The main difference between ranking when comparing PPC vs SEO is that with PPC, you're not actually ranking. You may be getting in front of your target demographic, but you are not ranking. You are essentially paying for a spot in the limelight, but you aren't actually there. Getting organic traffic and ranking highly in Google is the handiwork of a solid SEO campaign and SEO professionals.
PPC & SEO
So there are common disadvantages that both PPC and SEO share. For starters, both are very pricey ($500-$10,000+/month). With either option, you'll need to dedicate at least 6-months or more. With PPC, your results are immediate. With search engine optimization, you'll start seeing the best results after around 6-months in the campaign, and it will only get better as time goes on. However, you can easily end your campaign after about a year and a half. Ending your SEO campaign at that point will ensure you are still able to bring in a lot of traffic for months or years to come (depending on how competitive your industry is).
The main difference between PPC and search engine optimization is that with SEO, you rank for your keywords, while with PPC, you are paying to advertise your website. With PPC, you are not ranking for any keyword you target. You are paying Google to show up in the SERPs, and once you stop paying, you'll stop showing up. With PPC, you cannot get any organic traffic. You can only get paid traffic.
Organic traffic is any user that ends up on your website without advertising. If your website ranks for a specific query or phrase, and a user googles that query or phrase and finds and clicks through to your website, that user is an example of organic traffic. The quality content that has caused Google to rank you for that specific query or phrase is why you rank and receive visitors without any advertisement. That is what organic traffic is. It only comes about when you have quality content, and that content shows up in Google. PPC cannot give you organic traffic, but SEO can. Organic traffic is the main benefit of SEO because it is the traffic you cannot buy. You earn it through strategy, research, and execution.
PPC Vs SEO
There is a great benefit to investing in pay per click at the proper time. PPC will ensure you get in front of potential customers, and it's an awesome tool to drive more sales to your website. You can use PPC to not only get in front of your target demographic, but you can get in front of them on several pages of the SERPs all at once.
PPC is also a method that shows immediate results. You can start your PPC campaign and immediately show up in the SERPs and get clicks. When it comes to pay per click vs. SEO, the immediate results you get with PPC cannot be replicated with SEO, period. So in that regard, pay per click definitely steals the show. If you are a small business, a new business, or need sales yesterday, PPC is better. But, PPC is only better for short-term victory.
However, a few disadvantages of PPC are as follows. PPC cannot bring you organic traffic. That is something that only search engine optimization can gift you. Depending on the keyword, traffic can cost 2-8 times more with pay per click than SEO. Not only that, but If you are serious about building your business, SEO is the only one of the two that will improve your conversion rates. With pay per click, you don't need to improve or change a thing on your website for it to work, while SEO constantly improves and optimizes your website.
SEO is much slower than pay per click. You can invest between 3-6 months before seeing the results PPC can get you. However, the main difference is that the results SEO gets you are yours to keep. You don't have to keep paying for them. If you need to end your campaign for whatever reason, the quality content your search engine optimization has created on your website will remain, and so will your rankings and organic traffic.
To succeed in search engine optimization, you need to have a few essential things. You need to create quality content consistently. But that content also needs to be optimized. Not only for search but arguably more importantly for the CTR (click-through rate). Click-through rate is the rate at which users see your listing and decide to click on it.
SEO not only optimizes you to show up in the SERPs, but it also optimizes you to improve various metrics that guarantee you're likely to see more sales. Even if you have the most optimized content that ranks #1 immediately - in time - you'll fall off the first page if your on-page metrics are poor.
When Comparing PPC vs SEO - SEO Wins
SEO - while much slower than pay per click - is the winner in the long term. SEO is much more sustainable, and it optimizes not only your website for search but also for conversions. Specific metrics Google prioritizes for ranking include how users interact with your website. If more people are converting to sales, returning to your website, or sharing your website than your competitors, you will rank higher - assuming everyone involved is comparably optimized for search.
SEO is about more than just creating quality content. It is also about the perception and experience of the user. The primary goal of search engine optimization is to create content that both Google and the user want to see. In achieving both, you'll rank higher and gain more customers. With pay per click, you can easily waste your money if your website hasn't been properly optimized to convert users into customers. If not optimized for conversions before your pay per click campaign, while you'll be getting in front of potential clients, you may never convert any of them, effectively wasting your money on the PPC campaign. With search engine optimization, your SEO expert will improve your conversion rate, or they'll be unable to rank you. You will automatically increase the chances your users will convert into customers with an SEO campaign.
So now that you understand the primary differences and similarities between pay per click and search engine optimization, feel free to check out our other SEO articles to learn more. We have articles about the biggest mistakes in SEO, and even an article about how to use keywords in SEO! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you!