SEO and PPC have grown to be very popular digital marketing channels and with good reason. Both channels have a solid reputation for generating leads, increasing brand awareness, and driving audiences to your websites. 

Businesses that find themselves with limited marketing resources may have a difficult time choosing what or how much to focus on either one. Below are a few key differences for each channel to help you decide what is best for your needs. 


Consistent Search Results

Getting your website to rank high on the first SERP will take time. It certainly won’t happen overnight or even in a matter of days. However, when you are able to optimize your website enough to rank well, it will hold its rank and bring lots of long-term benefits. 

This is not to say that your current SEO strategies and tactics are bulletproof. Back in 2019 when Google released its BERT update, some very established websites took quite a hit. One of the most noticeable was the NY Times. It just goes to show how important it is to learn how these search engines are growing and how we can adjust our tactics to grow with them.  

Be The Go-To Resource

If your goal is to become the go to resource for a specific niche or industry, SEO will help you build that authority. To really dominate the space, you will need consistent, quality content that consistently drives users to your website. Search engines will then start to reward your website because it knows your website will answer or solve the searcher’s query. 


This goes back to being an authority in your space. Depending on what your organization does, there will be certain keywords that you want users to associate with your brand. Through effective SEO strategies, you can build that relationship between your brand and those search queries to become a reliable resource and positive figure in that industry. The more users trust your brand, the more likely they will buy or do what it is you are asking. 


Like most “free” things in life, SEO really isn’t free. It will cost you time and effort to develop content, research, integrate code, and redesign websites. However, since you do not have to pay to play, SEO can be one of the most profitable channels with great returns.  


It’s Fast

It may take days or even months to launch an SEO campaign. PPC is much faster. All you need to do is start your account and you can immediately start writing ads and bidding on keywords. 

It’s great for getting the word out quick or rolling out a last minute campaign. 


PPC lets you play around and experiment with different targets. You can control types of audiences and demographics to target and only pay if that specific user clicks on your ad. You decide how broad or specific you want your net to be. 

PPC allows for quick experimentation

Because PPC is a paid space, you are able to push your ads in front of users and get feedback immediately. This process allows you to test different parts of your campaigns and react instantly to the changing landscape. There are also specific tools in Google Ads that helps you run experiments and monitor the results. 

Omni-Channel Approach 

Despite the success of your SEO efforts, ads will always appear above organic search results. PPC is a great way to spread awareness and consistently come in contact with your audience. If they see your organic listing, Google My Business page, and your Google Ad, it is very likely they will choose your site. Covering as much as the SERP page as possible will help you establish a stable digital presence. 

Both are great marketing channels and it is basically impossible to say which is better at any given time. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, and companies should leverage both to get the best of both worlds.

Blake Rossell

Co-Owner of Swello Marketing

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