Buying Keywords with PPC vs Organic SEO | Complete Comparison

PPC vs Organic SEO

A comparison of PPC and SEO tactics

When I talk with potential clients there is often confusion on what services I provide. One day two different people asked me how many keywords they get with my Organic SEO Evaluation.

I told them that I would optimize each page of their website individually for several keyword phrases and that they would get multiple combinations of keywords on every page that will maximize their exposure in organic search engine results pages (SERPs) for their target markets. In short, there is no magic number of keywords that they buy with organic SEO.

The confusion comes in with other search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing (SEM) services that are sold mainly by large companies on the web: Google Adwords, Microsoft Bing adCenter, Dex, Yellow Pages, etc. Even the phone company will try to sell you website optimization.

These services generally provide pay per click (PPC) services that will drive traffic to your website through paid advertising or keyword buying. Minimal or no changes are made to your website to support these sponsored links and ads.

In contrast, organic SEO services focus on improving your website itself to get more visits through organic search results, to improve organic page ranking, and to get potential customers to take action on your website.

Main Benefits of Organic SEO

  • Increases website traffic with users staying on your website longer
  • Reaches your target markets on the web – local, specific to your business
  • Encourages visitors to take action, leading to more prospects and customers
  • Improves the visitor experience on your website
  • Makes your website more Search Engine Friendly, improving page rankings
  • Increases effectiveness and provides a foundation for paid search marketing campaigns like Google Adwords
  • Cost-effective, lasting, and long-term results without recurring costs

Key Differences between Organic SEO and PPC

Organic SEO Pay Per Click
Upfront fees to evaluate and update the website with periodic monitoring to adjust SEO Pay as you go
Build traffic to the site over time Immediate traffic booster
Effects last for the life of the website content Effects last only while you continue paying for keywords and ads
About 80% of traffic from search engines comes from organic search results About 20% of traffic to websites comes from paid search clicks
People’s eyes go to organic search results first with the top 3 spots seen by 100% of people.The 4thspot is seen by 85% of people and the 5th spot 60%. People’s eyes go to the top paid ad only 50% of the time down to 10% on the 5th position PPC ad.
Companies spend about 15% of their online marketing budget on organic SEO Companies spend about 85% of their online marketing budget on PPC

As you can see from the above table, most companies spend on pay per click for its immediate effect but they ignore organic SEO on their own websites. This means they give up long-term organic SEO benefits that are cost-effective because they last the life of the website.

For example, say you set up a pay per click campaign on Google Adwords for one keyword phrase with a budget of $10 a day. That may seem cheap but it’s $300 a month or $3650 a year. With that $3650 you pay for ads to get people to your website without updating your site.

This is often easy and boosts your traffic. But when people get to your site, they need to find what they want and take action to buy your product or service. This is called your conversion rate. If it takes 100 clicks to get one customer, then you are paying for 99 other people to click on your ad for that one sale.

Now, with organic SEO, say your site is evaluated and analyzed for $2,000 and you have $1,000 in updates, with quarterly monitoring at $300 per session. You pay the $4,000 up front and have minimal recurring costs to get that same one customer. You don’t pay for someone to click on a link to your website. And you have a better website that’s user and search engine friendly. too.

Using Organic SEO and PPC Together Effectively

So with all that being said, should you shun PPC and go strictly with Organic SEO? Well, that depends on your business type and marketing goals.

For example, businesses that traditionally do well in the yellow pages often do well with PPC. But service based businesses do better with Organic SEO.

The bottom line is that used together Organic SEO can provide a solid foundation on which to build a pay per click campaign around. So, the rule of thumb would be to get your website evaluated and updated with Organic SEO first, then if it makes sense for your business, add a Pay Per Click campaign later that makes use of your Organic SEO.