Search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) are debatably two of the most powerful traffic generating strategies. Both online marketing strategies have similar goals of increasing visitors on a particular web page, however, they require completely different tactics.

It is not an easy, clear-cut answer when deciding when to use each strategy. The choice between the two relies more heavily on your marketing objectives and overall business needs.

Search Engine Optimization

You might hear marketers throw around the term SEO, but are still unsure about how your business actually benefits. SEO is the practice of optimizing content to increase the number of visitors to a website by gaining a high-ranking placement on search engine result pages. When 75% of people never scroll past the first page of a search results list, it could make or break your business’s visibility and traffic if you don’t rank well with major search engines.

A few major benefits of SEO include:

  • Trust & Credibility: Appearing at the top of the results page earns trust and more results because many users skip the ads and give more credibility to organic results.
  • Higher Conversion Rate: A higher percentage of users will click on the organic search results over paid ads. More clicks mean more organic conversions and sales.
  • Cost: Creating visibility and credibility will take more time and effort, but you aren’t having to pay for each impression you get.
  • Website Traffic: Once you have established a high search ranking, you will naturally earn higher traffic and brand awareness.
  • Trust: Having a presence in top positions in search builds trust with users who are searching as users typically trust the search engine results.

When should SEO be used?
Keep in mind that these are just a few in a long list of benefits. It is best to use SEO techniques when you are looking to achieve consistent results and are wanting to generate more organic traffic and increase the value of your website.

Of note: SEO is a long-game strategy. Optimizing your website content, posting new content on a consistent basis, being active in your social media — all of these activities will boost your online visibility within the search engines over time.


On the other hand, PPC is exactly what it sounds like – you pay for each time a visitor clicks on your ad. This is essentially a quick way to buy site visits, rather than earning them organically. Often, PPC is associated with search engine advertising such as Google Ads.

Using a major search engine like Google is particularly valuable because of the massive amounts of traffic it receives – meaning more opportunities to gain clicks on your ad! With a successful PPC campaign, you could be achieving:

  • Increased Brand Visibility: Your site will quickly appear on relevant search pages that give potential customers new access to your brand.
  • Highly Targeted Audiences: Take advantage of selecting a specific demographic or location to target for your PPC campaign.
  • Faster Results: Once you start the paid campaign, you’re instantly visible in that search category to begin seeing results.
  • Budget Control: Easily scale or limit your budget and only get advertising for what you pay for.

When to use PPC?
PPC dominates as a winning strategy when your goal is to get immediate results or when looking to gain highly targeted traffic. It is also a quick way to test a new market in order to get customers in the door.

There isn’t a straight answer on which one should be more of a priority over the other. A healthy online marketing strategy has a combination of both as they work together to bring visibility to your business and ultimately generate new leads.

UpSwell offers a free assessment for your business that can help you decide what your next steps in marketing should be and how you can combine these two tactics to get the best results!

June 1st - September 3oth

50% OFF

Digital Management Fees
for 3 Months! 

$750 value!

*This offer is for customers who have not previously used UpSwell’s digital marketing services for PPC Search or Social Media Ads. The Digital Splash promotion requires a minimum 3-month commitment to either social media ads or pay-per-click, and a media spend of at least $1,000 per channel. A one-time new customer set up fee of $150 will be charged upon signature of the contract. Contact UpSwell Marketing for details.