SEO versus paid advertising: Which one is better and why?

Two of the most popular ways to find and convert customers today are SEO and paid advertising. But which one is best for your business?

Both SEO and PPC (or SEM) can be extremely effective marketing channels. However, each have their pros and cons. So it is important to consider which one is the right choice for you.

To help you decide, the experts at SEO optimisers dig deep at these two popular marketing strategies.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the long-term process of preparing and promoting a website to get a high ranking in search engine results pages. 

The main goal of SEO is to create an easily accessible link between your website and the customers who are searching for information on the internet.

It may sound easy but SEO is a scientific process that requires a lot of patience. 

There is no specific formula for success because it depends on many factors such as the frequency of keyword usage, the popularity of your product and services, the competition you have, and your geographical reach.

Want to learn to do your own SEO? Check out the Talented Ladies Club SEO Kit.

What is paid advertising?

Paid advertising uses pay-per-click (PPC) networks to display ads on search engines and other publisher sites. 

The main goal of this type of campaign is to get new customers by driving traffic to your product landing page or other designated web pages via advertisements. 

There are many PPC networks such as Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads that you can use to run paid ads for your product or service.

What’s the difference between SEO and paid advertising?

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about the differences between SEO and PPC. To clear up some of that confusion, we’ve outlined how each one works and how to decide which is right for your business.

Treat SEO and PPC as two sides of the same coin. They share many similarities but can be quite different depending on how you implement them. 

For example, both SEO and PPC use keywords to target people looking for your product or service. 

But in SEO, keywords are found naturally in your site’s content—for example, when you write a blog post or create a piece of original content like an infographic. 

In PPC, however, keywords are bought based on bidding strategies—the company with the highest bid gets the most prominent placement on SERPs (search engine results pages).

Also, with SEO, you have no control over where your site will appear on SERPs—its placement is determined entirely by how well it ranks for the keywords related to your business. 

With paid advertising, you can choose which keywords you want your site to appear for, which means it’s possible to place it wherever you’d like on SERPs. 

SEO versus paid advertising – who wins?

The whole idea of SEO is to get visibility through search engines, which is a passive form of marketing. 

You are essentially advertising your website to people in the market for the product or service you offer, meaning that you are not paying to advertise directly to potential customers but relying on them to find you. 

This is a good thing as it lowers costs and lets you focus on quality content and keyword analysis. 

Paid advertising, like PPC (Pay Per Click), on the other hand, means that you pay every time someone clicks on your link and visits your site. 

Usually, this involves bidding against other companies for placement in search results.

A significant advantage of SEO is that it can bring in high volumes of traffic, if done correctly, without hefty costs. 

The disadvantage is that it will take time before you start seeing any substantial results, and there is no guarantee that those results will be what you were hoping for. 

In contrast, paid advertising tends to be more instant and gives you direct control over where your ads show up and how much they cost, but with that comes higher costs.

On the whole, SEO wins out since it can give you greater control over marketing efforts at a lower cost, but if you need immediate visibility, then paying to advertise may be the better option.

Which one is best for you?

Like many other digital marketing methods, it’s critical to employ multiple tactics in your search marketing strategy if you want to get the most out of it. 

Seo and paid advertising provide a different set of tools that let you accomplish similar objectives in different ways. 

By thinking creatively, you can succeed at an affordable price tag by using both approaches together. Which one is better? That’s up to you to decide.

Brandon Leibowitz is the founder of SEO Optimizers, a Digital Marketing Agency in Los Angeles, California. He is also the founder of, a social media news log. He has been involved with search engine optimization and internet marketing since 2007.