Are you wondering whether SEO or PPC will bring in more leads or clients for your business? While both are staples in digital marketing or marketing in general, the two options follow different engagement trajectories. The immediate results you get after implementing PPC and SEO campaigns aren’t representative of each option’s sustained performance. That means that when choosing between search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC), you have to pick based on your long-term or short-term lead generation goals for your business. Your budget also matters! 



Short-term results in search marketing refer to results that you get between 1 day to 2 weeks of implementing a campaign. PPC (Adwords, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads) is a type of search marketing where you pay a search engine such as Google or Bing to show your website at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). With multiple businesses paying Search engines to be at the top of the result pages, these companies (Google, Bing, etc) use an auction-like strategy to position these websites. For example, the more you pay for a click, the higher your website gets placed. Hence, a single click can cost as much as $54.91 if there are a lot of businesses bidding for it, the same keyword might also cost $0.8 if no one is bidding for it.  PPC or paid search tends to come in hot after a campaign is implemented. PPC can boost visibility and drive a lot of traffic to your website overnight. PPC can be a good strategy when you’re:

  • Seeking prime ad placement on a high-value website.
  • Looking for immediate visibility for a time-sensitive promotion or event.
  • Catching “fleeting” engagement that’s part of a trend.
  • Looking for a way to supplement your long-term, ongoing SEO strategy.

Meanwhile, SEO is known for its slow burn. While you may see an immediate bump after deploying SEO, you won’t get the dramatic uptick in engagement the way you are likely to with PPC. That means that PPC often outperforms SEO in short-term A/B testing. In the short term, PPC is great for providing immediate visibility to your target audience that can boost page visits or lead signups. Marketers also like the fact that PPC can make them feel like they’re only “paying for what they use” when eating into an ad budget. 



With search marketing, long-term results refer to results you get 1 month or longer after implementing the campaigns. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the optimization of your website or business on search engines so that you can get traffic to your website without having to pay search engines or do any bidding on keywords. Search engines such as Google have an algorithm that they use to determine which websites should rank and it’s constantly updated (Search Core Updates). To rank on the first page of search engines, you need to demonstrate that you have authority in your particular industry and your website has to be optimized. Demonstrating your authority and ranking at the top of search engine results pages (SERP) can take months and sometimes even more than a year because search engines want their users to find high-quality and accurate information. The top-ranking websites get to enjoy an unlimited number of clicks and leads to their websites because they are not bidding on any keywords or have a PPC budget cap. Most of the time, organic results will rank higher than the PPC results. SEO’s slow burn makes it a better choice when the goal is to boost long-term engagement and increase page rankings for a website. While PPC is considered a great optional or supplemental tool for drumming up traffic and engagement, SEO is considered an essential part of operations in digital marketing if a business plans on a long-term steady flow of leads and clients. SEO is ideal in situations where the goal revolves around:

  • Building momentum with digital traffic and visibility.
  • Getting the best return on investment (ROI) over a long-term period.
  • Creating sustainable traffic and engagement using a financially manageable strategy.
  • Catching “steady” engagement with a target audience.



Regardless of whether you choose to implement SEO, PPC, or both, it’s important to note that there is a value to be placed on the traffic your website gets, and it’s very important when determining the return on investment (ROI) from each campaign. This can be called “organic website traffic value”, “Paid Traffic Value”, “Paid Traffic Cost”, or “SEO Clicks Value”. With Paid Traffic cost or Paid Traffic Value, you will only get traffic to your website that you have paid for, so if you spend $3,000 on Ads, you will only get $3,000 worth of traffic to your website. With SEO clicks value or organic website traffic value, you can get $35,000 worth of traffic to your website while only paying $3,000 for SEO because there’s no limit on the amount of traffic you can get or which keywords you can rank for.

While the idea of paying per click is attractive when creating a budget for a campaign, it’s important to anticipate a bit of a spending blitz when it comes to getting enough clicks to make a campaign successful. This is why PPC campaigns are generally only used strategically when the goal is to get an engagement surge tied to a special event or promotion. PPC certainly has its place for both generating fresh traffic and helping to supplement the traffic that is already being driven by SEO and organic search.

With the SEO vs PPC debate, it’s important to note some words on growth. With PPC, keyword value and monetary cost can waver based on what competitors are doing marketing-wise. When a keyword becomes hot, bidding competition on PPC can dramatically increase the cost per click. Unfortunately, that means that your ROI on each click can go down dramatically. For this reason, many digital marketers will use PPC strictly to supplement an overarching SEO strategy with low-value keywords that have a much lower price per click compared to in-demand keywords. Meanwhile, those high-value keywords are organically nested into SEO content to drive traffic without paying an exorbitant fee each time someone clicks on a website.

Should you choose SEO or PPC for your marketing strategy? The answer is that both have a place. However, PPC doesn’t have the strong pull of SEO for long-term website traffic value or business growth in general. SEO creates a legacy on your website that will allow one page or post to drive traffic in perpetuity. The successful ranking of one piece of content on your website will give you a chance to focus your budget on another one which gives you a chance to focus your budget on other keywords and pages. Meanwhile, PPC can be great when the short-term goal is to get a bump in visits or engagement. However, that uptick disappears once you end the campaign. Anyone who hasn’t already been captured by a click won’t be captured.

X Design Solutions is a Full-Service Marketing agency that can help you strategically implement both SEO and PPC successfully. Contact us to book a consultation.