SEO vs PPC: What’s Best for My Business?

Asking whether SEO vs. PPC is better for your business is like asking if it’s better to drive a car or ride a bicycle. Yes, they both have wheels. And sure, they both get you from point A to point B. 

What makes the most sense for you, however, depends on what you want to accomplish. Taking the highway to work? You’ll want a car. Riding through a park on a sunny day? A bike might be the better choice. 

In the same way, different situations exist where optimizing your current content to drive new traffic makes more sense than paying for sponsored ads (and vice-versa.) So, keep reading as we dive deeper into these digital marketing strategies, how they fit into the search landscape, and how to tell which approach works best for your business. 

Understanding How SEO vs PPC Fit Into the Search Engine Landscape

Making the right choice between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ultimately comes down to understanding how Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) look for the keywords you care about. 

Not long ago, Google’s search results were pretty basic—just a list of links. But now, search results show more than just links. They display sponsored ads, featured snippets, maps, images, ‘people also ask,’ and more. Each type of SERP result offers its own way of getting noticed online. To know which approach is best for your business, you first need to understand how the ranking process differs for PPC vs SEO

How Is Ranking Different When Comparing PPC vs SEO?

The main difference when it comes to SEO vs PPC is that Pay-Per-Click rankings are instant. It’s simple. If you pay enough, place strategic bids, and link the reader to a relevant page, then your ads will appear first. However, this “top spot” entirely drops off from SERPs the moment your PPC campaign is stopped.

On the other hand, organic search rankings are “earned.” Google evaluates your site against all currently ranking results and any newly emerging content. So, even if you have a great piece of content that you’re certain will rank, it can still take months before you see results. 

Just remember: organic SEO rankings last longer. If you create helpful, quality, human-first content, Google will push it further up in rankings as time goes on—even if you don’t do anything to improve it further. 

What Do People Spend on SEO vs PPC?

Unfortunately, there’s not a cut-and-dry answer here. As businesses vary in size, industry, and target audience, so do their advertising budgets. On average, companies can spend anywhere from $1,000 a month to $100,000+ for PPC ads in 2024

This cost disparity is because PPC is essentially an auction where you pay to show up for certain keywords. That’s why they call the price you’re willing to pay a “bid.” Some companies might bid more, others might bid less. The most expensive keywords—insurance, loans, and mortgage—cost $54.91, $44.28, and $47.12, respectively. And remember, that’s just for one click, not one lead or one sale

Search Engine Optimization is entirely earned and enhances your website’s visibility to help you gain organic traffic from search engines. Most businesses have SEO budgets that range from $2,500/month to $10,000/month. The money you save compared to PPC is paid for with time—either through in-teams or outsourced SEO agencies—but for many businesses, the extra hours are well worth it. 

When you create content that ranks and drives traffic to your website, you no longer have to keep spending money to make your target customers see it. When these customers decide to click on your link, it comes at zero cost, unlike a PPC campaign where you pay per click.

When Should I Optimize My Content and When Should I Pay for Traffic?

SEO Is Better When…

  • You’re working with a tight marketing budget.
  • Your aim is to establish and enhance your brand authority.
  • Long-term ROI is your top priority.
  • You intend to create content tailored to different stages of the sales funnel to reach your audience effectively.

PPC Is Better When….

  • You need quick results.
  • You’re introducing a unique/new product.
  • Promoting time-sensitive offers, such as seasonal sales.
  • Your objective is to drive traffic directly to a sales or landing page.

Investing In Digital Marketing has Never Been More Important

Both SEO and PPC share a similar function—to generate conversions and attract new leads. When deciding which approach works best for your business, the main thing to consider is if you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks your ad or if you need a low-cost strategy with the potential to yield a higher return on investment. 

Still not quite sure which route best supports your business aspirations? Don’t worry! Timmermann Group has you covered. Book a free call with our digital marketing specialists, and let’s discuss your current strategies, budgets, and long-term goals.