Asking the question what’s more effective, search engine optimization (SEO) or pay per click (PPC) is the same as asking what’s more effective:  advertising or public relations?

Modern day SEO is a much more multi-channel approach that includes a little of this and a little of that.  SEO efforts now include some of the following components:

  • Keyworded page text
  • META tags
  • Social media engagements
  • In-bound links
Asking what's more effective, SEO or PPC is like asking: what's more effective: advertising or PR? Click To Tweet

PPC on the other hand has evolved to now include many of SEO’s tenants, namely, relevancy.  What does this mean?  Basically, you used to be able to spend yourself to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPS) but that hasn’t been the case for a couple of years.

Now, Google, the Supreme Leader of PPC and really the only search engine that matters to me, will reward relevancy over money.  Yes.  You read that right.  The days of buying a slew of keywords and pointing all the ads to your homepage are long gone.  Now, if your ad is about “treating depression in children,” you darn well better have the words “treating depression in children” well represented on the page your ad links to.  If the destination page that your ad clicks through to is not highly relevant to your ad, Google will do two things:  serve your ad less and charge you more!  If your ad is highly relevant to the page it links to, Google will serve the ad more and charge you LESS per click — rewarding relevancy.


Actually, the question comes back to marketing and sales basics.  What are your objectives?  How quickly do you need results?  How important is tracking ROI?  And what’s your budget?

This recent article about PPC dominating organic results (“The War on Free Clicks…”) is a bit troubling but not surprising.  Basically, Google depends on PPC revenue so it only makes sense that they would begin to tip the scales in favor of giving more real estate on the SERPs to PPC results at the expense of free, organic listings.

So what’s the bottom line?  If you’re going to do a PPC campaign you better be ready to spend some cash.  We recommend spending at least $1,000 a month with a 3-month commitment.  Anything less will be like spitting in the ocean — it won’t be enough to make an impact.  But if you can swing it, PPC will drive instant traffic and, if you have a clear call to action, instant leads and sales.  And the ability to track ROI is second to none.  You’ll know EXECTLY how much you paid for each sale or conversion.  Before setting up your PPC campaign, though, I would do some careful preparation to make sure your pages are relevant to your ads with the right amount of keywords and content, calls to action and a method of conversion (sale or lead capture).

Sounds a lot like SEO to me.

What’s been your experience?  Comment below.  And please feel free to help me spread the word by sharing this article with anyone who might find it useful.