Paid Search vs SEO: What Are the Differences?

In 2020, American businesses spent nearly $80 billion on SEO and almost $40 billion on search ads.

While SEO is in the lead money-wise, is it the best option for every business? Or are you better to invest in paid search ads?

To help you decide, here is a paid search Vs. SEO guide comparing both options side by side.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization.

It means proactively taking action to help get your website pages to the top spots on Google. These are known as the “organic” results as they sit below the ads you see right at the top when you run a search on Google.

You’ll need to do many tasks to get those coveted top spots. That includes:

  • Keyword research
  • Adding the keyword to your page title and metadata
  • Having a fast-loading site
  • Creating high-quality, relevant content
  • Having a mobile-friendly site
  • Having lots of backlinks to your site from reputable websites
  • Getting your content shared on social media

As you can see, there’s a lot of work to get a page rank on Google and plenty of competition. That’s why many businesses hire specialist providers of SEO services to help them rank.

Advantages of SEO

Why choose SEO over paid search? Here are some of the advantages that set SEO apart from paid ads:

  • Once you rank for a popular keyword, it’s free traffic
  • With the right SEO advice, the traffic tends to grow gradually over time
  • It’s great for your brand because a high ranking makes you look like a market leader

So how does this compare with paid search? Let’s look at some of the differences.

What is Paid Search?

If you don’t like the idea of tweaking your website to get a high ranking, you do have another option. And that’s to pay to get your website featured in those top ad spots you see on a search results page. That’s known as a paid ad.

To run paid ads, you set a fee and choose the keywords you want to target. There are many other ad options to customize, but those are the basic ones.

Advantages of Paid Search

You know the advantages of SEO, but what about the benefits of paid search? Here are ways paid search differs from SEO:

  • You’ll get immediate results as you’ll start getting traffic as soon as your campaign is up and running
  • You can reach competitive keywords that you might find difficult to access with SEO
  • Paid search is relatively simple to set up compared to the work it takes to optimize a website for organic search

As you can see, the critical difference between the two options is speed versus cost. You can get immediate results, but you’ll pay to get that. On a shoestring budget, you may work hard at SEO to get the traffic you need.

Paid Search Vs. SEO

Now you understand the difference between paid search Vs. SEO, it’s time to decide what’s right for your business. There is no correct answer. Every business owner will have their unique priorities.

If you’d like more tips on how to get customers to your website, why not head over to our business section now?

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