Search Engine Optimisation vs. Pay-Per-Click: The Final Showdown

As online marketing heavyweights, both search engine optimisation and pay-per-click are worthy contenders, but who will claim the title in this digital Rumble in the Jungle?

Many marketers butt heads with their clients over the role of search engine optimisation in a comprehensive content marketing strategy. After all, clients see instant results from pay-per-click, so why should marketers favour search engine optimisation?

Let’s look at why search engine optimisation is a likely favourite in a fight between the two:

Who weighs in as the heavier contender?  

According to BrightEdge data, “organic search was the largest driver of traffic to websites across sectors studied, and the largest driver of revenue – even over paid search – in most sectors studied.” The thing is that customers trust organic search results more than they do paid-for ads. Because high-ranking Google search results are placed there by an objective mediator – Google – customers see these as being more trustworthy, and are therefore more likely to click through to those sites. This helps explain the long-term benefits companies derive from implementing a solid search engine optimisation strategy.

Search engine optimisation is not a quick win.

Building your organic rankings takes hard work and diligence. However, by creating a kickass content marketing strategy that supports your search engine optimisation efforts, you will see the longevity of its benefits: lower costs over time and a trusted, sustainable ranking. You won’t find yourself occupying the top rankings overnight, but you will enjoy better results in the long run.

Paid search ads guarantee visibility – for a price.

If you would like to see instant results, pay-per-click might seem like a good bet. Sitewit says, “[the] top 3 paid ad spots get 41% of the clicks on the page.”Thus, to see ROI from a pay-per-click campaign you need to aim to get your ads ranking in the top three. However, the instant gratification offered by paid search ads’ ability to rank almost immediately comes at a price: costs can snowball when Google changes its algorithms.

Pay-per-click sees its best results when you dedicate time to continuously optimising ads to keep costs under control. It’s also great for promoting launches or special offers and building brand awareness, but organic rankings will eventually drive more revenue to your business – and at a lower cost.

And the winner is…  

It’s the final round in this match. Pay-per-click comes from the far left and search engine optimisation from the right. Pay-per-click fires off a quick jab-cross combo, catching search engine optimisation off guard and putting him on the ropes. But search engine optimisation comes back and responds with a surprise haymaker blow that sends pay-per-click sprawling onto the canvas. The ref announces a K.O.

For best results, search engine optimisation and paid search campaigns should work together.

But wait: it’s not over. Search engine optimisation helps pay-per-click to his feet. When search engine optimisation and pay-per-click work together, they deliver the results you need from your online marketing efforts. When implemented correctly, they support each other. If your brand wants a strong online presence to raise its bottom line, it needs to  make the best use of both.

It can help to have some experts on hand when deciding how to use search engine optimisation and pay-per-click together effectively. Outsourcing to a digital marketing agency might be your best option. If you’re not sure whether outsourcing to an agency is the right choice for your business, download our guide to offshoring and outsourcing your inbound marketing strategy, Effectively Scale Your Agency or Marketing Department, here.

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Author: Nikita Scott

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