SEO VS PPC – The Ultimate Marketing Strategy Smackdown

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Are you ready to rumble?

We sure hope you are because you’ve just earned yourself a front row seat to the greatest marketing strategy slobber-knocker of all time. That’s right: the main event this evening is SEO vs PPC!

Before that bell rings, let’s be real. Allocating your budget between these two traffic-building champs can be tough, and you definitely don’t want to invest in the wrong one. That’s like cheering for Goliath over David, welcoming the costly destruction of your online presence in one fell swoop. For this reason, you need to consider the rivaling strengths and weaknesses of SEO and PPC and plan long-term for your budget booking. What better way to accomplish this feat than to watch them go head to head right now in the middle of the “scrolled circle?”

Let’s lay the smackdown.

In the Neutral Corner: SEO

Introducing first, fighting out of the neutral corner: SEO! Right away, we’re sure you’re wondering if there is any meaning behind the “neutral corner;” of course there is! 

SEO, or search engine optimization, is an organic method of enhancing your position in populated search engine results. It doesn’t directly cost you any money (hence the neutral corner), instead focusing on relevant content creation. This keyword heavy content that you create is then crawled by search engine spiders (yes, they are really called that!) and is ranked accordingly. We know what you’re thinking:

“So basically I’m just writing for Google?”

Despite popular belief, that is far from the truth. You can stuff your content with keywords galore; however, that will end up negatively affecting your SEO. You see, Google crawls content to see if it is relevant for certain keywords in addition to being helpful for humans. It determines if users will find your content valuable given their search. That means you want to hit the sweet spot between writing for Google and actual people. 

Who else do you think is responsible for providing you inbound links to up your “link authority” game? Living, breathing, content hunting creatures. For this reason, an SEO strategy requires content that is not only keyword rich, but meaningful to users as well in order to improve your search engine ranking This will make your content more visible to customers who are searching endlessly on the web. Sounds like a “Super Effective Option” right? And it’s basically free, unlike its pricier opponent . . . 

In the Green Corner: PPC

Introducing next, fighting out of the green corner: PPC! Before we go any further, yes, PPC is in the “green” corner because it costs money (clever, we know). 

PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising allows you to leverage search engine traffic by paying or bidding for keywords. This process can yield results quite quickly, yet comes with a cost. In a nutshell, you’re buying visitors or clicks from Google instead of creating a piece of content. However, it’s not as simple as picking some relevant keywords, taking out your credit card, and discovering increased traffic and conversions. 

PPC is almost an artform in itself! To effectively ignite traffic and convert customers, campaigns must target the right individuals (those customers who are looking for specific products and services) and at the right time (the very moment they need those products and services most). Choosing the keywords you want clicked requires a set strategy so you aren’t spending dollars on clicks that won’t amount to anything.

Hold up, we know what you’re thinking:

“So if each click costs $1 and my link gets clicked one million times, I owe $1,000,000?”

Essentially . . . yes.  However, before you start planning a bank robbery, let’s be realistic. The amount of clicks a campaign gets depends heavily on the budget and average CPC (cost per click) of the campaign. So unless you have a gigantic budget,your link won’t get clicked one million times, but the principal is still the same. If you get one hundred clicks, you’d be paying one hundred dollars. That may seem like you’re just throwing money away, but think about the leads you could generate as a result.

More clicks means more business. In fact, it’s safe to say that you’ll have the potential to make your money back and then some thanks to your search ads. For some small businesses, PPC can be a risky strategy. However, with the right research, PPC can be a surefire “Plan for Procuring Customers (and Cash!). See what we did there?

Now that you know the competitors, It’s finally time to see SEO VS PPC, head to head!

Ring the Bell!

Before these lead-building behemoths square up, let’s lay down the rules. We’re going to grapple with the 5 major components of a marketing strategy:

  • Position
  • Longevity
  • Traffic
  • Conversion
  • Cost

At the end of each round, we will consider which strategy has the advantage in that category. After the smoke clears and the crowd cheers, we will declare a winner between SEO VS PPC. So . . . now that we know the competitors and the rules, there is only one thing left to do:

Ring that bell and let’s get ready to rumble!  Ding, Ding, Ding!


First up is position. We’re talking about prime position in search results, baby!  This is exactly what you’re trying to accomplish right? Claim the coveted top spot on Google and generate loads of leads accordingly. 

When it comes to SEO VS PPC, the results depend on a variety of “key” factors including which keywords you’re targeting, the keywords in your copy, and the keywords on your landing pages. However, more often than not there is a visible winner between them. Don’t just take our word for it, let’s pop a keyword into Google and see what happens. We’ll search for “plumbers near me.” 

local service adsRight away, you notice the “sponsored” results at the top for “plumbers nearby.” These are Google Local Service Ads. They don’t show up for all types of businesses, as they require companies to undergo background checkers and other screening measures. Local Service Ads provide a safer alternative to the riskier PPC. 

They operate on a “pay per lead” basis rather than “pay per click” (PPC). So instead of paying for clicks from people who may very well decide that they aren’t interested in your services (rude!), you only pay for qualified leads. By using Local Service Ads, you are minimizing the financial risk involved with PPC campaigns while maximizing your budget. The more you know right?

Back to the example: if you look at the search result below them, you’ll find a Google Ad. This type of text-based ad runs on a similar PPC model. They run based on keywords added to the campaign and do not require a verification process like Local Service Ads.

Where is SEO?

On the current screen, only paid advertisements are visible. It’s not until you scroll down past the map and “people also ask” sections that you run into SEO-driven results. 

near me seoClearly, the rest of the results feature brands that have targeted the “plumbers near me” keyword. Most of them are services that showcase “the best plumbers” in the area. However, at the bottom, we find an actual plumbing company! 

We checked out their website and they have tons of content on all things plumbing. They are undoubtedly utilizing SEO in an effort to improve their search ranking position; yet these efforts are evidently futile compared to those companies using PPC. Yes, SEO can get you first page positions if your website is optimally optimized (you like that?), but if competitors are spending top dollar on PPC, you may be SOL. 

But how long will their position power last? We’ll tackle this question right now and evaluate SEO VS PPC longevity.


Let’s start with an age old question:

Are you here for a good time or a long time?

Choosing between SEO VS PPC will definitely affect your answer. If you’re looking for long-lasting results, then SEO is the best option.

Building organic traffic and optimizing your site for SEO can maintain high search position rankings long after a PPC campaign comes to an end. This “search engine stability” is not a result of dollars spent on clicks, but instead creating consistent content and developing domain authority. However, it is important to consider that PPC requires quality content too. 

Consider the difference between stocking your home with fresh ingredients (or goods with high shelf lives) and getting takeout every night. Sure, the takeout will satisfy your hunger for the night (who doesn’t love Chinese?); but the cost to your wallet and health will certainly add up. Although preparing home cooked meals with natural ingredients may not provide instant gratification, it will feed you for a longer period of time and keep you fairly healthy – financially and physically. Do you get it?

SEO marketing strategies are objectively more sustainable than their PPC counterparts. Yes, PPC campaigns may provide more stable (and faster!) results in the moment while organic results can suffer from content turbulence; however, you’re looking at an improved ROI if you put the time and effort into an SEO campaign.

If the money dries up (we sure hope not!), at least your SEO work won’t dissipate with it. You won’t be able to say the same about the finicky faucet that is PPC. Once you turn it off, that means no more spending but also no more leads. You don’t want this to lead to no more business do you? 

There needs to be a better way . . . but first:


Let’s talk about traffic. Not the one we all hate experiencing on a Monday morning, but instead the traffic from search engines we all love!

Traffic is the number of visits to your website as a result of organic or paid strategies. With that said, SEO VS PPC puts two types in competition: organic traffic and paid traffic. Remember the neutral and green corners they are respectively fighting out of? 

Simply put: organic traffic is free while paid traffic is not. 

But which method brings in more? 

If you can manage to effectively rank your website for your coveted keywords, SEO will bring you in more traffic than PPC. Feeling skeptical? Here’s an example:

Imagine your website has secured one of the top 3 spots on Google (way to go!). If the search volume is decent enough, you can expect a steady surge of traffic without having to pay a dime.

On the other hand, if you pay for 100 clicks a day on your sponsored search result, you’ll definitely experience a swell of traffic during the extent of your PPC campaign. But when your campaign ends, you won’t have that same traffic built up to fall back on. Instead you’ll fall back to whatever paltry position you ranked for before. 

It was fun while it lasted, right?


The next SEO VS PPC head-to-head comes down to conversion. 

Conversions can culminate in a purchase, email submission, or any response to a CTA (call to action). It is our mission to generate leads and subsequent conversions through practicing the ultimate marketing strategy. But which one is that: SEO or PPC?

Like we determined in the previous section, SEO builds traffic better than PPC. However, when you consider the highly targeted nature of PPC, SEO may fall short when it comes to conversions. 

When you create content that is simply optimized for SEO, you are advertising to the general public who searches for a specific keyword. Conversely, PPC allows you to target customers using statistics such as time of day, geographic location, device, and visit history.

These laser-focused targeting techniques can make quite the difference in converting customers. Let’s consider another example.

Say you’re trying to reap results from the keyword “SEO VS PPC “ (a far-fetched idea right?). Applying SEO strategy will improve your ranking and help convert visitors who are searching for that specific keyword. 

Sounds pretty solid right?

But if you use PPC instead, you will be able to directly focus on visitors who may have visited your website before (perhaps searching for SEO and PPC related content), who previously searched for that keyword, and live in your market area. 

More focus =  more conversions. Trust us, the results will speak for themselves.


Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room: cost. Everything has a price! Whether you choose SEO or PPC as your marketing strategy champion, you will be spending time and or money getting results. We’ve touched on it during introductions, but let’s take a deeper dive into each costly component of SEO and PPC to determine if your investment will be worth it.


If time is money, SEO is going to cost you a whole lot of it. Creating high-quality keyword content is a time consuming task. In addition, competition can be quite high for every keyword you’re targeting, requiring a pretty intensive plan to crack the front page of Google. 

Do you like shortcuts

Well too bad, because SEO doesn’t include any. Developing the visibility you desire will take blood (okay maybe not blood), sweat, and tears (definitely!). However, at least it doesn’t take dollars. More on that soon, but first let’s take a look at PPC.

If you’re impatient like the rest of us, PPC may seem like the more attractive option. You can create an advertising campaign, develop a thorough strategy (perhaps with some experts), then boom: look who’s at the top of Google! This of course depends on a variety of factors including your campaign’s quality score, which requires a whole strategy in itself. 

In short, there is no faster way to get in front of potential customers at the very precipice of their purchase than implementing a PPC campaign. 

Once your bids are high enough to merit that priority placement you’re pining for, traffic will develop almost instantaneously. A surge of new visitors will cascade to your pages as a result. Clearly, when it comes to time spent, PPC takes the cake over SEO. But what about cash?


The fact of the matter is that PPC will cost you money while SEO won’t . . .at first glance. However, PPC does let you spend within a budget. You are able to set a fixed limit to how much dough you’re willing to spend in a day. That means if you want to spend a max of $100 dollars a day, and the CPC is $5, then you’ll only receive up to 20 clicks. Unless of course, Google doubles your daily budget on that given day.

You see, they have the right to spend double your daily budget. Google has all the knowledge of the world, remember? They will find that certain days are better for clicks and conversions than others and take advantage of that. However, they will never spend more than your allotted monthly budget.

See how PPC can exponentially add up? You don’t want to miss any opportunities to get in front of users’ eyes.

SEO VS PPC in terms of financial cost is clearly no contest. SEO is free, save for the cost of labor. You can generate traffic without spending an additional cent! And ultimately, as we will prove right now, SEO is far more cost effective and sustainable than it’s expensive adversary.

SEO VS PPC – The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For

After 5 (technically 7) rounds of head-to-head action, there can only be one victor. So your winner, and the ultimate marketing strategy smackdown champion  is. . . 

Wait . . it’s a tie?

Hold up. That can’t be right. Let’s review each round:

  • Position – PPC will provide you prime positioning.
  • Longevity – SEO will keep your success sustainable.
  • Traffic – SEO will secure you a steady surge of visitors.
  • Conversion – PPC will let you stay focused.
  • Cost – SEO will save you money, but PPC will save you time.

If our math is right, that means both SEO and PPC scored 3 victories which does indeed make it a tie. Now before you start demanding a refund, consider what this co-victory means.

Evidently, there are instances where SEO is a better option and there are other instances when PPC would be the better option. However, what about using SEO and PPC together? Would SEO and PPC be collectively the best option as opposed to SEO VS PPC

Well it’s safe to say that we are in for a treat. 

After battling back and forth, exchanging blood, sweat, cheers, and tears, the two main event challengers are teaming up for some tandem tag team action! Let’s ring that bell one more time.

Tag-Team Time!

ppc and seoTwo is better than one right? 

Taking advantage of both SEO and PPC’s individual strengths will better protect you from their respective weaknesses. In other words, if you’re working both strategies at once, you’ll have optimized content to fall back on thanks to SEO when your PPC campaign comes to an end. 

Never put all your eggs in one basket. This will set you up for frustration and disappointment if things ever go south.

First, use PPC to test which keywords convert the best (and get rapid results!). Then, use SEO to try ranking for those keywords.

Or, you may use PPC to promote high converting products / services when the budget allows. And when the budget is limited, return to using SEO.

The possibilities of paired SEO and PPC power are endless. Don’t believe us? Take a look at a bunch of the benefits below:

  • Increase traffic by targeting clicks with PPC and optimizing high performing keywords with SEO
  • Transfer high-cost or low-converting keywords from PPC to SEO
  • Remarket visitors who have left your site using PPC and supply them with meaningful SEO content
  • A/B test ad and landing page copy with PPC and feed into your organic SEO listings and landing pages
  • Target users at all stages of the customer journey

No matter how you use them: PPC for an immediate traffic solution, SEO to build long-term growth, or pairing SEO and PPC together to rank for competitive keywords, target customers, and up your conversion rates, you will be able to market with confidence and acquire strong organic and paid visibility. 

Above all, stay away from thinking in terms of SEO VS PPC, instead exert your thoughts on how you can use SEO and PPC together to ensure a prime-positioning, long-lasting, traffic-building, high-converting, cost-effective marketing strategy (whew!).

Take our word for it: tandem offense is the best offense. Period.

Are You Ready to Utilize The Ultimate Marketing Strategy?

We sure hope you are because you’ve just watched the greatest marketing strategy smackdown of all time! You saw SEO VS PPC battle it out in a heated head-to-head over position, longevity, traffic, conversion, and cost. 

However, after the smoke cleared and the fans cheered, you realized that the true marketing strategy champion is . . . 

The marketer who uses SEO and PPC together.

We know what you’re thinking . . . and the answer is “yes:”  YOU could be the ultimate marketing strategy champion!

Unsure how to develop a tandem SEO and PPC marketing strategy for success? Don’t think you have what it takes to be champ? We’ve got you covered.

Creative Click Media is here to help you shake off that ring rust and score the marketing victories your business deserves. Together, we will develop a knock-out SEO and PPC plan that will leave your competitors pinned in the middle of the ring. With that said, only one question remains:

Are you ready? 

I don’t think you heard us . . . We said . . . 

Arrrrrrrrrrrre Yooooooooooooouuuuuuuuu Reeeeeaaaaaaddddddddy!?

If you are, reach out to us today to rise to the top of the card (and your targeted search engine rankings!). Our seasoned strategizers will provide you with the additional brain and brawn power you need to effectively market your business on the ever-evolving internet. 

Before you know it, you will be crowned the ultimate marketing strategy champion, laying the smackdown on all your competitors.

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