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Advantages of SEO or PPC advertising

There are currently 2 main ways to generate visits from search engine users. Firstly, implementing an search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy for a website can enable it to rank well for selected terms within the main search results and secondly, by using pay-per-click advertising, which displays your listing within the sponsored results on many of the popular search tools.

Both of these options can be used alongside each other and can be a cost-effective way to attract new visitors to your website, but they also have their own advantages and disadvantages, as outlined below:

Set-up time and costs

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be set up to work effectively within a few days, whilst developing a site's search engine optimisation may take months in many cases. Therefore using PPC can be useful for new websites, or for short term promotions as there is less initial cost involved and results will be achieved sooner.


Research has indicated that website listings within the 'natural' search results - compared to those within the 'sponsored listings' generated from a PPC campaign - achieve a higher clickthrough rate. Therefore optimised websites may attract high volumes of site visits once high rankings are achieved, plus the sites may also be viewed as more trustworthy compared to those from paying advertisers.

Coordinated message

Pay-per-click adverts allow only a limited amount of content which can restrict any sales message compared to the main optimised listings that many search engines display. However, with PPC advertising, you can direct users to the chosen page of your website to coordinate the sales message with the content page of the website - something that can still be done through optimisation although it can be harder to control, or guarantee.

Long term value

As it charges for every click to a site, PPC will remain a constant cost for a business over time. In contrast, a successful optimisation project can provide added value long after the initial work has been undertaken, allowing its cost-effectiveness to overtake that of PPC in the long term.


The value, or return on investment, that an SEO project can provide may vary dramatically. For example, a business with a well established website containing extensive content can stand to gain far more from SEO than a newly launched website with minimal content.

Assessing this value against the initial costs of optimising a site can be difficult. In contrast, the effectiveness of a PPC campaign can be assessed as money is invested, meaning that, if monitored closely, there is very little risk involved.


Providers of PPC advertising, such as Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing provide information on clicks, with no need to set up any extra tracking, as leads or sales can also be tracked with the addition of a small piece of code, meaning that the cost per sale or lead can be tracked from the outset.

In contrast, to measure the effectiveness of a natural search engine optimisation project, a website analytics package or log files need to be reviewed, which can be a more complex process.

One or both?

In the majority of cases it can be worthwhile to include elements of both activities within a search engine marketing campaign. For example, once a website has established good natural search engine visibility PPC can still be used to:

To set up a search engine optimisation or pay-per-click advertising campaign, or for more advice on the most effective approach to search engine marketing for your business, contact us now for more information or request a FREE site assessment.