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Pay-per-click (PPC) vs organic SEO

A common question we are asked at Faze47 Digital by clients is should we be focusing our spending on pay-per-click advertising or organic SEO? In this article, we compare these two methods of lead generation using relevant criteria and which could be the most suitable to focus on for your business.


A pay-per-click campaign needs to be planned out carefully to determine your target audience, the minimum daily ad spend and your monthly budget. Using a platform such as Google Ads can allow you to plan out the specifics such as your maximum CPV (Cost Per View) and from that, you can determine your projected ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). It can be common for campaigns to be unprofitable during the first few days or sometimes weeks running while data is gathered by which you can further optimise to achieve conversions, this needs to be accounted for, however once optimised your ad can be generating leads in a very short space of time.

With organic SEO, most agencies offer a choice of payment models: a monthly retainer contract, a fixed-price contract or hourly consulting, you will have to assess which is the best option for you depending on your budget and requirements. The work involves both on-page and off-page SEO optimisation techniques which are not quick wins, achieving visibility in search results takes time but SEO is valuable, it will position your business for long-term success by building brand awareness, domain authority, trust and consistent leads for your target keywords. In certain business scenarios a PPC account that’s well set up and managed can be a low-cost way to generate leads for your business by itself. If for example you are a local business targeting a geographic area with a specific set of keywords, you may find that you can generate more than enough leads from a PPC campaign without having to spend on SEO as well in the short term, this could be a good interim strategy while you plan for longer-term organic SEO implementation.

Click-through rates (CTR)

Research has shown that users trust organic search results more than a paid advertisement and therefore click-through rates tend to be higher for pages returned in organic results pages. While there are exceptions to this rule, the general consensus is you will generate more clicks from a highly placed organic listing than from a highly placed paid ad. Recent statistics show that for a Google Ads PPC placement the average CTR is 3.17%, whereas the number 1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.7%, a clear 10X on your CTR’s makes an investment in organic SEO very worthwhile. However to achieve more clicks overall and to maximize visibility, you will want to have listings in the paid search results as well if your budget allows for this.


Deciding how to spend on SEO or PPC also comes down to your marketing strategy and how you plan to gain an advantage over the competition. Once you have established your business in the organic results, your competitors can’t simply buy their way in or outbid you for your target keywords like they can on PPC platforms. This can provide a strategic advantage over your competitors if they are relying more on paid search campaigns to generate new business. However, if you are just starting out as an online business, and the keywords you are targeting show results dominated by larger corporations with huge ad spend budgets, then you may need to rethink your strategy and focus more on paid search while you explore other keywords to target. Likewise, if you have just recently launched a new website under a new domain you may want to focus on PPC while you wait for SEO processes for your target keywords to take effect in the organic results. Having defined short and long-term goals are essential in deciding how to allocate budget to SEO and PPC.


From our experience, we have seen that SEO and PPC work best when integrated and strategically aligned with one another, how you leverage each largely depends on your specific requirements and if you are a new business just starting out or already established. Hopefully, this article has given you more insight into determining how you should approach these two powerful marketing methods. Please get in touch with us for further information on SEO and PPC and how they can help your business.

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