AdWords vs. SEO: Which Is Better For Your Business?

SEO and AdWords are the core components of SEM (Search Engine Marketing) today. They are also among the most important tools when it comes to digital marketing campaigns. While they have huge similarities and differences, their applications have always pitted the online marketers into an unending debate on which is better. Therefore, which is better for your business? In this post, we demystify SEO and AdWords to establish how they operate and establish the better option for you.

What exactly is AdWords?

This is an advertising platform run by Google. It allows marketers to place their ads on Google Search Result Product to visitors. As an advertiser, the marketer has the option to pay every time that a visitor clicks his adverts placed on websites that participate in AdWords program. This is referred as PPC (Pay-Per-Click).  Consider AdWords model like a big auction where advertisers are competing for limited advertising space.

Google Economic Impact Report Indicates that businesses that use AdWords make an average of $2 for every $1 they use on AdWords. Another study done by Search Engine Watch found that 72% of marketers who use AdWords plan to increase their spending on PPC because of positive results.  This means that the potential of AdWords is very high when implemented correctly. However get it wrong and you’ll literally be throwing money down the drain.

Main pros of using AdWords

  • The ads appear on the top and bottom of Google search results. This means that you do not have to worry about ranking like in SEO.
  • AdWords makes it easier to calculate ROI. Many marketers even have the opportunity to plan for respective PPC budgets.
  • AdWords allow marketers to advertise on Google sites as well as others that use Google Adsense.
  • The results from AdWords are more prompt compared to those of SEO.

Disadvantages of using AdWords

  • The traffic from AdWords is paid for based on clicks from visitors.
  • The moment you stop using AdWords, the traffic drops promptly.
  • Setting an AdWords campaign that generates results is very complicated.
  • Segmenting your marketing campaign is very difficult when using AdWords.

What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a marketing method that mainly focuses on getting content that is relevant to search engines. The main objective of SEO is helping your business to get better ranking on natural and organic search results. If you implement SEO optimization appropriately, it helps to grow links and customer engagement.

According to Pole Position Marketing, bigger companies are likely to implement SEO strategies compared to the small ones. In 2014 and 2015, Pole Position Marketing found that about 30% of businesses with 10 or fewer employees are likely to implement an SEO strategy. However, this percentage goes up to 45% for businesses with more than 11 employees.

Pros of using AdWords

  • SEO delivers a progressive flow of free and highly targeted traffic. This is different from AdWords that requires users to pay for every click or 1000 impressions.
  • SEO provides the business greater exposure especially to the audiences looking for solutions.
  • Search Engine Optimization traffic provides a bigger opportunity for conversion.
  • SEO helps users to spur business growth through developing brand community.
  • SEO continues driving traffic even after stopping to post content.
  • It is the best platform to raise your brand authority in the industry.

Cons of using SEO in your business

  • Getting results from SEO takes a lot of time.
  • You have to wait for long before realizing ROI (Return on Investment).
  • While AdWords might be seen to take more because payment is calculated based on clicks or impressions, SEO is equally expensive, especially in competitive niches.
  • You do not have a guarantee for ranking on the first pages.
  • The marketer does not have control of SEO and also risks getting penalized for not following changing search engine rules.

The final take

To establish whether to use AdWords or SEO, you need to review the business goals and targets carefully. If you only have a small budget or the business is at start-up, consider starting with SEO and using AdWords after reaching a certain level of growth to use both. Here, the secret is not to look at SEO and AdWords as contrasting marketing strategies. Rather, you should marry them to enjoy the benefits that come from each. If you simply go with one option, the chances are that you will miss high traffic and other benefits that come from the other. Once you have decided to use AdWords, SEO or both, ensure to set targets and review them progressively over time.