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So…your business understands that search is an important component in your marketing mix. The next step is to develop your Internet marketing strategies. Do you invest in organic search engine optimization (SEO) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search engine advertising? Which strategy offers the best return on investment for your company?

Sometimes the answer is quite simple. If you are a publisher or wish to promote your blog, SEO is a good investment. Whereas if you have an eCommerce site, you should allocate your budget towards search engine advertising. But what if your company offers services – then what?

seo vs ppc

For those who are just getting started, here are some basic questions to ask yourself.

1. Are you looking for long-term or quick results?
A PPC campaign can be up and running long before you see results from optimizing your site for search. Organic SEO can take two to six months before you see improvements in your search engine ranking.

2. What is your budget?

Google AdWords and other paid search marketing programs cost money whereas appearing in the “unpaid” listings in a search engine results page (SERP) does not. However, if you require the services of a search engine optimizer or a PPC consultant you will incur costs here as well.

3. How important is visitor trust?
Getting visitors or “clicks” still remains considerably higher in organic search rather than paid search. Web searchers feel that non-sponsored results are unbiased and earned whereas anyone can buy a sponsored ad.

Most websites can benefit from SEO. When your site can be found for specific keywords, you will likely receive more inbound links naturally. An optimized site for search also helps your quality score in a PPC campaign. Thus giving you a better return on your investment. Paid search can also be a good investment when you are waiting for your SEO results to take effect. And…a Google AdWords campaign can be a good trouble-shooting tool providing you with data – which in turn can help with your search engine optimization campaign.

Where should you put your resources? It is likely not SEO versus PPC advertising – but a strategic combination of both methods. In other words, invest in search engine marketing (SEM).