When you think about it, digital marketing boils down to two strategies: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay per Click (PPC) advertising. Which one is better for your business? The short answer is it depends.

The long answer is that both SEO and PPC are effective in marketing and you can achieve success with either of them. However, your choice depends on your goals, budget, and patience.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) describes the process of optimizing your website for search engine ranking. Let’s say you sell coffee makers and want to appear on the first page of Google. The steps needed to help you rank are what’s called SEO.

You can’t pay Google for an organic rank on its first page. You must work to do everything the search engine requires to rank businesses. Google checks over 100 signals to determine where your website should rank:

1. Page loading speed and security features

2. Domain age, URL, and authority

3. Links

4. Technical SEO

5. Optimized content

How long does it take to rank on search engines? Three months to one year—but it can take longer when ranking competitive keywords. Consulting an SEO agency like Netvikings can help you rank faster because they could analyze your website to determine what signals are ranking and find them for you.

What is PPC?

Pay-Per-Click is a type of advertising where you pay search engines like Google and Bing, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, or websites like Reddit and LinkedIn for clicks. Let’s say you have a new eCommerce site and need customers.

You can pay Google a specific amount of money in exchange for 1000, 5000, or 50,000 clicks to your website. It doesn’t matter who clicks and why they do it. You get charged for every click. To expound more, advertising platforms can help you target your campaigns accordingly.

For example, Google lets you choose whether to advertise on result pages or on popular websites. It also lets you target people based on their interests; income, location, and education level.

SEO Pros

There’s a reason why nearly every digital marketer recommends SEO. And that’s because of these benefits:

· SEO Builds Trust and Credibility

Many elements of SEO are aimed at building trust and credibility. A secure website shows people you care about their online safety. On the flip side, quick loading speeds help save time for your audience.

Additional SEO factors like backlinks, mentions, and visual content also help build credibility for your brand in various ways. And building trust comes with lots of benefits in the long term.

· SEO Traffic Lasts Long

Although it takes time to rank on Google, the search engine rewards you with consistent traffic. The number #1 position gets the biggest chunk of traffic, followed by number two and three. However, even appearing in position ten for a few months can earn you decent traffic.

The best part of SEO traffic is that it flows even when you’re not working hard for it. That’s unlike PPC traffic which ends immediately you stop paying for it.

· SEO Creates Visibility for your Content

As content marketing continues to grow, SEO is becoming an integral part of businesses. That’s because it’s a powerful driver for content growth. And good content can impact your customers’ buying journey positively.

When your content ranks high on SERPS, customers will use it to learn more about the products they want to buy. They could get inspired or persuaded to purchase. Depending on how you structure your Calls to Actions, they could buy from you.

· You can beat your Competition Forever

Think about it—rising from your underdog status to the biggest company in your niche. SEO can get you there. It brings you quality links, which means the kind of buyers you want. You don’t have to pay for it, only patience and consistency are needed.

You need consistency in implementing the signals search engines look at to rank websites. If you can get them, you can beat even the most famous companies in your industry.

PPC pros

While SEO takes time, PPC advertising provides a faster way to get results. Should you set a budget for advertising?

· PPC Helps Achieve Business Goals

What’s the purpose of advertising if not to achieve goals? PPC is fast, effective, and doesn’t have to be costly. What’s more, it can be tracked, meaning you don’t make guesses about its results. Instead, you determine what you want from an advertising campaign and PPC helps you get there.

· PPC is Quick

PPC doesn’t discriminate against websites. You could launch your site today ad Google could help you land 1000 visitors within one week. That’s impossible with SEO because many search engines prefer to rank older over newer companies.

· Lots of Targeting Options

Another benefit of PPC advertising is that it’s laser-focused. You can target Gmail users, people on Forbes, SERPS, or YouTube. Alternatively, you could segment your audience based on their location, ethnicity, behaviors, and income levels.

In other words, PPC lets you pay for high-quality traffic. Google also lets you test different filters so that you can have your ads on a financial website today and Gmail the next day.

· PPC Data can be Leveraged for SEO

When using PPC, Google, Bing, and social networks reveal data not always available to SEO marketers. For example, you could get in-depth knowledge about different keywords in your industry. And you can later use this information to determine the best keywords to rank for.

SEO vs. PPC Advertising: Which is better?

Many successful companies use both SEO and PPC. However, it’s always every company’s goal to dominate SEO rankings. So, if you’re wondering where to commit more money and efforts, invest in SEO.

On the flip side, use PPC advertising if you need traffic quickly and have no issues paying for it. While you drive sales through PPC, work on SEO. It takes time. But once you buy real estate on Google’s first page, you could enjoy months of high-quality traffic with little effort.