SEO vs PPC – Understand the Difference in Impact and Contribution Margin

Both organic and paid marketing efforts can benefit your company, but as your needs evolve, so should your strategies. Every business can benefit from a mixed tactic, and some of the core elements of each are fundamental to successful marketing.

For example, there are many organic search engine optimization strategies’ that are really just standard practice. These are fundamental to success regardless of how you direct traffic to your site. To help you better differentiate the practices and determine which ones are best for your business, this article will offer a basic definition of organic SEO, PPC campaigns and touch upon the potential economic impacts of each.

Search Engine Optimization for Organic Traffic

Just as the word means ‘all natural’ in the food industry, organic digital marketing uses free strategies to optimize a website and make it rank higher without paying for a place.

Google is the world’s number one search engine, so all modern SEO strives to improve a website for the company’s current algorithm. An algorithm is never fully known to the public, but it is a general set of practices that Google favors highly.

By optimizing your site according to the most current SEO best practices, you’ll be more likely to rank on the first page or earn one of those coveted featured snippets. A free SEO audit can help you identify what areas of your website are currently outdated or even working against your rank on SERPs (search engine results pages).


The most obvious advantage of an organic strategy is that it’s free. If you have a low marketing budget, are a small business or are just starting to build a brand, then these practices are right for you. It’s also less expensive overall, resulting in higher profits per lead and a greater ROI.

You shouldn’t even think about paying for traffic to your site if it doesn’t have the SEO fundamentals in place. The results of good SEO are also long-standing. You’ll find that once you develop a strong organic strategy for your business, it serves you for years to come. You’ll still have to make routine updates, but you won’t need to constantly overhaul your entire site or build campaigns from the ground-up to generate traffic.


The biggest drawback for natural SEO is that it takes a long time to bring big results. The type of economic growth most companies want to see does not naturally occur in a few weeks through organic SEO unless you get lucky and manage to go viral somewhere on social media. Although targeting trends in your niche can bring greater traffic on a regular basis, the strongest results tend to come several months after optimizing your site and strategy.

Paid Marketing and SEM

Paid marketing, namely PPC, is the act of paying for customers to see your advertising. PPC means pay-per-click, so you are charged to have your site shown at the top of SERPs for certain keywords and charged a small fee every time a viewer clicks on your URL.

It’s a form of outbound marketing that can get your company’s name on the first page on the first day. You won’t be waiting long to see traffic rolling in, but it can fall flat if your content doesn’t meet your new visitors’ expectations.

PPC Benefits

The fastest way to build a brand is through exposure, and you’ll gain the greatest level of awareness and visibility through PPC. Rather than using keywords to hope people discover your site naturally, PPC campaigns allow you to reach your audience directly through targeted keywords pulled from search engine results.

You’ll find out exactly what’s popular among your target audience all the way down to specific phrasings. This can really help you pull in a large amount of people quickly, and that can lead to a strong ROI and even greater contribution margin.

PPC Cons

Pay-per-click marketing is expensive for any business to run, it can wind up being entirely ineffective if you run ads but have poor quality content. It requires a great deal of forethought and planning to be successful, so you have to make sure that you are ready to support an influx of potential consumers before you pay for any clicks.

Despite the added preparations, however, PPC does have the fastest turnarounds. If visibility is your biggest challenge, then PPC is likely the best marketing solution. Just know that if you don’t have content that converts, you’ll either waste your entire budget getting seen or lose far more than you gain.

Which Strategy Is Best for Your Business: PPC vs SEO?

Good SEO never goes out of style. No matter how much money you want to make or how much you have to spend, you should always address organic efforts first. They are longer standing and generate traffic for years at a stretch whereas PPC campaigns are over as soon as you stop funding them.

Depending on your industry, paying per click can either be relatively affordable or a massive expense. Organic practices are always free whether you’re a one-person startup or enterprise. Each strategy has its pros and cons, and you should never look to one or the other as a total solution for your company’s marketing efforts. To address the impact on profit, you need to set up a quality CRM that tracks how effective your current efforts are, where leads are coming from and how you can optimize your present strengths.


For companies without a marketing division, extensive research is required to see the best results. Hiring a qualified digital agency to manage all your on-site copy and blog content is the best way to rank higher naturally, and it will also lead to higher conversion rates in any future PPC campaigns.

The bottom line is that a good digital marketing strategy contains both free and paid components. They complement rather than compete with one another. By integrating the most effective measures for your unique company and audience, you’ll be able to earn more per lead and see a greater, sustained conversion rate.

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