What’s Better for Your Business? SEO OR PPC? – Northwest Arkansas Digital Marketing

Online Marketing Services in Bentonville

You’re a business owner and want to spend your digital marketing dollars wisely. Let’s compare SEO and PPC and see what each does, so those digital marketing dollars give you the best return.

First, an important point to make is neither is better. It’s more a question of what does each cost and what gives you the larger return on investment. It goes back to what we said in the opening, where best to spend those digital marketing dollars for the biggest return.

Let’s take a look at both.


If you are looking for a fast strike that’s simple to implement and easy to analyze, then PPC is a good fit. Keep in mind, for all these benefits, it can be a pricey deal.

You must be willing to invest in PPC all the time, for it to be effective. Any paid networks you use, such as Google or Bing, have to be funded constantly for PPC to continue. If you’re advertising in a hotly competitive market, clicks can get quite pricey. Yes, you may be getting results, but to keep it going …well, you get the picture.

Tread carefully when people try to prop up PPC with theoretical returns. Be realistic in the conversion rate, anything hovering around 5% could be a dream. Analyze what you expect realistically, so you can figure out if PPC can boost that conversion rate for you.

Focus on your specific industry and business model to measure the cost effectiveness of all factors.

Comparing ROI

Both PPC and SEO strategies involve targeting keywords. With PPC, you pay a website like Google to showcase you because you paid for it. In SEO, your organic results are just that, organic and not paid for.

Now, let’s see how we compare the two since money isn’t a direct measure.

There are three key metrics:

Cost per Visitor
Cost per Conversion*
Total Average

Here’s how to use the formula, which will provide a top level analysis of your best performer for the lowest cost.

Cost / Conversion      =    Organic Totals
Cost / Traffic         =    Paid Totals

*The definition of a conversion will vary from business to business. It should be based on true conversions of how many potential customers acquired turn into paying customers.

Let’s give an example with some hard numbers.

If you spent $14,000
Had Conversions of 400
And Traffic Was 6,600

Cost per Conversion  $35
Cost per Visitor      $2.12

If you spent $45,000
Had Conversions of 415
And Traffic Was 4,100

Cost per Conversion  $108.43
Cost per Visitor      $10.98

Use your current digital marketing stats and plug them into this model for a realistic snapshot of what is working for you and what isn’t.

SEO vs PPC Conclusions

In the above example, it’s clear that SEO garners about the same number of conversions for a fraction of the cost of PPC. SEO also has a longer lasting effect, as once you post organically, it stays there unless you manually remove it. PPC is something that is funded to stay on, no funding it goes off.

The key to using SEO effectively is researching and selecting what  keywords you want to grow organically. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and stilted language. Today’s organic SEO is information that positions you as a thought leader in your industry. By placing organic (natural sounding) keywords in material, that are contextually relevant to the website, the search engines are going to SWOON over your content.

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