Differences, pros, cons and an integrated approach

SEO or PPC? 

Like everything in marketing, it would be great if there was a simple answer to the SEO vs. PPC question. 

Unfortunately, despite the human temptation to simplify this into a binary answer, the answer is complicated. 

SEO helps your webpages rank higher on the non-paid search results by improving the quality and relevance of the content on your website. This improved visibility comes without the expensive costs per click of PPC. 

PPC ads are paid online advertisements that are laser targeted by demographics and keywords to get in front of the right people at the right time.

Typically, PPC ads show in highly prominent positions on the search results and hoover up the majority of clicks for highly commercial terms.

What is right for you?

This article will provide an overview of the search landscape and the two key search engine marketing (SEM) tactics, plus five simple questions you can ask yourself to determine where your efforts should be spent. 

Defining SEO and PPC

In a nutshell, SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility on Google, Bing and other search engines.

PPC, or pay-per-click, are the ads that appear on a page of search results (typically in premium positions). 

The search landscape

The key to making an educated SEO vs. PPC decision is understanding the makeup of the search engine result pages (SERPs) for the keywords that matter to you. 

While the search results were once just “10 blue links,” modern search engines provide a rich array of page features, all designed to provide comprehensive answers along with the means to dig further into a topic. 

Modern SERPs feature: 

  • Ads 
  • Knowledge panels.
  • Featured snippets.
  • Maps.
  • Images. 
  • Videos.
  • Top stories (news).
  • People Also Ask.
  • Carousels.
  • Organic listings.
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