The Never-Ending feud between SEO and PPC

seo and ppc

One of the most perplexing questions that haunt the mind of customers who wants to invest in digital marketing is to use which strategy. The battle between SEO and PPC has been going on for a long time and still confuses the customer. The fact is that most of the customers don’t have a clear picture and end up choosing the wrong one. Let us try to decode the question once in for all.

What is the difference?

Search engine optimization (SEO)

It is the method of optimizing your website to rank better in search results to increase visibility and gain traffic.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

As the name indicates, it is a method of online advertising where you pay only if a user clicks on your ad.

Let us compare both the strategies using some relevant parameters.

Return on Investment

One of the best ways to compare two strategies is to calculate the return on investment from the two.

Return on Investment(ROI) = Sales/Cost

In the case of PPC, the cost is the amount that you spend on the ad campaign. Consider the example of an e-commerce website, where the entire sales are accounted for from the website itself. You can easily track and calculate the sales that happened through the ad campaign and in turn, the returns can also be calculated. So a PPC campaign is very much measurable.

When it comes to SEO, it is a bit difficult to track. Firstly, SEO is a long term process in which you optimize your website to slowly rank up in the search result, this in turn makes it difficult to calculate the cost incurred. The conversions may happen only once you reach the top. But still, you can pick a time frame and do the calculation.

It is always easy to calculate returns from an e-commerce website, but very difficult for a non-e-commerce website as sales don’t happen on-site. One way to track is to set goals in analytics for your on-site conversions. Where a conversion can be set to any ‘call-to-action’ of your choice.

Time frame

Here also there is a chance that the customers are blinded. Because a PPC campaign can be set up instantaneously and conversion can happen overnight whereas, SEO takes months of input for conversion. PPC can be seen by most as a clear winner.

Both SEO and PPC have a steep learning curve. The only difference is that a mistake on SEO may not affect as much as that of PPC.PPC campaigns should be done with extreme care and one cannot create the perfect campaign for the first time itself. One needs to collect data from the running campaign and then redefine to target the right keyword, include the negative keyword, improve the quality score, etc. Remarketing can be considered as a subset of this. And all of this might take considerably much more time than you expect.

Now, if you are new to the market and are in dire need of traffic and impression then PPC is the best method.


Unless you have an endless amount of cash-flow for marketing, you cannot continue with PPC. Once you stop the campaign, it does not leave any digital imprint. Whereas in SEO once you made your way to the top of search results, both the cost and effort needed to stay there are minimal.


It is found that people consider organic search results far more credible than ad campaigns. People tend to scroll down to find organic search results and click them compared to the ads shown.

Still wondering which one to choose from?

The answer lies with your goal and resources. If you have a lot of time to invest and want to take the high road to compete and reach the top organically, SEO may be apt.Else if you are a new entity who wants instant business and visibility with very little time, PPC may be considered. Or if you have a good marketing budget, then then you may use a blend of both PPC and SEO to get an optimal result. So it is best to say the choice varies from companies to companies.