Organic SEO or Google Ads

Updated June 2024:  I wrote an in-depth guide to help you decide between SEO and PPC.

Should you spend your online marketing budget on Google Adwords (PPC) or SEO (Organic Search)

This is a question that every business with a website must ask themselves when they start to look at how to spend their online advertising dollars.

On one hand, a business can use Google Adwords and set their investment at any amount that they can afford and get almost instant leads (in a perfect world.) A simple text ad can produce great results and your traffic can skyrocket overnight, if you can afford it.

One the other hand, a business can invest in SEO by committing to a monthly SEO package with an SEO company and their rankings will increase over time in the natural search engine results pages.

So which one is a better use of your marketing dollars?

This isn’t an easy question to answer because every business is different and every scenario is different.

Again, in a perfect world, you could start a Google Ads campaign and for example, spend $1000 per month on those PPC ads. If your landing page (the page you point your ads to) is optimized properly, you may end up with quite a few leads or conversions, but in order to keep those leads or conversions coming in, you have to keep paying Google, month after month. Obviously plenty of businesses are doing this since Google is reportedly generating over $100 million per day in Adwords revenue!

This is a great way to generate leads, but it can get expensive because it never stops. If you stop paying, your leads or conversions stop.

Hiring an SEO company to increase your search engine rankings offers you another option. If you invest that same $$500/$1000 per month (or whatever that cost is) in SEO services, over time your website should end up on page #1 of Google in the organic (free) results pages. Once you’re on page one, you should be getting plenty of traffic and you don’t have to keep paying for it. As long as you don’t do anything drastic from an SEO standpoint, a small monthly maintenance fee by an SEO company should keep your website in a high ranking position.

With Organic SEO, you get FREE traffic, day after day, month after month.

In my opinion, if you don’t want to keep paying for an Ads campaign, investing money in organic SEO services is your best option. The downside of course to spending money on Organic SEO is that your rankings will not change overnight. It could take several weeks to several months before you see the results. In this case, SEO services are front loaded with costs and then it will ease up once you are in a good position, whereas Adwords continues to cost, day after day, month after month.

The other challenge with SEO as a single strategy is that Google can (and does) change their algorithm frequently. What worked last year, may not work today – and websites have lost 80% of their organic traffic overnight from one Google update. This can be catastrophic for a business so in my opinion – in 2024 – you should look at both organic SEO and pay per click.

Ultimately you need to decide what’s best for your organization and your current situation. One good option for many companies would be to split your investment between the two. This way you get the best of both worlds; You get leads or conversions immediately while building your rankings for future leads or referrals that come in free of charge.


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