PPC Vs. SEO - Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Digital Marketing Strategies

PPC Vs. SEO – Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Digital Marketing Strategies

July 22, 2020

Pay-per-click PPC is a short-term digital marketing strategy in which advertisers have to pay a certain fee each time online users click on one of their advertisements. These ads bring paid online traffic to your site using relevant keywords. A particular PPC campaign requires detailed research on keywords being searched by your target audience relative to your industry. However, you’ll need to make a compelling landing page to convert your leads into clients.

Search Engine Optimization SEO is a long-term digital marketing strategy that helps you build traffic to your site for free by increasing your visibility to search engines. What SEO does to your website is that it makes it look valuable to popular search engines. However, it’s a long-term process and requires a lot of patience to get viable results. Although you won’t be able to rank your site overnight with SEO, it’s cost-effective and very beneficial in the long run.

The significant difference between these two strategies is that the online traffic you generate from PPC will cost you money, hence the name “pay-per-click” while the online traffic you get from SEO is organic and free of cost. You may often come across the terms “paid search engine listings” or “paid advertising and organic search engine listings” for these two digital advertising plans. Any of these terms mean basically the same thing.

Here, we will discuss some significant differences between the long term and short term, in regards to the following parameters:

Search Results Position

The position of your PPC ads in search engine results depends on several deciding factors:

  • Targeted keywords
  • Keywords present in your ad copy
  • Keywords present in your landing page

However, one thing remains the same, it’s that your PPC ad will always be present either on top or below organic search results.

For PPC, you can get your advertisement to the first page of search results by paying a higher cost per click (CPC).

Organic results gained from SEO efforts will only appear in the middle of the search results page. The degree to which you’ve optimized your website in terms of both on-site and off-site SEO will decide whether or not your listings will be able to appear in top positions or the first search results page.

For SEO, you can achieve first page positions in search results if you’ve optimized your website effectively.

Total Cost

PPC campaigns require some direct investment to get online traffic from search engines. If you’re using Google Adwords, the overall cost of availing the service depends on factors that drive the success of an individual advertising effort, including:

  • Keyword popularity
  • Number of advertisers using a particular keyword
  • Number of respective sites having ad positions for a specific keyword

With PPC, you only have to pay the fee for the clicks you get from your ads and not for the ad views. You can also determine your daily budget for the PPC ad campaign in advance by calculating an estimate of the average cost per click (CPC) for your targeted keywords. The Google Keyword tool, part of Google Adwords, will provide you with an estimate for each keyword’s CPC.

For PPC, you only pay the fee when online users click on your advertisement, and you can utilize the Google Keyword tool to calculate your paying potential.

Although SEO doesn’t require direct investment, it needs much effort and hard work to gain free online traffic from search engines. In general, there is an increased amount of competition for every top-rated keyword for which you’ll need to have a great SEO plan and a fully-optimized website to reach one of the top positions in search engines. If you don’t know anything about SEO, you’ll need to hire an SEO expert to get search engine traffic to your site.

There’s no direct cost involved; you can’t pay any fixed fee to get to the first page on search engines. However, you may need to pay for expert SEO services if you can’t do it yourself.

Traffic Potential

Which of these two digital marketing strategies can help bring more online traffic to your site? PPC ads can help you get an increased number of clicks; however, this also means that you’re going to pay more for your advertising efforts. On the other hand, organic traffic from SEO is a continuous process as long as you stay ranked in one of the top positions on search engine results for your targeted keywords.


Getting online traffic to your site is not enough; you’re still going to need to convert your online visitors into your clients. For PPC, if you’re using highly optimized and targeted ad campaigns, your visitors are more likely to convert than the ones coming from organic searches. However, PPC ads will also cost you more than SEO efforts.

When using SEO, your web pages may rank for various keywords, so the online users may not be looking exactly for the product or service mentioned on a particular landing page. In general, organic traffic is better than other types of traffic, including social media; however, SEO traffic is not as good as PPC traffic when it comes to conversions.

Reach First is a specialist client-oriented digital marketing service provider based in Edmonton, Alberta. Visit our website to read more about our quality services or contact us for customized care.

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