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SEO Vs PPC: Where Should Your Company Spend Your Budget?

It’s a battle that’s raged as long as there have been search engines – should you invest your marketing budget into SEO or PPC? It sounds like a simple question, but the reality is anything but, so let’s take a look at both sides of the argument.

Note: If you’re confused about the difference between the two techniques, check out our guides to PPC and SEO before you read on.

SEO: Saint or Sinner?

Search engine optimisation is a relatively cheap, and significantly longer term solution. SEO is all about promoting your business online and when done right you can find that not only does your traffic from search engines improve, but also that direct and referring traffic increases as more and more people get to know and love your company.


One downside to this type of work is the time taken – Amazon wasn’t built in a day. SEO is a slow burner, and it can take time to hit the high spots and really start to see a return on your investment. And yet, if you have the patience, the work you do now should still be showing a return in 1, 2 or even 5 years time.

Search engine optimisation can be a less predictable marketing technique, as search engines closely guard their secrets to avoid spam. And yet, thanks to rigorous testing by search engine professionals there are established best practices that have been proven to help companies to achieve great rankings and an excellent return.

It’s worth noting that even with an unlimited pay per click budget, by focussing on paid search alone you always run the risk of missing out on a large proportion of traffic simply due to users preferring to click on organic listings.


  • Relatively cheap.
  • Long term investment.
  • Potential to increase exposure outside of search engines.
  • Slow process.
  • Harder to quantify the ROI.
  • Less control over the overall results.

PPC: Profitable or Pointless?

Pay per click wins many fans for its speed, ease of reporting and directly attributable ROI. Assuming that you have no technical problems with your website, it’s a clear path from keyword X to sale Y, and that straight forward reporting is essential to any business.

For companies looking for an instant boost in visibility and with specific financial targets to meet, pay per click advertising is the obvious choice. With clear data at your fingertips it’s easy to kill under performing keywords in a matter of moments to ensure you get the maximum conversions for your spend.

While Google likes to introduce new features and mix things up as with organic listings, it is much easier to maintain a top ad ranking spot long term.

And yet, the big drawback to PPC is the ongoing cost involved. Unlike SEO, the pay per click model means that literally if you aren’t prepared to pay, you won’t see any traffic. And with ever more advertisers joining the market, many businesses do see their costs increase over time.

Clever management can ensure that any increase in spend is profitable, but even the most skilled Google AdWords consultant cannot stop the force of inflation caused by an increasingly competitive market place.


  • Instant results.
  • Directly attributable ROI.
  • More control over placement and appearance in the search engines.


  • Relatively expensive.
  • Costs more likely to increase over time due to market inflation.
  • If you stop advertising, you cut off your traffic source.


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More and more online marketing professionals are coming around to a new way of thinking – that actually the two techniques should be used together for maximum impact.

While this approach can be used to great effect by many organisations, budget constraints, business objectives and time scales should all be factors that ultimately help you to decide the right approach for your online marketing campaign.

The simple truth is that there is no one right way to spend your online marketing budget – and both search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising can bring excellent results.You need to consider your marketing objectives carefully to weigh up which technique can help your company to meet your goals.

If you are having any trouble deciding what your company needs, don’t forget that Boom offers both SEO services and PPC management, so we’re ideally placed to help you make the best decision for your business.  Call us on 0845 474 0974 or use our contact form so that we can discuss your business needs.

Boom Online

Boom Online

Boom was founded in 2010 as an eCommerce specialist digital marketing agency. Our specialism is in the home retail sector, where we've managed SEO, PPC and Digital PR for both household brands and local businesses.View Author posts

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