SEO vs Google Ads: Which is Best for you?

Comparing SEO and Google Ads is like comparing apples to oranges - both help to get your brand on search engine page results in front of prospective customers, both help to generate more business and both require in depth search engine knowledge and expertise.

SEO (or search engine optimisation) works to get your site higher in Google's organic listings so that you rank above competition when a potential customer types in queries that are applicable to your business. Google Ads on the other hand, allow you to specifically target particular keywords & phrases and then create an ad that promotes your site and content for those using those set of keywords (or similar keywords, depending on the match type used).

Both of these channels can drastically help enhance your overall visibility in Search Engines, but it is important to remember that trying to determine which route is best is like comparing apples to oranges. A strong and lasting digital presence for your business requires you to use both channels and craft a strategy that can employ the two together to maximise the online potential of the brand.

Should I use Google Ads or SEO?

What are the different roles of SEO & Google Ads?

SEO and Ads have unique but complementary roles. The discipline of SEO management revolves around making your site appealing for customers as well as creating content that addresses their needs and engages them. This not only involves the blog content and website material you write, or the vlogs and videos you create, it also involves optimising the websites layout and design to ensure that it is user-friendly, and easy to navigate, moving users through your site in a logical way. Not to mention a plethora of other optimisations such as site speed, crawlability, back link profiles, meta data, schema mark ups and much more! If done correctly, each of these optimisations work together month on month to help your business rise up in organic rankings.
Note: SEO is a long term strategy and provides free organic traffic.

Google Ads, on the other hand, are a form of online display advertising hosted within both Google's search engine and around the web (on google certified websites). This cost per click ad is displayed to users who type in particular keywords on the search engines, allowing you to target users interested in particular topics. The sheer volume of keywords and specificity of targeting makes Google Ads a prime channel for targeting a large volume and variety of user searches, making it a channel second to none for testing and research, along with sales. The immediacy of Google Ads, therefore, can help you gain the visibility you want for important keywords, even before you have the site reputation and SEO rankings needed to see results from your organic efforts. Combine both SEO and SEM to maximise SERP real estate. 
Note: Google Ads is both a short & long term marketing method and provides pay per click traffic.

Do Google Ads help with a websites SEO?

When implemented correctly, Google Ads and SEO can work extremely well together. Businesses that accurately track their rankings and organic traffic can strategically use Ads to increase visibility for important keywords, driving paid traffic where they do not have the organic ranking to get on Page 1. Google Ads can also be used to test consumer response to particular keywords. For example, brands can create ads for keywords that they are considering optimising for. They can then track the customers who click on the ad and see how well they respond to the landing page and the rest of the site. Keywords that bring in visitors with higher conversion rates and more engagement will then take a higher priority to those that do not see as much success.

Similarly, keyword data from SEO efforts can also be used to find the right opportunities for Ads. Uncovering keywords that have high search volumes, but that also have high competition -- meaning that it will be difficult for a site to earn a slot on the front page of the SERP -- will likely be good candidates for Ads campaigns. This refinement process can be done across both the major search engines as well as newer avenues for SEO work like vertical and native search engines.

The Bottom Line

So should you invest in Google Ads, SEO or both? In an ideal world and budget allowing, all brands would invest in both, along with social media advertising, influencer marketing and the likes. However, this clearly isn't always possible. So which do you go for?

Well, what are your goals? Do you need fast traffic and immediate exposure? Would you like to really get to know your audience by researching their search engine habits and keyword usage? Do you need to test the UX of your website? If so, then Google Ads may be your best bet.

Or are you looking to solidify your brand in search engine results for the long term organically? Do you understand the intrinsic benefit of long term investment and slow but continually building return on investment? Then give SEO a crack.

Both of the services will likely do wonders for you business. If you still aren't sure what you should go for, or if you need both, we would be happy to discuss the best option for you. Just give us a shout

search engine results explained