SEO vs. PPC: Which Is Better?

Traffic is what keeps a website going. Among the many users viewing your business website lies a small number of potential customers who are actually going to pay for your products and services.

This brings us to one of the most commonly explored debates - SEO or PPC, which is better? Both strategies offer distinctive advantages and cater to different aspects of the consumer journey. Determining which of these marketing techniques is more suitable for your business can pose a significant challenge.

Table of contents

What is SEO?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is all about using strategies to make a website more visible and get a better spot in search engine ranking results. The main goal of SEO is to attract more organic traffic to a website. It involves tweaking various elements on and off the site that search engines consider when deciding how relevant and good a web page is.

When done well, SEO can push your business higher up in search results on big search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

A fun fact about SEO is that it is primarily centered around Google compared to others such as Bing and Yahoo, mainly because the former holds as much as 92.47% of the whole search engine market share.

What is PPC?

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an internet advertising approach where businesses pay to showcase their ads on Google's first search results page. Among the most common PPC formats are paid search ads, followed by banner ads in display advertising. The key advantage of PPC is the ability to attract interested individuals ready to make a purchase or take action.

The expenses for PPC ads may fluctuate based on your industry or the search frequency of the keywords you're focusing on.

The basics of SEO

Before we navigate the key differences between SEO and PPC, let’s get our basics right. Below are a few fundamental concepts of SEO that every marketer must be aware of. 

There are primarily five main steps included in SEO. Those include:

Keyword research 

Keyword research is a crucial aspect of the SEO process. It involves pinpointing the words and phrases individuals are expected to use when seeking a specific product or service. By compiling a comprehensive list of these keywords, marketers can develop content that draws in greater amounts of valuable traffic to their company's website.

Content creation

Creating content involves producing exceptional, relevant, and valuable material. Search engines like Google aim to provide the most suitable content to their users. So, if your content is top-notch, it's more likely to rank higher in those search results.

On-page SEO

It involves optimizing individual pages on your business website. It includes a wide range of crucial tasks such as using descriptive and keyword-rich titles, creating unique meta descriptions, using headers, and overall having a clean URL structure. 

Link building

Link building is all about building trust and authority from other websites. Quality backlinks from reputable websites carry the potential to improve your site’s authority and ranking in search engine results. 

Technical SEO

Lastly comes technical SEO, which, although requiring a bit of technical know-how, is extremely crucial for a solid foundation that supports your overall SEO efforts. It is primarily focused on the backend elements of a website that contribute to its search engine visibility. Such include website speed, mobile optimization, site architecture, crawlability, and site security, among others. 

Note that SEO is an ongoing process, meaning it takes time to see significant results. The key is to stay consistent and patient in your SEO efforts to see impactful results. 

The basics of PPC

Similar to Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) includes various vital parts and strategies. Let's explore a couple of these crucial elements to grasp their importance and how they affect digital marketing strategies.

PPC bidding 

As mentioned earlier, PPC ads appear on search engines and social media platforms. In a typical scenario, businesses express to search engines such as Google how much they are willing to pay or contribute to pay for a click-on ad and subsequent visit to their website. From many options, Google then decides on the business willing to pay the most and lets its ads be displayed on top of the search engine results. 


Businesses choose a set of diverse keywords, all associated with their product or service. When users look up these specific keywords on search engines, the ads related to these terms appear on the search engine results page.

PPC landing pages

When you click on a PPC ad, the page you see is called the PPC landing page. It's crucial for marketers to craft landing pages that match the ad content and offer a smooth experience for users. A finely tuned landing page has the power to boost the quality score of your ad.

Ad extensions 

Ad extensions are also often used to provide additional information in ads, which might include links to specific pages, contact information, or additional site links. This helps to enhance the visibility and appeal of the ads.

As apparent from these elements, PPC is a dynamic and data-driven advertising method that requires continuous monitoring, analysis, and optimization. Only then can you run successful PPC campaigns.

How is SEO different from PPC?

Having grasped the fundamental concepts of both SEO and PPC, let's now dive into the various distinguishing factors between these two strategies.

SEO typically tends to have lower ongoing costs, although it requires significant upfront investment in time and resources.  PPC involves immediate costs, and the budget determines the number of clicks or impressions. 
SEO takes time (sometimes amounting to months) to show prominent results, especially if your website is new. You can see significant results from PPC campaigns within just a few hours.
Search engine algorithms change quite frequently, which can significantly impact your rankings. PPC offers more control over ad placement, targeting, and budget.
SEO provides long-term results, meaning if your page ranks well, it can continue to attract organic traffic. PPC campaigns are short-term, meaning they stop generating traffic when the advertising budget is exhausted.

Which is better for my business?

Many businesses find success in combining both SEO and PPC to create a comprehensive marketing strategy. It allows them to capture both organic and paid traffic, thereby maximizing the online visibility of their business. 

However, if your budget is limited and you cannot manage to invest in both methods, assess which one holds greater significance for your business model.

Although Pay-Per-Click (PPC) can yield prompt outcomes when your ads are well-optimized, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tends to be more enduring and steadily attracts organic traffic with time.

Let’s say you are selling products and services that people are actively looking for in the online domain. In such a case, opting for organic traffic, as in SEO, can be a smart decision. 

However, if your offerings are unique, which people might not always look for online, then PPC can be your best bet.

Final thoughts

In the perpetual debate of SEO vs. PPC, the choice between the two ultimately depends on specific business goals, budget, and the desired timeline for results. SEO provides sustainable, organic growth, while PPC offers immediate visibility and control. Ultimately, the answer to which is better rests on a nuanced understanding of your business needs and how each strategy aligns with those requirements.

While this is a never-ending debate, leveraging the right assistance for your on-page SEO can be an exceptional way to fuel your web traffic. 

Frequently asked questions

 Is Webflow SEO friendly?

Yes, Webflow stands out as an exceptional choice for SEO and provides a wide range of features that support Search Engine Optimization. For example, Webflow generates clean and semantically structured HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. This is especially important for search engines to easily crawl and index your website. 

How can I optimize my website for better SEO in Webflow? 

Some of the ways to optimize your website for better SEO in Webflow include adding SEO titles and meta descriptions to all pages, providing alt texts for all pages, setting up proper URL structures, using proper header tags, and integrating Google Search Console to Webflow, among others. 

What are the main differences between SEO and PPC?

SEO and PPC are two distinct digital marketing strategies that come alongside their own set of unique characteristics. For example, while SEO generates organic traffic from search engine results, PPC drives paid traffic through advertisements for which marketers pay a fee when users click on them. In addition to this, SEO takes time to show results, often months, whereas PPC offers immediate visibility.


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