SEO and PPC advertising: the smart choice

Anyone with their own website wants to attract as many visitors as possible. There are many ways of building up traffic, but in this article we will only concentrate on two, namely search engine optimization (SEO) and PPC advertising.

We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each method of internet marketing and consider when one or the other is more appropriate, as well as when to use both. To start off, here is a definition of each method:

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) involves acquiring an advertising spot on a search results page for a certain user request. Most search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing! etc, sell advertising spots, usually from 3 to 8 ads at the top and on the right hand side of each results page. PPC is also sometimes known as contextual advertising, because the adverts that are displayed are relevant to the search query entered by each user.

Got tired of low conversions?

Our certificated experts know how to optimise your Google AdWords campaigns so that conversions increase by 35%

By clicking this button you agree to our terms & conditions

In the picture below, PPC ads are marked red, while organic, or non-paid, search results are marked green.

Search engine optimization (SEO) can only be implemented with the help of an SEO specialist or SEO company, whose task it is to optimize the text and the meta data on the site, arrange external links etc. These measures ensure that the search engine starts ranking a website higher in the organic (non-paid) search results. This cannot be achieved without the help of a specialist.


It’s important to note that in general, it is not a good idea to exclusively use one or the other site promotion method, since most large companies successfully combine both. We will look at this in more detail later on. Yet all the large companies started with either one or the other, having looked at the advantages and disadvantages of each method before making a choice. This is what we will cover in detail:

Advantages of PPC:

  • Easy start
  • Easy to make predictions
  • Easy to target particular audience
  • Flexible campaign management
  • High traffic conversion rate

Disadvantages of PPC:

  • High price per click
  • Limited target audience
  • A necessity for regular investments

Advantages of SEO:

  • It costs nothing
  • The effect is long-term
  • Better audience coverage

Disadvantages of SEO:

  • It’s time-consuming
  • The results are difficult to predict
  • No guarantees

SEO and PPC – a combined effort

          Advantages of PPC

Easy start

PPC is a very useful tool for young start-up companies that have just begun their business activity. All you have to do is register an account, top-up your balance and create two or three PPC campaigns – just a few hours of work before you can welcome the first visitors on your website!

Easy to make predictions

In any business it’s important to be able to estimate additional expenses and forecast the expected income, and PPC is perfect in this respect. After an initial test campaign, a specialist can usually easily and accurately predict the cost per click, the average level of traffic and other similar factors based on the available advertising budget.

Easy to target a particular audience

It’s easy to gain traffic for a specific search, such as for example “cheap flights from Chicago to Miami” from Beverly Hills. Or do you need customers to respond to a search for “international calling cards to Algeria” from Brooklyn? No problem! You can add and remove regions whenever you please, so you only gain exposure to the relevant geographic areas.

Flexible campaign management

In PPC campaigns, you can “fine-tune” dozens of different parameters, which is a priceless feature in some cases. PPC enables you to quickly reorganize your budget if you discover that a search for, say, “cheap VPS hosting” is more convertible that just “VPS hosting”, plan a day-long “last-minute” tour and be ahead of your competition when a new model of iPad is brought out.

High traffic conversion rate

According to information acquired by Enquisite, PPC traffic is twice as convertible as organic traffic. The main reasons for this are:

  • Firstly, you can fine-tune PPC campaigns, setting keywords, targeting the correct audience etc (outlined above);
  • Secondly, you can test different landing pages and adjust accordingly. It’s true that organic traffic can achieve similar results, but this is much more complicated, since the incoming audience is too diverse and unpredictable.

Disadvantages of PPC

High price per click

This is the only real disadvantage of the PPC method. If it costs you $1 to attract each visitor and you only earn $1.1 in return, then laziness is the only reasons for using this method, according to one of the leading SEOs, Rand Fishkin.


But in real life each click is quite expensive, especially in fields with high levels of competition. This is also the main reason that marketers pay attention to this method.

Limited target audience

Recent research has shown that a large proportion of Internet users don’t click on advertising links at all (the author of this article is one of them). Thus, this method will only attract the attention of around 25% of all users.

A necessity for regular investments

This one is obvious: if you have the money, you have the visitors. As soon as the money runs out, the site loses traffic.

Advantages of SEO

It costs nothing

Obviously, the traffic gained from search engines is free, since there is no cost for each click on organic search results. But the method itself is not without cost, since SEO specialists must be paid for site maintenance. Yet it is still cheaper than the PPC method, where the tech support must also be paid for on top of other costs.

The effect is long-term


SEO is of little use if you are after instant, short-term results. Quality website optimization is an investment with a long-term horizon.

Better audience coverage

This is not just an empty claim and has been proven many times in the past. Enquisite, the major research agency, has discovered through careful analysis that one PPC click can be equated to 8,5 organic clicks. Remember that a large proportion of users never clicks on PPC ads.

Disadvantages of SEO

It’s time-consuming

It takes at least several weeks, if not months, for this method to take effect. SEO companies will normally ask you to wait for two to three months before reviewing the results of their work.

The results are difficult to predict

Unpredictable results are this method’s greatest handicap and force many marketers to stay away from it. There is, of course, a certain logic in that, since there is arguably no point in investing without a clear indication of the qualitative and quantitative expectations.

There is no clear answer to the all-important questions, such as: how many visitors will the site attract each day? When will this number reach a particular level? How will they be converted into customers? What if it doesn’t work?

SEOs depends greatly on changes in search engine algorithms, which is one of the main reasons for this shortcoming.

No guarantees

An SEO expert’s prediction of future traffic, target audience indicators etc. is a very vague estimation, since even the very best experts in the world cannot guarantee certain results.

In that sense, SEO specialists, just like lawyers or doctors, can never guarantee the success of their undertaking, yet always place their reputation at stake.

SEO and PPC – a combined effort

In conclusion, there are a number of things worth remembering.

          Combining the SEO and PPC methods lets you attract the maximum available audience

Here’s an example:

This site appears three times in response to a search for “Boston replacement windows”, namely in the top advertising window, in the search results for local businesses and in the third position of the organic search results. This illustrates that combining the two methods brings in more traffic than using either one separately.

PPC is a great springboard for subsequent SEO campaigns

As mentioned already, future traffic is hard to predict from specific keywords. A simple test PPC campaign lets you gain an approximate estimate before embarking on a longer-term marketing ploy.

A joint effort is not just a dream!

If there is one thing to take away from this overview, it is the fact that the SEO and PPC methods are not mutually exclusive, even though they must fit into one budget. A smart marketer can skillfully combine the two to gain optimum results.

And if your budget will allow it, it would be wise not to discriminate against either method.





Leave a Reply

Notify of

Recent posts

Call tracking with dynamic number insertion (DNI): how to track the ad source of inbound calls

March 12, 2021

When it comes to effective distribution of marketing budgets, eCommerce businesses that accept orders not only through the digital carts on the website but also through inbound calls, all face the same problem: the inability to see a unified picture of marketing channels that brought customers to their decision to purchase. Here call tracking tools Continue reading >

How to combat cart abandonment with UX: detecting common checkout mistakes of eCommerce brands

February 23, 2021

Online checkout stats shows that more than 80% of online customers abandon their shopping carts. Out of them, about 87% are going to finish their order later. We are not sure if businesses are ready to sacrifice and lose time waiting for those 87% to return and complete the checkout, that’s why in this article Continue reading >

Making the most of email marketing in the beauty industry | Case Study

January 29, 2021

How to engage your mailing subscribers to visit your website? What’s the optimal mailing frequency? How to increase your conversion rates with email marketing? These questions are frequently asked by marketers. The situation gets even more challenging when it comes to the subscribers of a well-known beauty brand. In this material, we share the email Continue reading >

How to market furniture: email, content and remarketing as parts of IKEA marketing strategy

January 28, 2021

Furniture marketing is peculiar for certain reasons. First is that for customers buying furniture this is often emotional and exciting. Second is that this process, when online can take time – there is no way to literally “try on” or test an item. And third is that quality furniture costs money, almost like a small Continue reading >

Let's get the ball rolling

Please fill in this short form and we will be in touch with you soon

For any questions [email protected]


+44 (0) 20 313 766 81
+44 7852 537715

The Terrace AT5,
Grantham Street,

+1 347 809 34 86

Las Vegas
Suite 100,
NV 89113

Roosikrantsi 2-K230,
Kesklinna linnaosa,
Harju maakond,
Tallinn 10119


SEO and PPC advertising: the smart choice

start now

Start now