 8 times more likely to be clicked than paid ads, especially in the right sidebar.

Although SEO is generally associated with the longer game, it can produce results in short spaces of time (ask us, we know how) as well as having flexibility and control. Using well integrated keywords into well written content naturally generates search friendly content. Intent-based search queries and voice recognition are starting to play a part in moulding search engines, and platforms like HubspotMarketo and many others are helping businesses maximise web capture and integrate sales and marketing.

So what about PPC?

PPC can be great for generating quick results. After all, “buying your way to the top” should have some clear and immediate benefit, right?

PPC can also be used as part of a campaign around limited time offers or special events, to ensure wide and prominent coverage across all platforms.

Like SEO, PPC can provide a high level of measurement, as it is highly targeted and (should) deliver results quickly.

But PPC does cost money – cold-hard marketing dollars and you’re paying for every click, which can mount up depending on keywords you are bidding on. Gone are the days of clicks under 10 cents. Researching some keywords for Netbyte the other day, there was nothing under a $2 bid per click and many up in the $7-$10 range. At these rates, SMEs can blow through budget allowances quickly if the set up is wrong and it is not reviewed and tuned regularly.

Professional support is almost essential. Of all the ways to get traffic to your site, PPC can be most erratic and comes with surprise expenses that certainly don’t get high fives around the office! And like SEO, there is competition for many of the more obvious search terms, which for both disciplines drives up the cost.

And speaking of competition, I’ve got stories from clients about competitors clicking on ads to burn through their allocated budget, and, to add insult to injury, giving access to the keywords so carefully chosen and nurtured by the client in the first place! This does definitely not happen with SEO!


So two key takeaways are:

1. SEO is a winning strategy and

2. Do nothing unless you are measuring your results. 

It doesn’t take a huge amount of planning to ensure that you get proper reporting. Determine your actual level of success, even if the result is disappointing, at least you will know and you can reassess and revise your strategy.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you with SEO, please free feel to contact me directly.