SEO vs. Pay Per Click Advertising: Which Is A Better Investment?

You may be wondering which is better: SEO or Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)?

It’s a question that business owners often encounter as they grapple with where to focus their limited resources.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, helps internet users find business links among organic search results.

However, paid search traffic comes from users clicking ads or sponsored listings. The latter are paid for by businesses to emerge on top of organic search results.

Unless your audience is among the 8.27% of people using Bing and Yahoo, everyone goes to the same place looking for answers.


In all its glory and even in 2021, Google dominates the worldwide search engine marketing share. Google draws in two different traffic sources for digital marketers: organic search and paid search.

These techniques boost website traffic and generate sales opportunities for your online business presence. If you wonder which model best suits your business, this post offers a quick distinction between the two.

Why Care About SEO and Paid Ads?

It would be correct to say that SEO and PPC are the two indispensable pillars of digital marketing.

According to a 2019 BrightEdge study, close to 68% of all traceable website traffic comes from organic and paid search. This figure greatly surpasses other similar channels, like social media and display ads.

What’s even more interesting? Most businesses generate around two-thirds of their revenue using these techniques. For this reason, you should care about these two forms of digital marketing and do your best to maximize one or perhaps both of them.

Benefits of Search Engine Optimization

Sourcing traffic from organic search is a long and consistent game to building your brand’s reputation. SEO boosts your website’s visibility on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

You can achieve this by optimizing the content and making it high quality and relevant. The goal is to appease search engine algorithms so they index your pages accordingly.

To date, organic search delivers the most traffic to websites despite all the seismic shifts in consumer behaviors. Sure, SEO requires more work than PPC and does not offer quick results, but it is free and long-lasting.


  • Increased brand awareness and credibility
  • Cost-effective long-term investment
  • Requires less maintenance
  • Generates consistent traffic
  • Wider reach
  • Better long-term return on investment (ROI)


  • Takes time and patience to achieve desired results
  • Unsuitable for time sensitive strategies
  • Offers less direct control over performance (vs. PPC)
  • Can be difficult to outcompete well established competitors for page 1 position

Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Acquiring paid traffic is a short-term game to maximize your ROI. However, PPC continues to grow as a popular channel for improving website visibility on search engines.

PPC, or paid search engine advertising, is flexible, real-time and independent of search engine algorithms.

Google Ads, the best known PPC product delivers paid/sponsored ads right on top of the search results, even above those that earn the page-one spot organically.

Paid ads fit seamlessly into the search results and feel native and unobstructed. You are charged for every click on your ads. Rather than waiting for SEO efforts to gain traction, PPC gives you an instant chance to get seen on top results.


  • Useful with time-sensitive strategies
  • Offers measurable and conversion-oriented results
  • Provides better control over performance
  • Immediate results
  • Better audience targeting
  • Short term ROI benefits


  • Higher short-term expenses
  • Needs more maintenance and hands-on management

Which Is Better?

Organic vs. paid traffic is a never-ending debate. But which one seems better? Well, both perform well in different situations.

Ideally, you can invest in both methods and optimize your website for SEO and PPC (e.g. landing pages) or either of these. However, your business goals will determine the best strategy for you.

Are you looking to get instant results? Choose paid search.

Want to increase your exposure? SEO has better potential than PPC.

If your goal is audience targeting, PPC ads offers comprehensive segmentation.

For long-term credibility and repeat business, SEO helps convey expertise, trustworthiness, and authority.

For better control over marketing operations, PPC or paid ads perform far better than SEO.

Budget-wise, PPC can be expensive, but SEO offers huge returns.

Ultimately, do you want to outperform your competitors? Get ahead with both SEO and PPC for higher conversions, detailed analytics and keyword effectiveness.

To conclude, no individual strategy is better than the other. Both can run interdependently as part of an effective online marketing strategy to positively impact your bottom line.

Got Questions?

Speak to our digital marketing professionals, and we can help you turn your vision into visible results. Call New Paradigm Marketing at 707.236.8048 and let’s discuss the options.