Are you not sure which online marketing strategy to choose for your business? Or are you looking to boost online traffic and conversions in any way possible for your business?
Perhaps you are wondering whether SEO or PPC is better for your business. Both strategies have their pros and cons – but which one will give you the most significant return on investment?
Here is a closer look at SEO vs. PPC return on investment which will help you determine which marketing approach is the right one for your business.
What are SEO and PPC - How are they Different?
SEO (search engine optimization) is the complete strategy of improving the visibility and ranking of a webpage or a website in search engine results pages (SERPs).
PPC (pay-per-click) is a type of online advertising where you pay a publisher (usually a search engine, social media site, or other websites) every time someone clicks on your ad.
SEO and PPC are both effective ways of driving traffic to your website. However, SEO is a long-term investment since it takes time for your website to appear in search results. This is because it may take time for Google to rank your site plus your audience to engage with your content and product. Every person who visits on your website becomes a new lead that needs to engage with your site.
PPC is a more immediate way to get traffic to your website, as you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You can start generating clicks immediately via Google Ads and/or Bing Ads, etc.
Which is a Better Investment: SEO or PPC?
The answer to this question depends on your business goals and budget. If your goal is to produce more leads or sales, PPC may be a better investment. It also depends on the product you sell; if it needs less research (e.g. An specific book or black socks), then PPC is the best alternative.
However, SEO is a better investment if you have a long-term goal and want to engage with your audience. Remember that SEO creates high-quality leads since they will engage and read a lot of content. So if your product needs more reviews and research from your target audience, you need a comprehensive approach, and then SEO is your best option.
SEO is a long-term investment, so it may be a better option if you have a limited budget. PPC can be expensive, so it may not be the best option for businesses with a tight budget.
You can boost your organic results by combining Google SEO and PPC. By integrating these two technologies, you can take up more real estate on the Google SERPs.
PPC and SEO collaborate to push down the competition in search engine results and make a more robust brand impression for your business. You can choose both approaches depending on your product.
SEO is more likely to yield a positive return on investment, as SEO work compounds vs. PPC, where you don’t need to feed the beast every month. Since SEO builds on itself, you'll realize increasingly more assertive results the longer you do it. Due to the compounding nature of SEO, investing in it can result in a significant increase in traffic, conversions, and revenue over time!
The organic search involves a wide range of content marketing, including web pages, blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, presentations, reports, etc. PPC may not be able to achieve that because it does not allow for creativity or personality expression on the part of your staff.
Paid search, on the other hand, is not a dead end. There's plenty of room for PPC in nearly every scenario. Paid search is the better option for short-term campaigns or situations where you need immediate results for a specific topic.
The Benefits of SEO Over PPC
Enhanced Visibility and Ranking in SERPs
When you invest in SEO, your website will rank higher in SERPs, resulting in more traffic and leads. When your brand shows up in top industry results, this leads to an increase in trust from those searching for your products and/or services.
More Qualified Leads
People who reach your website through organic search are more likely to be attracted by your products or services than those who click on your PPC ads. The reason being is that they are doing research. PPC sometimes generates lower-level leads because this traffic tends to be shoppers. SEO leads understand your business, your competitive advantage, and much more because greater research has been completed.
SEO targets all keywords related to your business, whereas PPC targets only specific keywords that you select. You must build out a robust PPC campaign in order to cover plenty of ground.
SEO is a long-term investment that requires more time for returns than PPC advertising. It takes Google some time to consider a website as an authority, and there is something named “Sandbox”. Websites may take a few months to get out of the sandbox.
Traffic Growth on the Website
As your website ranks higher in SERPs, you will see increased traffic. Check the chart below.
The Benefits of PPC Over SEO
When you invest in PPC, you will see an immediate increase in website traffic and leads.
A PPC campaign targets all keywords related to your business, while embarking on an SEO strategy you would need to create content focusing on specific keywords to display for specific queries.
As we mentioned before, PPC leads are more likely to be interested in your products or services if they don’t require deep research from your target audience.
Control Over Budget
With PPC, you can control your budget, so you only invest as much as you want.
PPC offers the opportunity to target specific demographics and interests, which can help you reach the right consumer.
Enhanced Website Traffic
PPC advertising will increase website traffic as your website appears higher in search engine results.
SEO is a long-term investment that provides results over time, while PPC is a short-term investment that delivers immediate results. SEO helps you increase website traffic and leads over time, while PPC can help you increase website traffic and leads immediately. PPC is more expensive because you are paying the publisher plus a group to manage the ads, assuming you want to drive the best performance possible.
SEO ROI Calculation
There are different ways to calculate the ROI of SEO and PPC. Here is a simple way to calculate the ROI of SEO is:
ROI = (Gains from Investment – Costs of Investment) / Costs of Investment.
As an example, if we invest $6,000 in your SEO strategy within 6 months (say $1,000 a month) and generate an additional $12,000 in revenue as a result in this duration, your ROI would be ($12,000 – $6,000) / $6,000 = 100%.
Conversely, the same amount of investment may not give you the same ROI in terms of PPC. It would also cut down on your time investment though, but still the result that matters is the revenue generated through a certain amount of time.
Consider SEO if:
- You have a limited marketing budget.
- You want to increase your brand authority.
- You're willing to get the most out of your investment in the long run.
- You want to write content that your readers can engage with at various points along the sales funnel.
Tips For Improving SEO ROI
Choose the Right Keywords
To get the most out of your SEO investment, you need to choose the right keywords that you include on your website, in blogs, or via meta titles and descriptions. Target keywords relevant to your business and ones that have decent search volume.
Optimize Website for Keywords
Once you have chosen the specific keywords, you must optimize your website for them. This includes using the keywords in your website content, titles, and meta descriptions.
Publish High-Quality Content
Build Links to Your Website
Another way to improve your SEO ROI is to build links to your website from high-quality websites.
Use Paid Search to Enhance Your SEO Efforts
Paid search can be a powerful tool to support your SEO efforts by targeting keywords that are difficult to rank organically. You can capture the low-hanging fruits with pure SEO, and then you can take down the hard-to-rank keywords with PPC.
Track Your Website Performance
Always track the performance of your website using free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, so you can see how your SEO efforts are impacting your traffic and leads.
Adjust Your SEO Strategy
Update your SEO strategy accordingly if you don't see your expected results. Some options you have are to double down on your content creation, create backlinks, increase the length of your blog posts, optimize your website, etc.
Invest in an SEO Audit
If you're unsure where to start, invest in an SEO audit to better understand your website's strengths and weaknesses.
Continue Investing in SEO
The best way to enhance your ROI from SEO is to continue investing in it over time. It may take time, and you need to constantly optimize and monitor your results to get the best out of your SEO strategy.
Avoid “black-hat” SEO Techniques
The black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing and link building, like these, can hurt your website ranking.
PPC ROI Calculation
To calculate the ROI of PPC, divide the profits generated from your PPC campaigns by the costs of those campaigns.
ROI = (Revenue - Cost)/Cost x 10
For example, if you generate $1,000 in profits from a PPC campaign and spend $500 on that campaign, your ROI would be ($1,000 – $500) / $500 = 100%.
Consider PPC if:
- You want quick, visible improvements.
- The service or product you provide is unique or innovative.
- If you are advertising a time-sensitive deal, such as a vacation discount.
- If you want to send your audience to a sales or landing page.
Tips for Improving PPC ROI
Choose the Right Keywords
To get the most out of your PPC investment, you need to choose the right keywords. Target keywords relevant to your business and have decent search volume.
You may start your initial keyword research considering some low CPC and high converting keywords. Still, the actual game begins with refining your keyword research by analyzing the performance of your ad campaign.
This should be a consistent process to keep going until you start getting the best CPC.
Create Retargeted Ads
You can create targeted ads to attract a specific niche market. But what if a viewer visits your landing page and leaves without making any purchase.
Retargeting ads can help a lot in this specific scenario. In PPC, you can create such ads to attract the visitors who have left your site with a clear chance to win them back as qualified sales.
Optimize Your Website
You should optimize your website for chosen keywords to rank higher in SERPs. You can also go with CRO (conversion rate optimization) of your landing pages along with general optimization for search engines.
Use Conversion Tracking
As its name indicates, conversion tracking is about tracking how many leads or sales your PPC campaigns generate. This data will help you fine-tune your campaigns and monitor and optimize them to ensure that they are generating the most ROI.
Use A/B Testing
By A/B testing, you determine the best version of your business ads and landing pages to increase your PPC ROI. Once again, it is a part of the ad campaign refining process, which will undoubtedly yield better ROI through PPC.
Regularly Review Your Campaigns
Make sure to regularly review your PPC campaigns to ensure they perform as expected. Adjust your campaigns as needed to improve ROI.
Just like your other website operations, you can set up a process for the performance review of your campaigns. Once in place, this process will help you have a better view of how things are working for your good
Many factors exist when determining the return on investment for SEO and PPC. Both of these digital marketing strategies can be highly beneficial for businesses. Business owners can make more informed decisions about which marketing strategy is best for their company by understanding the different aspects of ROI calculation.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.