Marketing strategies: Pay-per-click vs. SEO

Any business owner will tell you that the saying “If you build it, they will come” isn’t always true. Business owners who have invested time and money into creating a website for their business often ask themselves, “how can I drive traffic to my website?”

There are several different ways to do this. Two of the most popular are Pay-per-click and SEO. Here’s a look at these two strategies, their advantages, and their disadvantages.


First of all, what is Pay-per-click (PPC)? Simply put, you advertise your website on others’ websites and you pay those host websites each time someone navigates to your page from theirs. Often grouped with pay-per-click is pay-per-call in which a host website contains a click-to-call button and you pay the host website each time someone clicks on that link to call your business.

Pay-per-click (and per call) has some tremendous advantages. One is that it works very fast. It doesn’t take long to get a PPC campaign up and running. Once it’s up you’ll begin to see an increase of traffic almost immediately. PPC also gives you, the advertiser full control. You have control over which keywords will trigger your PPC ad and you control where that ad will take people if they click on it. Unlike unpaid search results, your PPC ads will not be affected every time a search engine updates it’s algorithms. Also, PPC allows you to target your audience by location. You won’t be wasting money advertising to people who live far away from your business. Most important of all, you’re only paying money when people take action on your ad, rather than paying just to display your ad.

The downside to PPC is that it can get expensive, especially if you’re not doing it right. It also requires constant testing and optimization to keep it fine tuned and working effectively.


The main focus of search engine optimization (or SEO) is getting to the top of unpaid search results. Because you’re not paying your way there, SEO is seen by many to be more credible and natural than paying for a top spot in the search results. SEO also gets you exposure on several search engines, not just one. Unpaid search results are also more likely to be clicked on.

The downside to SEO is that it typically takes a lot more time and patience working your way to the top. SEO is also highly competitive and is also susceptible to algorithm updates. Months of hard work to climb to a top spot can be wasted if the search engine suddenly changes their algorithm.

Why not both?

The debate between PPC and SEO is silly when it comes down to it. Both are effective in different ways. How you use these strategies depends on your marketing budget and desired outcomes. Ultimately, some combination of the two will probably yield the best results.

Source: Huffington Post