SEO vs PPC – Which One Should You Choose for Your Business?

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* Do you always get confused between SEO and PPC?

* Not sure if Google Ads is the right path or SEO?

* Wondering why you should pay for SEO if you can just get to the top with PPC?

* Have you invested in SEO and are not seeing results while your competitors are on Google with PPC?

The list can go on and on. But we’ll stop right here! Instead, we’ll give you the final answer to the difference between SEO and PPC in detail. Once you know the difference, you can choose the best one for your business confidently.

So let’s get to it. Welcome to SEO vs PPC!

Choose SEO or PPC for your business

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a collection of techniques and actions that will tell Google that your website is a good one, relevant to the user’s search and needs. If Google agrees with you, it will show you on its first page on the top when somebody is searching for your products and services without any ads. 

How long does SEO take?

There is NO WAY to say how long SEO takes. We know this is not the answer you want to hear, but seriously there is no fixed time frame for SEO. That’s because:

  • Your competitors are also working on their SEO at the same time.
  • Every industry is different.
  • The competition for every business is different.
  • Your budget will also have an impact on the time
  • And last but certainly not least… Google makes the final decision!

But to give you a general assumption, it takes about 6 months for a business with an average budget and an average competition to show results.

If you have a one-of-a-kind business with zero competition or very low competition, it might take only 1 or 2 months. If your business has relatively higher competition and especially big brands competition, it’ll take much more than 6 months.

How much does SEO cost?

It depends! We know… we know… again not what you want to hear. But again seriously it depends on many factors. There are a couple of things you must know:

  • Part of SEO is technical, meaning it needs to be done generally on your website, for instance optimizing a website’s loading time.
  • Part of SEO is content, meaning you need to regularly produce quality, unique content (articles, posts, videos, or …) based on SEO protocols for a while.
  • Part of SEO is on-page, meaning optimizations need to be done on every web page of your site.
  • The last part of SEO is off-page, meaning any activity outside of your site. This usually includes creating, purchasing, or earning high-quality links back to your site from valuable resources.

As you can see SEO is not one specific thing to be done, it consists of different actions. It also needs to be repeated and done regularly for a while (as we mentioned above at least 6 months). 

These factors and also your budget all affect SEO prices. 

Just to give you another general assumption, an average yet effective SEO budget for small businesses is about 2000-3000 AED per month. More than that will boost your speed and lower than that will obviously slow your SEO down.

SEO digital marketing pros & cons

What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay per click and refers to an online advertising method in which you only pay when somebody clicks on your ad after seeing it. If they see your ad and don’t click on it, you won’t be charged. Which is just plain awesome! 

The most famous form of PPC is Google Ads formerly known as AdWords. It shows your ads across Google and its partners. Other search engines and platforms also have PPC advertising options.

But since Google is the most used search engine around the world, advertising on it is also the most effective. Therefore people have come to use PPC and Google Ads interchangeably.

How long does PPC take to work?

Less than a day!

It takes about a few hours to set up your account, and then campaigns, ad groups, and of course ads. Then about a few hours for Google to revise and approve them. This shouldn’t take more than a day.

Unless your service or goods are something special or sensitive. In that case, they might ask you to change a few details to be in line with Google’s advertising policies.

What is the cost of PPC?

Again it depends! On many factors … how much your competitors are willing to pay, your city, your own budget, and …

But on average, PPC ads cost about less than a dollar to 5 or 6 dollars.

PPC digital marketing pros & cons

So what in heavens is the difference between SEO and PPC?

Just to make it clear, PPC ads are paid promotions. They show when you pay for them and if you win the bidding auction. They also have a little sign next to them that says “ad”. So that users would know it’s a paid promotion.

SEO gives you natural or so-called organic results. Meaning the position you earn is completely ad-free and based purely on your website quality and of course Google’s choice.

And the winner is ….

We wish there was one answer to make it easy for you, but there’s not! But that’s only because SEO and PPC are both amazing marketing channels.

Perhaps the best answer would be that since SEO takes time, it’s best to have PPC ads too for getting instant exposure. After a few months, when you start to rank in Google organically, you can start to lower your PPC budget.

Also, user behavior is so colorful. Some people only click on organic results and don’t trust the ads. Some users don’t even recognize ads are ads and click on the first thing they see. And there are good stats backing up both of these views.

But it might also be interesting to know that some businesses even choose both of these channels at the same time. To understand their intentions, take a look at this image:

House listing for real estate website

Dolce Gusto ranks number one in Google for the search term coffee capsules but if somebody is searching on mobile and is in a hurry, or if somebody sees their competitors’ ads and forgets the rest, they might not get to them. They might just click on one of the 3 ads they see without scrolling.

So this business has decided to run Google Ads in addition to doing SEO on their website. Of course, this doesn’t mean that SEO is useless for them. At the times of day that there are no ads, people will see them. Also, their organic position will influence their ad quality and reduce their AdWords costs. In addition to that, people who don’t trust ads, will scroll past ads and click on them.

Final Words – Which one is better? SEO or PPC?

Your best bet would be to use both PPC and PPC ads. Start with PPC online ads. Meanwhile, work on your website’s SEO gradually.

If you don’t have enough budget for both of them, you can slow the process of SEO and find clients with google ads at the beginning.

As soon as you have revenue, speed up your SEO. In a few months you probably have a good rank on Google which is solid and doesn’t go away as easily as ads.

So you can turn it around and this time slow down your ads since you are already getting traffic the organic way.

Difference between PPC & SEO


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