SEO vs PPC: How to Use a Blended Search Marketing Strategy to Reach Customers

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click Marketing) are search marketing strategies that are essential elements of a digital marketing strategy to reach online customers. While the benefits of SEO vs PPC is often compared, both SEO and PPC are powerful search marketing methods to reach customers and increase leads, conversions and sales.

The primary difference between SEO and PPC is that SEO focuses on organic listings in the search engines while PPC focuses on paid search marketing. While each marketing strategy has its pros and cons, these search marketing strategies work best together in a blended approach to market your business.

What is Search Marketing?

Search marketing is an essential element of every digital marketing strategy. Search marketing is very important for a business to reach online customers on the search engines. Search engines are the most important source of new visitors to websites.

Why is Search Marketing Important?

Search marketing strategies such as SEO and PPC are essential to your digital marketing strategy to reach customers on search engines like Google and Microsoft Bing.

To illustrate the importance of online searches, here are some recent statistics from Smart Insights, Search Engine Statistics 2020:

• 81% of people search online for a product or service (Datareportal).
• 74% of people have made a purchase online.
• Google holds 70.38% of searches on desktop and 93.87% of the searches on mobile devices.
• Microsoft Bing and Baidu have a 10% share of the search market each.
• Mobile accounts for about 50.71% of the searches as of June 2019.
• In 2020, organic search (40%) and paid search (28%) accounted for 68% of all website traffic.
• The first 3 organic positions for non-branded search get 50% of the total click-throughs.

SEO vs PPC: What is the Difference?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization refers to the organic or “non-paid” listings on the search results pages like Google or Microsoft Bing. PPC or Pay-per-Click advertising refers to the paid search ads on the search engines that are shown at the top and bottom of the search results for a relevant search.

Search Results Page on Google with PPC, Local Pack and SEO Listings

Here is an example of a Google search results page for an online search for “opticians near me”. The listings shown have been chosen by Google as most relevant to the search terms.

The PPC or paid search ads are typically shown at the top and bottom of the page and marked with “Ad”. The PPC ads are followed by the local business listings or “local pack” which lists 3 businesses near the searcher’s location. The local listings are followed by the organic SEO listings.

seo vs ppc search marketing, Google search results page

Factors to Consider in Selecting A Search Marketing Strategy

Before you select a search marketing strategy for your business, or consider SEO vs PPC strategies, you will need to consider several factors in your marketing plan.

1. Primary marketing goals: What are your marketing goals? Do you want to increase leads, traffic, brand awareness, phone calls, store visits, sales, newsletter signups or other types of conversions?
2. Target customers: Who are your target customers? What are their demographics? Where are they located?
3. Budget: Do you have a healthy advertising budget or a limited budget?
4. Timeframe: How long can you wait to realize your marketing goals? Do you have to reach customers quickly or do you have a longer time frame?
5. Industry: Which industry are you in? Are you in a specific niche?
6. Competition: how competitive is your industry? Which marketing methods are your competitors using to reach customers?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization is a marketing strategy of optimizing websites and website content to improve their organic search rankings in the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization helps your website to rank in the top pages of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user performs an online search with keywords that are relevant to your business. When the user clicks on your website listing in the search engine results pages, they will be sent directly to your website.

SEO is not a simple or quick marketing strategy. SEO optimization is complex. It requires time, consistent effort and SEO expertise.

There are over 200 search algorithms used by Google to rank websites. These search algorithms are constantly changing. Search listings are also very competitive. There are millions of listings competing for the top pages of Google. Without SEO optimization, your website will not rank in the top pages of the Google search results.

Pros of SEO

1. SEO Improves Search Rankings
There is intense competition for search rankings. Your website needs to be SEO-optimized to come up in the top pages of Google search results for your keywords so that people can find you when they search online for your products or services.

2. SEO is More Cost-effective Than Other Marketing Methods
SEO helps to increase organic traffic from the search engines. While the clicks to your website are free, SEO is not free. You will need to pay for an SEO expert to optimize your website and write fresh content regularly. SEO is still less expensive and helps to increase ROI as compared to more expensive print and TV advertising.

3. SEO Helps You Attract Targeted Traffic from the Search Engines
SEO optimization of your website uses search keywords which are relevant to your business. Only users who are searching online with these keywords will see your website listings on the search results. For a local business, local SEO helps to attract customers in your local area. This targeted traffic increases conversions, leads and sales.

4. SEO Builds Brand Awareness & Trust
SEO helps your website to rank in the top pages of Google. This helps to build brand awareness, visibility and trust with your target visitors.

5. SEO Results are Long Term
SEO results take time and consistent effort but the results are long term and grow with time.

Cons of SEO

1. SEO is Very Competitive
SEO is very competitive because there are millions of websites competing for every keyword. Every website wants to rank in the top pages of Google since they dominate the search market.

2. SEO Rankings Take Time
Once your website is optimized for SEO, it will take a few months for Google to crawl and index the website and for the site to start ranking on Google. Most websites begin to rank in about 4-6 months. It can take longer to rank for highly competitive keywords or in highly competitive industries.

3. SEO Requires Consistent Effort & Expense
SEO is not a one-time effort. Search Engine Optimization requires consistent effort & expense because search algorithms are constantly changing. An SEO expert will need to continually optimize your website, create new content and blog posts, and build new links. Also, your competition is continually improving their own search rankings to move up into the top pages.

PPC (Pay Per Click Marketing)

What is PPC?

Google Ads PPC advertising is a pay-per-click advertising service provided by Google. Using Google Ads, businesses can run paid search ads on Google’s search results pages.

Google Ads is powered by keywords. Google Ads are shown at the top and bottom of the Google search results pages for a relevant search. Google uses an Ad auction to determine which advertisers’ ads to show for a specific search.

To use Google PPC Ads, you have to open a Google Ads account with Google. Since it is Pay-Per-Click advertising, you pay Google only when a customer clicks on your Google Ads. You are not charged for the ad impressions or the number of times the ads are shown to customers on Google search.

Pros of PPC

1. PPC Ads are less competitive than SEO.
Since it is paid search marketing, and requires an advertising budget, Google Ads is less competitive than SEO. You can have PPC Ads run on the top pages of Google for keywords relevant to your products and services.

2. PPC Advertising is Quick to Show on Google.
Once a Google Ads PPC campaign is set up and approved by Google, your PPC Ads can be shown on the top page of Google very quickly within a few days. However, your Ads do have to compete with other Ads in the same Ad auction and meet certain minimum Ad Rank thresholds to be shown on Google.

3. PPC Ads Allows You to Control the Ad Message.
Google Ads allows you to control the Ad message and make changes to the ads as needed. Google Ads is based on keywords and is shown on Google Search only when the right keywords are used to search online. With PPC Ads, you can run ad extensions so that customers can call you directly from the Ads; look up directions to your business; click directly through to specific pages on your site; or view your latest promotions.

4. PPC Ads Provides Precise Targeting methods.
With Google Ads, you have several targeting options. You can show Ads to your target customers based on keywords, device, geographic locations, demographics and at specific times and days. You can also target customers who have visited your site previously. This level of precise targeting is not available with SEO.

5. PPC Ads provides many tools to improve performance.
With Google Ads, you have many tools to track performance including clicks, impressions, CTR, CPC, conversions and more. You can also change your existing marketing strategy with new ads, new campaigns and quickly make changes to improve performance.

Cons of PPC

1. Google Ads Requires an Advertising Budget.
Google Ads is pay per click marketing. You are charged when people click on your ads. Depending on your industry, the cost per click of some keywords can be very expensive. You have to allocate a reasonable budget for Google Ads advertising.

2. Google Ads Requires Expert PPC Management.
Since PPC marketing is complex, you will need the help of a PPC manager to set up and manage your PPC campaigns for optimum performance and reduced costs.

3. Google Ads provides short-term results. Google Ads provides marketing results as long as you run the Ads. Once the Ads are stopped, you will no longer receive traffic from Google Ads.

How SEO and PPC Marketing Strategies Should be Combined for Optimum Marketing Results

While the pros and cons of SEO vs PPC is often compared, SEO and PPC work best as an integrated approach to increase leads, conversions and traffic from the search engines.

Don’t Lose Time: Since SEO optimization takes 4 to 6 months for your website to rank on Google, it is best to start with a Google Ads PPC advertising campaign. PPC will help to build traffic and leads to your website while the website is being indexed for SEO. Meanwhile, you should begin SEO optimization of your website so that it is indexed by the search engines. Once the website begins to rank on the top pages of the search engines with SEO, you can reduce or change your PPC advertising campaign.

Increase Traffic & Ranking Opportunities: Since targeting competitive keywords is more expensive on Google Ads, you can use SEO optimization to target those keywords in your website content. This helps to increase the keywords that are being targeted and gives your website more chances to rank for more keywords.

Use Precise Targeting Options: A Google Ads PPC campaign has precise targeting options that SEO does not have. Continuing your PPC Ads along with your SEO efforts after your website begins to rank with SEO, enables you to use the targeting options provided by Google Ads to target customers more precisely based on device, location and demographics such as age, gender, income and education.

Increase Branding & Visibility: Having your PPC ads shown on the same page as your organic SEO rankings can help your business increase brand recognition, visibility and trust with customers.

Optimize Your Local SEO : Even with SEO and PPC running together, it is important to optimize your Google My Business profile to improve your business presence for local SEO. Your business may get featured in the local pack also thus increasing your local branding presence even more.


While the benefits of SEO vs PPC strategies are often compared, both SEO and PPC are very effective search marketing strategies that should be an essential part of your digital marketing strategy. Each search marketing strategy works in different ways to bring in leads, conversions and sales.

Why decide between SEO vs PPC? A combined strategy of using both SEO and PPC together in your marketing mix will provide the best long-term marketing results for your business.


1. Smart Insights Search Engine Marketing Statistics, 2020

Need Help with Digital Marketing?

Gold Mango Design LLC. helps small and medium businesses build a strong online brand and increase leads with digital marketing services. Our digital marketing services include Google Ads PPC (Pay per Click) Marketing & Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Local SEO, Mobile-Friendly Web Design & Web Development, Analytics, Digital Marketing consulting and more. We are located in Plano, TX right outside Dallas and serve customers in the US. Contact us at

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