Which should I choose – SEO or PPC?


We all know that search engines are important. The world’s number one search engine is even a verb and that search engine receives at least 2 trillion searches per year. You can check your analytics package to find out how important search engines are to your site, but its likely to be high.

And we all know that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and search engine advertising (or Pay per Click [PPC] advertising) are important too, but which one should I use over the other? What are the key differences? I hope this quick guide can help.

Search Engine Optimisation:

  • Long-term investment
  • Continuous project
  • Good ranking suggests credibility
  • ‘Owning’ your front page offers PR benefits
  • At the mercy of algorithm changes
  • Can add SEO value without spending any money
  • Can be difficult to make progress against well-established competitors with large budgets

Pay Per Click Advertising:

  • Short-term spend
  • Campaign-based (normally)
  • Always needs a budget
  • Less reliant on regular algorithm changes
  • Full control of budget
  • Guaranteed presence on the front page of Google (although the right hand column should be avoided, it has an awful click through)

In most situations, certainly in the longer term, the best solution is probably to use a combination of both SEO and PPC. For the more consistent parts of your business, you should focus on SEO, but for the more short-term, tactical and promotional activities, PPC should receive more attention.


Image via swisspeaks.org

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