SEO vs Paid Search Advertising: Which is the Best Investment?

Do you often compare ‘SEO’ vs ‘PPC’ to learn which option is better for your business?

It can come off as a tricky question for you all. We do not want to give off an expression that one might be better than the other.

However, there has always been a conflict between deciding which option is better when it comes to brands tacking their digital marketing. However, the only way to find out is by weighing which option will provide benefit to our goal.

For this purpose, we have come up with a few points that might help you to make a better choice. Now, you can make the best investments in terms of your company’s unique objectives.

What does search engine optimization (SEO) do?

Search engine optimization is the process of increasing your website\’s and webpage’s visibility in search engine organic results. This way, when you search your website, it will pop up in search engines such as Google and Firefox, etc.

It helps when you are trying to get your websites to rank higher and your brand to take up more space on search engine’s result pages. This is done by optimizing your web content to please search engine algorithms that determine the quality of your sites.

For example, you search ‘SEO companies in Pakistan’ and the list of the results pops down on your google page. You can find different links to the website easily.

Benefits of search engine optimization (SEO)

  • It requires less maintenance
  • Long-term costs are lower
  • Produces consistent and sustainable traffic
  • Helps the brand to build credibility and trust
  • Larger potential reach
  • Long-term ROI is higher

Drawbacks of search engine optimization (SEO) 

  • SEO Takes long time to produce results.
  • Not effective for time-sensitive content
  • Analytics are provided vaguely
  • Allows limited performance control

What does paid search do?

The word ‘Paid search’ speaks for itself. It is a process where you pay money to improve the visibility of your website on search engines. Apart from paid search, it is also known as PPC advertising or pay-per-click ads.

The main idea here is to have the sponsored ads appear at the top of the search engine results page. This tactic is fulfilled using keywords.

For example, you search ‘Nestle’ on google, and at the very top of search results, you will be able to see ‘Ads’ mentioned next to the websites. Those are paid searches.

For our convenience, many browsers like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, etc. enables pay-per-click (PPC) advertising options.

Furthermore, if you are worried about the cost then worry not. It’s simple! Costs are usually incurred when the results are clicked or viewed by a large number of people. It is also referred to as CPC (cost-per-click) and CPM (cost-per-thousand).

Benefits of paid search

  • Delivers outcomes quickly
  • Efficient for time-sensitive content
  • Gives you control over your performance
  • Gives in-depth analyses
  • Short term ROI is higher

Drawbacks of paid search

  • Short term is pricey
  • Can require extra maintenance
  • Requires a bigger budget
  • Becomes less effective with time

The main difference between SEO and paid search ads

The significant differences between search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search ads are following:

  1. Placement cost
  2. Key performance indicators
  3. Latest states of CTR

SEO vs Paid search: Placement cost

If we talk about the main differences between the SEO and Paid search that can affect the results of the search engine’s results generated upon the queries of the users, then the cost of the placement might be called the bigger one.

As we know that Paid search consists of a direct cost and that has to be applied in the businesses to get their ads to appear on the results of search engines by using the algorithm of CCP and CPM. That can cause the cost of paid search to get higher in no time. 

Although the results against the paid search are quicker you have to pay an amount that may go beyond your budget.

On the other hand, SEO has no such cost. Although search engines provide free placement in organic results and you can get the long term and consistent results through SEO but as everything comes with a cost, you have to invest some of the amounts in it as well to get the online content and to maintain it.

SEO vs Paid search: Key Performance Indicators

In terms of analyzing and implementing strategies on keywords of content to get it prominent in the eyes of Google, we can use the two best Key performance indicators (KPIs) for both SEO and PPC that are:

  • CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • CVR (Conversion Rate)

CTR (Click Through Rate)

Clicks / Impressions = CTR

It is calculated when the number of clicks that your ad has received is divided by the number of times your ad is shown.

CVR (Conversion Rate)

CVR or Conversion Rate is the term called after how many people have seen your ad, clicked on it, and then converted it into some specified action.

It is calculated when the number of conversions is divided by the number of impressions and then multiplying the total by 100.

SEO vs Paid search: Latest States of CTR

The latest data suggests that the first spot of top results provided by Google Search Engines has a CTR of average 31.7%. Whereas the Paid ads on Google have an average CTR of 5% and their average CVR is 3.75%.

What is the best strategy for your business goals?

As explained in the article, we have mentioned all the pros and cons of both Search Engine Strategies; SEO and Paid Search. Although both strategies are great to follow and each of them has its own shining points but still it is up to the users to think and make a choice about which strategy suits their business best.

Here is the list of popular brands we have created to further help you to determine which of the strategy you should be better off implementing

Goal: Instant Results

Paid search

The fastest and immediate way to generate results is definitely PPC. When you search for something on your browser, it is quick to give you a list of options according to your needs. To be frank, it is quite annoying when other websites get in your way while searching. This is where paid search saves you and your time.

On the other hand, SEO can take a while, but it comes with positive results. But again, PPC is a quicker approach.

As a result, if you are looking for a short-term solution to advertise your services, then paid search is the way to go.

For instance, there is a sale on sapphire’s summer collection. Your ad is both time-sensitive and seasonal. Under these circumstances, PPC advertising is the best option.

Goal:  Exposure


In terms of getting more reliable and potential reach, SEO has the edge over PPC.

With the help of little additional effort and costing SEO strategy will allow your website to rank on multiple sites of search engines against multiple types of search queries

Goal:  Audience Targeting

Paid Search

PPC marketing strategy has the vastest and comprehensive way of targeting your specific audience. It can reach the selected audience in such an effective way that you can go into more niches and that can help the visibility of the business quite well as compared to using SEO.

By investing in PPC advertising you can make sure that your ad is reaching the right audience. By keeping in mind the genre of your business, you can select your traffic through the right categories such as age, place, gender, interests, likes, and dislikes, location, income, device, language and much more.

Goal: Credibility


EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). Search engines emphasize these three terms a lot. A business approved by search engines promises the credibility of the advertised business to the audience. That’s why Google has offered a number of algorithms to follow in order to maintain the trust and credibility of the provided content. The greater the content, the higher is the rank of the business approved by Google. Low-quality content, plagiarism, misleading and incorrect information can lead to low rank in search engines and can affect the rank of the business as Google penalizes such sites providing lame content.

Goal:  Budget


Right SEO has a long-term impact on search engine results. As compared to PPC marketing, you don’t need to invest a large amount to give your traffic a boost. Just follow the Google algorithms to write your content and with just a little effort and cost, you can get the desired results.

Goal:  Effort


You must be familiar with Google AdWords and Bing Ads for being the most popular PPC advertising tools. For your convenience, it is very simple to use as it requires less time and effort. All it requires is configuring audience parameters.

In comparison to PPC ads, SEO is a long-term process. You can configure SEO initials during the website development time. The only issue here is the change in the algorithm. Therefore, you must update and maintain it frequently. 

Goal: competition

SEO and PPC ads

We know today’s marketplace is full of competition. Everyone seems to be in a competition to win. However, in terms of SEO and Paid search, we are not sure what our competitors must be doing. In this case, it is better to stay ahead rather than finding of our competitor’s business. 

Brands these days have different approaches to their customers while using both SEO and paid ads. Therefore, to improve your skills you can learn the following steps:

  • Use SEO to attract new customers to your website or webpage. Once they visit your website, you can use PPC to sell your goods. This is a very clever approach yet effective.
  • You can use the keywords from PPC campaigns that attract customers. Later, use those keywords as hashtags and titles in your SEO.
  • Since you are using both SEO and PPC, you can use them both for your advantage. For instance, since PPC provides instant analytics, you can use the details and further apply them to your SEO strategy.

Conclusion: Both options are equally good

The question remains: which option is better? SEO or paid search?

The answer to this is both SEO and Paid search are equally great. When it comes to the benefit factor, SEO and Paid search can benefit you in different ways.

Furthermore, you should learn you can benefit your brand and business in different ways using both approaches. Now, you would not want to bury yourself in a burden, would you? For this reason, take baby steps.

You can apply your strategy by listing your goals the way you like. From there, you can work your way through top to bottom until you have reached your intended goal.

Lastly, if you are a very competitive person then you should use both SEO and paid search to make maximum benefit of your business.

John C. Maxwell was right when he said teamwork makes the dream work! Hence, go for both SEO and paid search.