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Like Wilder vs. Fury, the battle between SEO and PPC leaves everyone in the marketing world on the edge of their seats. Both have strength in their corner and the winner is anyone’s guess. But, you need to know who to hedge your bets on to ensure returns on the day. 

Unfortunately, whether you’re versed in marketing musts or are fresh to the field, this can be a surprisingly tricky conundrum to solve. After all, we’re all told that search engines matter (logically, with around 93% of all marketing traffic coming from this outlet) – we just aren’t told how best to utilise them. 

Of course, we’re not in the market for misleading anyone so we’ll tell you now – there is no right answer here. We can’t point you towards the perfect marketing solution at long last because that all depends on who you are, what you’re working with, and who you’re trying to attract. Luckily, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to leave you in the lurch. Instead, we’re going to take a deep dive into all things SEO and PPC to give you the facts, stats, and knowledge to understand which search-based path will finally take you to your true marketing desire. 

What is SEO anyway?

SEO is one of the most invaluable marketing tools of our age because it doesn’t cost a penny (though it might take some time…) to get right. And yet, it offers ROIs as high as 1,031% for sectors like financial services, with equally impressive come-backs pretty much evident across the board. 

But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, we need to consider what SEO actually is. As the name suggests, this is the process of optimising your online content, webpage, etc. to rank more highly on search engines like Google and Bing. Broadly speaking, SEO will include a wide range of focuses such as – 

  • Keywords
  • On-page optimisation
  • Images
  • Backlinks
  • Title tags and metatags
  • Regularly updated content
  • Off-page optimisation (e.g. guest blogging, linked brand mentions, etc.)
  • And more

Done right, SEO should ensure that brand searches present your online platforms at every stage of their customer journey, including the organic interest famed for driving as much as 53% of all trackable website traffic

The benefits of SEO

As mentioned above, SEO plays a crucial role in affordable traffic creation overall, but let us take the time to look more specifically at the benefits you stand to see from getting stuck in here or alternatively letting a well-versed professional do so for you. 

  1. High profitability: As touched on, the free but productive nature of SEO makes it a highly profitable focus, not just because it drives vast swathes of organic traffic, but also because it’s been found to improve endlessly lucrative customer lifetime value (CLV).
  2. Credibility and trust: Ranking in Google’s top three is like a seal of approval from the best reviewer in the world, and can increase consumer trust, and credibility-based conversions by as much as 32%.
  3. Sustainability: Unlike paid marketing drives, SEO is the gift that keeps on giving. Admittedly, you will need to keep a close eye on Google updates that can shift the SEO landscape, but generally speaking, good content done well will provide a competitive advantage for potentially years to come.

Who should use SEO?

In theory, SEO is essential for everyone, but there are certainly people who can benefit that bit more by getting this right. For example, the long time frame of SEO often means that startups shouldn’t put all their eggs in this basket, while well-established companies with an existing consumer base and a marketing history to lean on could well focus solely on this and still see pretty decent profitability coming their way.

So, what is PPC?

Short for pay-per-click, PPC is the other side of the search engine coin, and provides targeted visibility through the placement of links or pictures in the sponsored search spots that you see at the top and side of the search engine (or, increasingly, social platform) of your choice. Clicked by around 65% of consumers, these placements always pique even popular organic searches to the post based predominantly on relevant keyword criteria. As the name suggests, these campaigns work on a per-click basis, meaning that marketers pay around $1-2 per click that these placements receive. 

The benefits of PPC

As touched on, PPC is great news because it guarantees higher search listings without necessarily requiring all the time or hard work that SEO entails. Instead, even companies with no online history can ensure paid traffic this way, as well as benefits that include – 

  1. Near-immediate results: Research is obviously still necessary here, but the ability to launch and see results from PPC campaigns in real-time can lead to almost immediate conversions.
  2. Laser-targeted visibility: Unlike an organic search that relies on pretty loose keywords, etc., PPC makes it possible to play around with more granular targeting that considers things like demographics, geography, etc. to broaden search categories. 
  3. Trackable ROIs: Organic traffic is largely untraceable, but PPC campaigns through trusted platforms like Google Ads provide invaluable analytics to better determine consumer habits, behaviours, and preferences for increased conversions later on.

Who should use PPC?

Again, PPC does offer universal benefits, but the potentially excessive costs possible for popular businesses here also make this a more feasible option for new and small businesses looking to expand their consumer base and their understanding of it. Industries with high lifetime values, such as healthcare or utility providers, may also find that overall ROI makes PPC more than worthwhile in the long run. 

Let the experts decide for you

Whichever marketing route you choose to go down, an expert approach can make a huge difference to the long-term benefits that you stand to see here. So, put the SEO vs PPC battle to bed for good by getting in touch with our pro team here at Mass Appeal, and letting the UK’s fastest-growing digital marketing agency decide what your campaigns truly need to shine on search engines at last.