The Value Proposition: SEO vs. PPC

The reason people do PPC is either to get traffic that converts to a sale or as part of an exercise to get a brand known. For these purposes, PPC is a valuable marketing activity that can yield immense profits for your business.

Unfortunately, we’ve lost count of how many PPC campaigns we’ve reviewed that are unprofitable or unquantifiable. A significant portion of PPC campaigns are set up wrong or shouldn’t have been set up at all.

The math is simple: if a product makes a £12 profit per sale and the average cost per visitor is £2.00 then you need a sale every six visitors to break even.

The fact is that not every business should do PPC because the average cost per visitor is too high, and the conversion rate too low, for it to be profitable.


SEO is another kettle of fish entirely. The reason people do SEO is to develop a long-term flow of traffic versus a short-term flow of traffic.

With search engine optimisation, your website’s pages are ranked in Google’s search results organically; you don’t pay to be there, and your place is based on merit.

Whereas PPC is a paid service that requires a constant flow of money and builds no equity (rankings), it’s free to hold organic rankings in Google, and keyword targeting enables you to build up your search engine visibility over time.

From a professional perspective, it’s clear to see that SEO offers a greater long-term value proposition than PPC. One organic ranking could drive hundreds of sales to your business, for free, while paying for those clicks would take a slice of the pie.

However, PPC has its place so long as it’s profitable.

An integrated approach

SEO and PPC can go together perfectly in multiple scenarios when strategically aligned – but only when the PPC campaign is profitable.

For example:

  • At the early stage of your business, PPC could drive sales to your business as your SEO strategy develops and builds value over time.
  • For mature businesses, PPC can fuel promotions and marketing campaigns, test the market for demand and help shift stock fast.

SEO is the bedrock of every online business, providing a long-term flow of traffic that can be increased with content production. PPC is a short-term solution for sales, with a measurable solution that can be turned on and off.

So, these two marketing activities are both lucrative opportunities, serving different kinds of marketing strategies with different results.

Which is better?

If we’re measuring clicks, organic listings produce 20X more clicks than PPC ads on desktop and 10X more clicks on mobile.

If we’re measuring cost, traffic from SEO is free while traffic from PPC costs money, so SEO is clearly cheaper and has better value. Although SEO might cost time and money, it provides a significantly larger ROI over the long term.

At this point, we would usually say do both, but with PPC you really do need to nail down your profit margin, cost per click and conversion rate.

Get in touch with us to discuss PPC and SEO for your business.