This article was first published on April 27th, 2020, and was last updated December 2023.

In the world of digital marketing, SEO and PPC often stand together as one of the best ways to help get your business out there. SEO is more of a long-term, endgame strategy. PPC can starting bringing in results immediately. Both absolutely have their pros and cons, and can vary in usefulness depending on your ultimate goal.

Some agencies would have you believe that these two work against each other. But actually, they can work together very well to help maximize the reach of your business through search engines. Learn more in the article about PPC and SEO working together to bring long-term success.

What’s the Difference?

First off, we need to establish the difference between the two. Both SEO and PPC work to improve the online visibility of a website. Ultimately, both help bring more visitors to a website which hopefully leads to more conversions and customers. SEO is a process that can take several months to help a website rise organically in the search rankings. PPC can put you at the top of the advertising rankings instantly, and businesses pay for every click someone makes to take them to the website. 

SEO is done through relevant and engaging content on a website, as well as targeting specific keywords that a customer will search. Among other things, the process of SEO can take several months before a website reaches the first page. It matters because more than 90% of searchers never go to the second page of a Google search. 

It’s extremely important for any business to show up on the first page of the search results. And a doubly-whammy of SEO and PPC results that shows a website twice on the first page can be extremely beneficial. Essentially, you’re increasing your chances of a click to your website if you show up in both the paid and organic results.

Another key difference is the time. PPC can start bringing in traffic immediately. It’s a hyper-targeted campaign to reach what you believe should be your most-relevant customers. But that traffic can also dry up immediately as soon as you stop a campaign. Developing organic traffic can take six months or more. But the results stay even after you stop a campaign. Rankings will drop some time after stopping an SEO campaign, but it’s not a light switch reaction like a PPC campaign.

What is Good for PPC is Usually Good for SEO

Both SEO and PPC revolve around picking good keywords. It’s essentially what customers search for when they find your website. When you optimize your site for that keyword as well as running a PPC ad for it, you optimize your chance that customers will find it. Basically, you’re dominating the results for that particular keyword. 

Bidding and paying for keywords through a PPC campaign can give you insights into your SEO keywords as well. They keyword conversions you learn from PPC results can help feed what keywords you work on for SEO. And if you’re not getting the kinds of results from a PPC campaign keyword, then you can start optimizing for it through an SEO campaign.

A well executed PPC campaign can give you a lot of good insights to help you make better decisions in your SEO campaign. PPC campaigns through Google Adwords can give you an indication of clickthrough rate to your website, conversion rates, and the time on site as well. These kinds of insights ultimately help you make better decisions for your website in the future and what kinds of traffic you get. 

Should it Be One or the Other?

Of course at Boostability, we will always advocate for SEO as a great way to get more web traffic to your website. Yes, it does take a longer time to optimize, but the cost can be cut down because for every click on a PPC, that money is gone. Organic SEO is free once you put in the work. SEO can have an increasingly high ROI the longer you run a campaign. 

They are not always at odds. You can successfully have both, and they can work together very well when strategically put in place to complement one another.

If a searcher is just looking for general information or looking to purchase a product, branding can play a key role. They will often go to a website they’ve heard of before instead of something completely random. Having your website show up in both the paid and organic results can increase brand recognition. It also helps to build credibility and trust from searchers. 

Which One for Me?

If you’re a local business with very little competition, you likely won’t need a big campaign. Either some simple SEO or a basic PPC ad will do the trick. If you are competing against big national brands for your local product, SEO is likely your best bet. But if you’re looking for immediate leads, PPC will be the way to go.

You don’t need to have both an SEO campaign and a PPC campaign to succeed. They can complement each other well. And they can also help a business succeed online on their own. It just depends on your ultimate goal and what you’re trying to accomplish.

For additional information about SEO, call us or check out our website! We can help you gain greater visibility online!


Maja is the former SEO Manager for the marketing team at Boostability. After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in Marketing, her focus has been on expanding her knowledge and skill set in SEO. Prior to joining the corporate marketing team at Boostability, Maja gained experience working at several digital marketing agencies in Salt Lake City, focusing on SEO strategy development and fulfillment, as well as client account management. Working closely with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprise organizations, she has managed and executed SEO strategies for over 20 different company websites. Outside of work, Maja loves to go on hikes with her husband and dog, play volleyball, bake and cook, and try new restaurants throughout the city (she considers herself a fry-connoisseur).