PPC versus SEO – The ultimate showdown (or why PPC is clearly king)

Want website traffic? Then you really have two options on the table – Pay-Per-Click advertising or Search Engine Optimisation. Let’s nail our colours to the mast here – there are many compelling reasons why you should choose PPC over and above SEO, however this topic is one that’s hotly debated and has been the subject to much controversy over the years. So here are eight ways in which PPC kicks SEO to kerb when it comes to digital visitors driven to your digital door and guided through your sales process.

1. PPC provides instant leads, sales or enquiries
Who doesn’t want instantaneous leads and sales? When you choose PPC, the only time you need wait until your advertising campaign is live and launched, is the time it takes to write your ads, configure AdWords and await approval (which can take between 24 to 72 hours).

2. PPC places you in the driving seat
When you rely on SEO, you can think of Google as the almighty marketing God – who fully controls your visitor’s experience and what content may be served up for the more obscure of searches.
In contrast, PPC provides you with superfine control over your advertising campaign – it allows you to define your advert copy, decide on your landing pages, choose which keywords you target (and also which you want to avoid, with negative key terms) and allows you to choose how visible your brand is. This is really just the start of your options when it comes to PPC, and we could honestly fill an entire eBook on this topic alone.

3. PPC offers superfast feedback
When you set off on an SEO expedition, you must commit to your strategy for the long-term – creating content and then waiting (and waiting) for it to get picked up to score some points with Google. It could easily be between 6 to 12 months before you know with any degree of certainty whether your efforts are positively reflecting on your bottom line.
On the flip side, PPC allows you to analyse plenty of data instantly – allowing for you to tweak your campaign and undertake A/B testing which can continually improve your results week in, week out.

4. PPC provides you with superstar customer service
With SEO, it can often feel as though Google is the enemy, whereas with PPC, the Google Customer Services Team are rightly at your disposal – there for answering questions and providing support in order to fulfil your objective – which is winning customers through their platform.

5. PPC offers far higher conversion rates
Visitors who arrive at your site via PPC are far more likely to convert – putting this into figures, PPC visitors transform into revenue 1.5x times more often than those who arrive by SEO (these are known as ‘high intent searches’). This figure becomes all the higher for adverts that are highly optimised, targeted and repeatedly reviewed in terms of the results that they’re achieving and why.

6. PPC can seamlessly fit in with your sales funnel
The neigh-sayers of PPC, or at least those who champion SEO above PPC, sometimes (misleadingly) argue that SEO is critical for consumer education – for providing the information along the sales journey to inform, guide and eventually spur the customer onto action once they have enough knowledge.
However PPC is also critical for this process, and there’s no better example than leading visitors to carefully designed landing pages to download a free guide in exchange for an email. These email addresses then go on to feed into your sales funnel, for graduated content delivered direct to your target market’s inbox.
In summary, PPC is pretty darn important if you sell a product or service with a significant price tag that consumers tend to seek plenty of guidance and information about before moving ahead.

7. PPC ring-fences your business and protects it from Google Algorithm changes
If you’ve not heard a fair share of Google Algorithm update horror stories, then we’re not quite sure where you’ve been hiding, but let us bring you up to date: along with every new release of Google’s algorithm (which is, at the most basic level, a very long equation that decides where every website is placed in the search results) there are thousands of websites that report an almighty fall from grace. These websites may have been placed in number one position for numerous of their target key terms, and suddenly, overnight, they’re nowhere to be found. The impact of this can instantly destroy a business. Scary stuff indeed.
By comparison, PPC is a sure thing – there’s no guesswork, no hand ringing the night before an algorithm launch. While there are algorithms that apply in the world of AdWords, these are released far less often and Google provides plenty of guidance for preparing for the changes.

8. With PPC, you have a cast iron grip on your budget
SEO saps your time and can demand a huge budget (for professionally written content alone, you may be looking at £50+ per page). All of a sudden, some months down the road, you’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands, and may have seen little in return. In contrast PPC provides you with complete control over your budget – as you’re able to set a daily spending limit (down to the last penny). You can also pause your campaign any time you wish, whereas with an SEO agency, you may be tied into a contract.

9. PPC is becoming ever shinier in terms of the bells and whistles it provides
Google AdWords and other PPC adverting platforms are increasingly adding to the features that adverts benefit from – such as seller ratings, calls, sitelinks and app links. This can help you in grabbing more eyeballs and clicks over and above the organic results that are displayed below you.

While there’s certainly been plenty of debate around SEO versus PPC, we’d like to think that our case has been made for PPC. Think that the choice between the two is clear? Or have an advantage of your own to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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