Pay Per Click vs. Search Engine Optimization



Arguably the two most effective methods to gain website traffic are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click). For many online businesses looking for visibility, the choice between investing in SEO and PPC is often one of the first decisions they’ll make. The following blog post from Firestarter SEO will look to explain the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of optimizing a website through various means in order to facilitate more organic web traffic to that specific site. SEO is done by focusing on three specific pillars. The three core pillars are On-Site Optimization (AKA Technical SEO), Off-Site Optimization (AKA Link Building), and Content. When considering these pillars, It’s important to understand that these actions take time to complete but ultimately will lead to more traffic and higher search engine rankings. Thus, SEO should be seen as a long term investment and significant website traffic will typically begin being noticed after 4-6 months.


  • Sustained, organic web traffic in the long term
  • Creates a highly attractive, crawlable website 
  • More volume at better cost per lead than paid search


  • Low increase in web traffic in short term
  • No real guarantee it will be effective
  • Can be costly in the long term

What is PPC?

PPC campaigns can be a highly effective way of quickly garnering attention to your website via paid ads on Google. When compared to SEO, you can think of PPC as an instant jolt of energy to a site when managed properly. PPC campaigns can be highly beneficial in that the targeted ads produced by them are always the first links to be seen on a search results page. As a result, these links are clicked very frequently and ultimately drive more traffic to the website being featured. 


  • Immediate jump in web traffic 
  • Immediate jump in leads 
  • Increased brand visibility


  • Unsustainable web traffic in the long term
  • Can be expensive; costs quickly add up

Which is Better?

There’s really no correct answer as to which option is better. Instead, when considering which one to go with, it’s best to consider the situation. For example; do you need leads now? If so, run a PPC campaign focusing on lead production on your site. Are you looking to organically increase traffic to your website while at the same time growing your overall business in the long term? If so, consider investing in an SEO campaign. It should also be mentioned that both SEO and PPC can be very effectively run together. Some benefits of running the two together are:

  • Excellent data from PPC can help identify proper keywords to use in an SEO campaign
  • Ability to test keywords before incorporating them into an SEO campaign
  • Confidence that your site is getting the most attention possible by combining both PPC and SEO campaigns

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