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What’s Better? Paid Ads vs. Organic SEO

Paid Ads vs. Organic SEO

Paid Ads vs. Organic SEO

“Can we talk?” is an example of a powerful phrase. It stops you in your tracks when someone asks, and it can let another person know you want more information. 

Your digital marketing strategy should be powerful too. It should utilize the most effective channels:

  • Apps
  • Display advertising
  • Email
  • Search engines
  • Social media platforms
  • Websites

…and achieve goals-oriented results:

  • Brand awareness
  • Conversions
  • Customer engagement
  • Product/services promotion

Google AdWords and organic SEO strategies are both powerful tools. They seemingly have the same purpose. But they are quite different. Which one offers the greatest advantages? Which one is best for stopping internet visitors “in their tracks?” Which one has the highest success rate? When it comes to Paid Ads vs. Organic SEO, which one is right for you?

Google AdWords

The average small- and midsize-business invests
seven times more money into Google AdWords than SEO.

AdWords’ pay-per-click platform launched October 2000 and it had 350 advertisers. It was rebranded in 2018. Today, there are more than 7 million Google Ads sellers and their ads are trafficked by 80% of internet shoppers every day. 

The basic components of PPC advertising are:

  1. Keywords – Used to create ads
  2. Ads – Crafting creative, compelling ad copy that aligns with your landing page
  3. Landing page – Should engage the visitor and encourage action (buying, requesting information, etc.)
  4. Bid management – Your strategy for winning ad placement for less money
  5. Campaign settings – Includes budget, bid strategies, and target options (location/language, etc.)
  6. Ad extensions – Information/clickable links that increase visibility and click-through rate (example: call, location, sitelink extensions)

Conversion tracking – Monitoring and analyzing ad/website visitors to determine return on investment/future strategies

Website Marketing Analytics

Google Analytics is a platform that evaluates your website’s performance. Based on its analyses, Google may route traffic to your site. To develop GA traffic metrics for your website, the steps followed by Google are:

  1. Collection – Values are sent to GA using tracking codes.
  2. Processing – Collected values are processed to populate the final report.
  3. Reporting – Campaign/traffic metrics are sent to the web interface.

GA metrics can tell you how many users landed on your website within a certain amount of time. To learn more about where those website visitors came from, you need GA data descriptions or “dimensions.” Those session-scoped dimensions can tell you how much traffic came from Google, Facebook, and/or other marketing campaigns.

Once you’ve determined the major sources of your website traffic, you can improve pain points. Follow with a deeper dive into Google Analytics that includes customer persona (DIYers can try HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool.), customer behavior, and evaluating customer feedback.

The main advantage of Paid Ads vs. Organic SEO is this:

Paid Google AdWords campaigns generate response results faster. PPC gives you more control over target audiences and delivers immensely satisfying data with which to measure success.

PPC is complex and without professional supervision, it’s easy for the costs to get out of hand before you know what’s happening. Paid advertising success is directly proportional to spend. In other words, money talks…

Search Engine Optimization

SEO success measurements take a longer time to deliver. And because the internet is getting crowded with SMBs fighting for SEO-based rankings, even the best content and website design can get lost in the shuffle. Search engine optimization has become more of a crapshoot than a sure thing. 

The basic components of SEO are:

  1. Keywords – Identifying words/phrases target audience will use
  2. On-page optimization – Optimizing website page titles, headers, metas, content, etc.
  3. Content – High-quality, original content and regular website updates critical 
  4. Link-building – High-quality inbound links for greater search engine relevance
  5. Technical – Optimizing your website’s backend (architecture, mobile-friendliness, speed, structured data)
  6. Local optimization – Geographic targeting, online reviews, local listings
  7. Analytics – Making data-driven business decisions (bounce rate, conversion rate, keyword rankings, organic traffic, etc.)

Despite the traffic congestion, an SEO campaign is a solid, time-tested marketing strategy.

The main advantage of Paid Ads vs. Organic SEO is this:

It’s free. It requires less management – you don’t have to turn it on or off – and it generates higher click-through rates. The benefits of an SEO strategy last far longer than paid advertising.

Objective-Based Marketing Strategies

SEO and Google AdWords are the leading internet marketing tools. You should consider choosing one, the other, or both based on your objectives:






SEO necessary for long-term recognition; PPC has immediate Google visibility

Broad audience


Combined with media ads reaches more people in short time



Lower-cost SEO for sustained traffic



Need both to gain competitive edge

Local promo


Especially good for business expansion & geographic targeting

New product


PPC creates immediate awareness while SEO is an investment in long-term results

Niche market


Strong keyword-use for higher rankings

Short-term promo


Immediate results

Time-targeted promos/events


Fast results with immediate positioning



SEO generates relevance/authoritativeness for positive brand-building 

Can We Talk?

Ongoing professional management is critical to both Google AdWords and SEO campaigns. You may ask yourself, Paid Ads vs. Organic SEO, which is right for me? The fact is you can benefit greatly from both. Let’s build your business the best way – the right way – by defining your marketing and media goals. 

Call 512-632-5662 or contact Modern Marketing & Media.


Two of the frequently asked questions we receive about website traffic are:

You can use a free keyword generator. The keyword generator sites have different approaches, but basically, just enter your general topic, and the tool produces a list. 

Top keyword sites are:

  • Ahrefs
  • GoogleAds
  • SEMrush
  • Surfer
  • Ubersuggest

Professional, full-time management is key, but to get started creating a PPC Google AdWords campaign, try this:

  1. Identify your goals.
  2. Research keywords.
  3. Evaluate your competitors.
  4. Design display advertising components.
  5. Choose a bidding strategy.
  6. Target your audience and tracking methods.

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