When to Use SEO and When to Opt for PPC

Updated: July 21, 2010

What is SEO and PPC?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) optimizes your website for higher organic rankings on search engines (Google, Yahoo or Bing). PPC (Pay-Per-Click) goes through Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter or Yahoo Search Marketing platforms as banner/text ads.


How much effort is required?

For a typical SME, an SEO strategy can be a resource-intensive task. PPC on the other hand is not as labor intensive (unless you are selling multiple products to B2C).

How quick are the results?
SEO listings can take a few months to fully mature, whereas PPC takes a few days.

How granular can I target my audience?
SEO can be optimized for keywords, but you have little control on granular targeting such as geographic, demographic, time of day results. PPC gives you more control over such metrics. But you have to pay a premium for it.

How much does it cost?
SEO can be more expensive to setup (especially for an enterprise that has vast web content), but has lower maintenance/running costs than PPC. Typical SEO costs can be $10,000 for an enterprise with 10 percent monthly running costs. For an enterprise, PPC setup costs $5,000 with 50 percent to 200 percent monthly running costs.

What are the steps involved?

SEO can be a labor-intensive project that involves your marketing team working with your web team. Some of the project steps are:

  • Design a SEO game plan.
  • Migrate your site to a CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal).
  • Submit sitemap to various search engines.
  • Train marketing staff and implement changes together.
  • Improve your rankings.

PPC is not as labor intensive and can be managed by a small marketing team. Some of the PPC steps are:

  • Research keywords.
  • Establish advertising accounts.
  • Set up ad campaigns.
  • Apply conversion codes to track performance.
  • Track and update ad campaigns.

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