Organic SEO vs. PPC: Pros and Cons
Many of our clients often ask what the benefits of organic SEO vs. PPC ads are. They both serve a purpose specific to driving consumers to your business. They just accomplish this goal with different tactics and strategies. Let’s take a look at both of these concepts and see what they have to offer.
What is Organic SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. The goal of SEO is to help your site show up more often in search engine results pages or SERPs. This is accomplished by optimizing your web pages with keywords and phrases that you want to rank for. There are many pros and cons to using organic SEO. Let’s look at a few examples.
Pros of Organic SEO:
Historically organic search engine optimization can create more return on investment over traditional forms of paid media. This is due in part to the low cost of implementing search engine optimizations on your pages.
Awareness of Your Brand
High-ranking visibility in SERPs can raise brand awareness as you garner more attention from people searching for keywords related to your website. This can result in a positive branding effect as customers who are searching begin associating your brand with answers to their questions.
Credibility and Trust
This is a big one! When your site shows up in organic search results this influences your credibility with your consumer as they look for services. In today’s hypercritical world many consumers automatically skip ads and go straight to organic search results as they feel these are more legitimate and trustworthy connections.
While there is some cost associated with SEO in regard to who you are paying to do your optimizations or how much of your own personal time you are investing in optimizing, the overall cost is more effective than other marketing tactics.
Sustainability Over the Long-Term
Unlike PPC ads SEO continues to be profitable even after you stop actively paying or optimizing. Efforts put in place to develop organic traffic can sustain your business over a long period of time even if budget concerns do not allow you to invest the time, energy, or funds to the process at the time.
Improved Clickthrough Rates or CTR
It’s been proven that organic SEO results in improved CTR over the long haul. More often than not you can produce more clicks from a well-placed organic search result than you can with a PPC ad.
All of these things lend themselves to the long-term success of SEO but there are some cons to consider.
Cons of SEO:
SEO is a Long-Term Commitment
If you are looking for instantaneous results that will drive consumers to your business in a short period of time, SEO is not the best option. Organic SEO is a long-term commitment that takes consistent input and adjustments for an extended period of time to be successful. It can take months to start seeing results after you optimize your site. This often leads people to feel that their efforts have been for naught.
Competition to rank for high search volume keywords can be intense. You must remember that you are not the only business owner who wants to rank for these keywords And understand that you may need to pick and choose which keywords to go after in order to be successful in your strategy.
SEO is Fluid and Changes Rapidly
As stated above SEO is a long-term commitment however that does not mean it’s stagnant. Search engine results and volumes change constantly based on user needs and demands. What’s popular one month could be at the bottom of the list the next and it’s important to keep track of these insights when optimizing your pages for organic search engine results. Google also regularly tweaks and changes its search engine algorithms over 600 times a year. This means that what’s driving search results to the top of the page can change in an instant.
What is Pay Per Click or PPC?
Now let’s examine some pay-per-click or PPC information. As you may have guessed PPC are paid ads that determine your cost based on the number of clicks your ad receives. PPC ads still utilize keywords that you want to rank for but they do so in a more targeted and laser-focused manner.
Pros of PPC:
Reach Your Target Audience
PPC ads allow you to specifically target a group of people based on their interests and demographics. This can help you specifically target your ideal consumer in a more effective and efficient way. Google ads allow you to personalize your campaigns to accomplish this.
PPC ads generate a quicker return on investment due to their increased visibility and placement on SERPs. This allows you to accomplish your goal of driving customers to your brand much more quickly and effectively than traditional organic SEO can.
PPC ads or just that, advertisements, as a result, will appear at the top of search engine results pages above typical organic search engine results. This can drive more consumers to your brand simply by virtue of placement on the page and visibility.
Speed and Agility
As stated, developing good organic visibility can take time while a PPC campaign can be created in days and see results within weeks. PPC ads allow you to get in front of customers much more quickly and that speed offers you agility. If you have an upcoming event or a new service you want to promote, the speed of PPC ads offers you the ability to do so in a very short period of time with a very quick turnaround.
Measurability of Success
PPC ads, unlike organic SEO, allow more collection of analytics related to conversion tracking, integration, and what keywords are converting at what percentage and cost. This information can then be utilized to help inform your organic keyword research into what keywords are converting and should be used long-term to drive consumers to your site.
PPC ads are not at the mercy of the same market volatility that organic search results are. While there are changes, they tend to have a lower impact and are more easily managed by carefully utilizing match types and analysis of search terms and quickly adjusting your PPC ad to meet those changes.
With that being said there are some cons that come along with PPC ad campaigns. Let’s look at a few.
Cons of PPC:
Because of the nature of PPC ad campaigns, the cost can quickly add up. If you are not monitoring your cost per click regularly and adjusting your budget consistently you can easily spend thousands of dollars before you realize it.
PPC is great in the short term but in the long term, it is not such a good investment. As the name suggests it is paid so it requires constant investment. So when you stop paying for the ads the return on investment dries up immediately and you no longer have access to the benefits as you do with ongoing organic SEO
Clicks Do Not Always Turn Into Conversions
Another downside to PPC ads is the fact that just because the consumer is clicking on your ad does not mean they are going to follow through with utilizing services from you. If a high number of people are clicking on your ad but there is no conversion your cost per click and spend on your PPC ad campaign can increase without seeing any ROI. It is important to not just set a PPC ad and forget it. You must also ensure that your website is set up to convince visitors that your products and services are valuable.
Closing thoughts about Organic SEO vs. PPC
As you can see there are upsides and downsides to both organic SEO and PPC ads. Ideally, these two will work synergistically together to provide the greatest return on investment for your business. For all points and purposes if your budget is limited and you are in this for the long-haul organic SEO may be the best way to start. Then as the need arises for new services or upcoming events you can use pay-per-click ads to get in front of consumers quickly to establish dominance in those new categories.
However, there is one key factor to remember about using PPC and organic SEO together. If you are optimizing for a group of keywords in your organic SEO you do not want to optimize for those same keywords with your paid advertisements. This could result in your PPC ads cannibalizing your organic SEO results. You would basically be spending money for something you were already ranking for organically. Always make sure your organic SEO optimizations and keywords are different from what you are targeting for your PPC ads.
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Other Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting
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About the Author
Mary is one of the newest members of our dedicated and knowledgeable SEO Specialists here at Simplified SEO Consulting. She brings with her certification in Google Analytics (Google Analytics IQ Certification). And she also understands the importance of analytics and their application. She loves staying up to date on all things analytical in order to bring clients the most informed service possible.
If you are ready to start your analytical SEO journey with us, schedule your free 30-minute consultation with us now. Mary and the rest of our team are ready to support you!