As a business, it is sometimes difficult to decide whether to invest your marketing dollars in Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO). PPC refers to paid internet advertising for which you pay a fee each time your ad is clicked on, while SEO refers to the optimization of your website to appear higher in search results and gain a larger amount of unpaid, organic traffic. In this article, we will break down PPC and SEO to help you decide which is the best fit for your business and marketing budget.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

The Basics

As previously mentioned, with Pay Per Click you run online ads and pay a fee when someone clicks on your ad. It is also referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Paid Search. The primary provider of Paid Search advertising is Google through its Google Adwords platform. Google offers Search and Display advertising. Search advertising refers to the ads you see in search results, while Display refers to the ads you see when you visit other websites on the internet.


Position in search results

With PPC campaigns, you can display your ads prominently in search results when users search specific keywords. This exposes users to your ad when they are actively searching for keywords related to your business. Ads dominate the first four slots on a desktop and the first three slots on a mobile device. Based on your quality score and bid amount, your ad can be the first search result seen by a user when searching for your keywords. The quality score is based on three factors; namely expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page.

Reach your target audience

With PPC, you can customize the audience for your ads. They are targeted by keywords, location, language, device, time or day of the week, previous website visits and interests.

Control your budget

Because of its flexibility, you can control your budget, and if you have a high-quality score, PPC advertising can be a low-cost option for your business.

Data and flexibility

With PPC advertising, you can generate reports and identify which tactics are working and which are not. You can instantly change or turn off poorly performing campaigns or increase budgets on campaigns that are performing well. This data also provides additional insights into user search behavior, which is used in organic search efforts.


Potential high cost

Without proper knowledge of how the PPC platform works, you could end up spending much more money than needed. Also, if the keywords you are using have high competition and a high cost per click, it can be difficult to get ads to rank highly with a small budget.

Ongoing monitoring

PPC campaigns are not a “set it and forget it” marketing tactic. They require weekly, if not daily, monitoring. To receive the best ROI, it is crucial that you concentrate on constantly adjusting your campaigns to ensure everything is running smoothly and more efficiently.


As previously mentioned, it is imperative to invest time into learning the PPC campaign platform. With Google AdWords, we recommend using a Google-certified agency or a Google Partner with complete knowledge of the platform.


With PPC, the flow of traffic generated is not permanent. This traffic stops immediately if you stop paying or turn off the campaign. All extra benefits to your organic SEO from the PPC traffic will dissipate just as quickly.

Search Engine Optimization

The Basics

There are many ways to increase the usability of your website and appear higher in organic search results. This involves a combination of technical expertise, creative elements, and strategic planning to increase traffic, improve rankings, and increase conversions. Search engines are intelligent, but they do need extra help to understand what exactly your site is about and to verify its credibility. By using certain SEO tactics, you can eliminate any confusion that search engines may have and position your website for success.



Increase organic traffic

One of the main sources of web traffic across all sites is organic traffic from search engines such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing. Creating an SEO strategy and optimizing your site helps search engines determine the value of your website. This will help bring in more site traffic and allow your website to be located quickly.

More sustainable

Unlike PPC campaigns, your efforts do not stop the moment you stop paying. SEO efforts will continue to generate traffic, help your website grow and provide ongoing benefit to your business. However, these benefits will begin to fade over time.

Trust and credibility

Having your website appear higher in organic search results can significantly improve your credibility in the perception of users searching for a business like yours. Showing up on Page 1 of the search results will portray legitimacy and trust over a business showing up on Page 3.

Position advantage

Once you have established yourself in the organic search results, your competitors cannot simply pay more to rank above you. It is all about the quality, usability, and credibility of your website.



Increased traffic and higher rankings in search engine results will not happen overnight with SEO. It takes time for the search engines to explore and learn about your site while gathering data necessary to rank your site.


Effective SEO is complicated and requires a lot of elements, both technical and creative. Many factors play a part in creating an effective SEO strategy. Without proper knowledge of how SEO works or what is needed for a successful SEO strategy, your efforts could be futile.


As developing an SEO strategy is complex and requires numerous different elements, it is important to know all the in’s and out’s before dedicating your time and money. We recommend using a professional agency that can accurately assess your website and implement the most effective strategy for your business to ensure the best ROI.

PPC or SEO for your business and marketing budget?

It is hard to determine which tactic would be the best for your business. If you are a small, local business with little competition, skipping PPC and relying on SEO may be the best choice for you. However, if you are an e-commerce business and competing with large companies such as Amazon or Target, organic search results may be harder to compete with, no matter how much you dedicate to an SEO strategy.

In an ideal world, we would recommend using a combination of PPC and SEO in your online marketing tactics. They work better together by reinforcing and supporting each other. Business goals, target audience, and budget are a few of the key factors taken into consideration when developing an internet marketing strategy for our clients.


Is creating PPC campaigns or an SEO strategy something you want to dive into, but you don’t know where to start? Let Ocreative help you. We regularly set up and manage PPC campaigns as well as developing and executing ongoing SEO strategies for our clients.


About Ocreative

Bright, honest, digital innovators and creative gurus, Ocreative is recognized as an International award-winning, full-service, integrated marketing agency. Since 2003, they have been getting big results for their trusting clients and that puts big smiles on everyone’s faces. Ocreative is headquartered in Wisconsin, but their clients are located all across the United States, from Massachusetts to Hawai‘i. Ocreative’s expertise and portfolio include marketing and strategy, advertising and design, websites and digital and video and multimedia.




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