SEO or Google Ads: Which is Best for Marketing Your Business Online?

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads (previously AdWords) are two methods to consider if you’re figuring out what to use for a digital marketing campaign. Both options can benefit your business in different ways and SEO and Google Ads each come with their own pros and cons. So, which is best for marketing your business? That’s what we’re here to help you figure out.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads (previously AdWords) are two methods to consider if you’re figuring out what to use for a digital marketing campaign. Both options can benefit your business in different ways and SEO and Google Ads each come with their own pros and cons. So, which is best for marketing your business? That’s what we’re here to help you figure out.

Pros of SEO

  • More Visitors: SEO can be a great way to get more visitors to your site by making it one of the first search results people see. The higher your ranking, the higher the amount of traffic!
  • Establishes Authority: Having your website appear at the top not only draws more clicks, it also sets you up as an authority on whatever you might offer. This means that customers are more likely to return to your website when they need something.
  • Saves Money: SEO lets you grow organically over time, so it can be a cheaper alternative to other more expensive marketing methods. That growth expands your market by letting you reach more customers through the internet—which is why having an online presence is important.

Cons of SEO

  • Results and Optimisation Take Time: One of the biggest obstacles with SEO is that it can take about 4-6 months before you start seeing results. Optimising your website also takes time, especially if you’re unfamiliar with SEO, so this is important to consider.
  • The Return on Investment can be slow:  The Return on Investment (ROI) also takes time, and since SEO can take up to 6 months before you see results, it can be a while before you hit your target return. This means that the money and time you invest into SEO will give little in return in the short-term. 

All in all, SEO is a great way to generate and drive traffic to your business in the long run, but this means it takes time and also money before you start to see the results you want for your business. 

What is Google AdWords?

Google Ads is Google’s Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising platform and a popular marketing method for businesses. Basically, while SEO naturally gets your website higher up on the results page over time, Google Ads lets you pay to advertise your site at the very top of the page above the regular results.

How it works is by allowing users to bid on the chance to show their ad, meaning whoever wins the bid wins the ad slot for any given search. Since it’s PPC, you only pay after a click and how much you pay is something you get to decide when planning your campaign. 

Google Ads offers you a chance to reach a wide audience in a shorter period of time by paying to advertise your site while letting you track and adjust your campaign in real-time. 

Google Ads Example
All of these results are Google Ads (PPC)

Pros of Google Ads

  • Immediate Visibility: Since your ads are displayed once you start paying, it means that users can see your website right away at the very top of a search. In other words, you’ll start getting clicks much faster than SEO.
  • Specific Targeting: Google Ads gives you a lot of control over who your ad targets. If you only want to target local car-owners, it’s possible to do that. This lets you ensure that you get relevant visitors to your website and better leads.
  • Controllable Budget: How much you choose to spend on a Google Ads campaign is up to you. You get to set the budget, so you never have to worry about going over your allotted amount. You also get to control how you spend that budget, meaning you set how much you’re willing to spend for every click.

Cons of Google Ads

  • Results Are Short-Term: A campaign is temporary and so are your ads. So, while Google Ads helps you get to the top through advertisements, it’s not a permanent solution and isn’t always sustainable long-term. Once you’ve spent your budget, the ads stop, and because costs add up over time it can be difficult to maintain a long campaign.
  • Bidding Wars Exist: Since every ad slot is bid on, it means that other users and business owners are bidding for those same slots. If your business is suddenly winning every bid, it’s not uncommon to see the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) go up as competitors try to win the bids by spending more. This is another way that costs can quickly rack up.

In summary, Google Ads is a great option that allows your business to get instant results while also providing you with great control over your marketing campaign.

So… SEO or Google Ads?

Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of SEO and Google Ads, it leaves the question of which is best for your business. The answer to that is this: It really depends.

If you’re a small business targeting local users and only looking for a few extra sales, then SEO is a great option. It will allow you to reach that small audience whenever they search for you and help give your business some extra customers over time. 

If you’re an ecommerce business looking to compete with thousands of other companies, including big names like Amazon, then SEO likely won’t cut it. It’s really difficult to get your website to the top of a search when you’re competing with too many big names. In this case, Google Ads would be a helpful solution and allows you to bypass the normal search results and get your business the visibility it needs for a cost that you get to decide on. 

The Bottom Line

The true best option is to use both. It might be more costly, but SEO and Google Ads work incredibly well together. While Google Ads gets your business a short-term boost and important information on what draws visitors to your site, SEO can take advantage of that information and improve your search ranking in the long-term. 

So, while an integrated strategy might prove most effective, we know that it can be difficult to manage. Ultimately, it comes down to the factors we mentioned earlier, and we hope that by weighing the pros and cons you can more easily determine where you’d like to spend your time and resources when advertising your website!

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