SEO vs PPC: How To Distribute Your Efforts

17 February 9

Search engine optimisation is a long-term process, while pay per click can deliver very quick results. If you like, SEO is the tortoise to the PPC’s hare. Ideally, you’d like to have both working for you in perfect harmony but, in reality, resource and budget constraints may leave you with decisions to make about where to focus your efforts.

With that in mind, here are three questions to ask before you allocate your marketing budget.

How much traffic am I getting right now and where is it coming from?

Admittedly, this is two questions in one but they work in tandem. You need to know how many unique visitors your website is receiving over your chosen time period and how they come to reach your website.

If you’re already getting the bulk of your visitors from organic search then it’s reasonable to assume that your current SEO is doing its job and, while you can never afford to take your eye completely off the ball with it, you can probably afford to give it a boost with PPC advertising.

If, however, you find that you’re heavily dependent on PPC and/or affiliate marketing, then it may be a strong sign that you need to put a lot more effort into improving your organic search results to make yourself less vulnerable to competition for PPC keywords and give yourself longer term unpaid traffic.

What’s happening once people reach my website?

Each business will need to decide for itself what its key performance indicators should be but, for the most part, they will probably revolve around the level of traffic and the percentage of conversions.

If your website is already performing well, you might want to consider forging ahead with PPC advertising to bring in more revenue. If, however, you’re finding that you’re getting the traffic but not getting the conversions, you need to prioritise your website and work out why visitors are leaving without converting. This could be down to a number of reasons, such as poor UX, irrelevant landing pages or slow loading time.

Here, we can also take into consideration the first and last click attribution model. This is a term we hear a lot and we discussed in detail at the recent LEARN: PPC workshop. Just because we see the last click coming from organic, that is not to say the user didn’t first discover the brand through a PPC ad. It’s important to take into consideration the full user journey by looking at both the first and last click.

What are my overall goals and time horizons?

Again, this is something you need to decide for yourself and it’s important in deciding where to spend your resources. As a rule of thumb, however, the shorter your time horizon, the more you are likely to need to lean towards focusing on PPC, for the simple reason that SEO takes time to bring results.

By contrast, the longer your time horizon, the more likely it is that SEO would be a more appropriate option because, unlike PPC, where any competitor has the ability to outbid you, your SEO results are earned through good practice and Google will recognise this.

If you would like to learn more about how to distribute your marketing budget more effectively, get in touch with Alice on and our team will be happy to talk through some ideas.