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Digital Marketing Showdown: SEO vs. PPC

In the years of working with multiple companies involved in multiple marketing tactics, there are lots of similar stories, and maybe yours is one of them. We often hear “We didn’t see ANY results with our last digital agency/campaign, or “We had no idea what all those numbers and analytics meant, but our sales stayed the same.”

Does that sound familiar? Or maybe even feel a little too close to home familiar?

Let’s start at the very beginning of why we do marketing in the first place.

Marketing is done to generate your sales. Period.

We might lie to ourselves and say it’s to create brand awareness or educate, and those might be great secondary objectives or partial truths.  Ultimately, the reason why we do marketing is to generate sales. The speed at which your sales get generated is creative science between marketing tactics and marketing strategy.

I’m going to quickly break down two of the most popular online marketing tactics.

Search Engine Optimization – SEO

The art of SEO is as important as getting your car’s oil changed.

Can you live with out it? Sure. It will eventually, however, will cause you engine failure and force you to get a new engine.

It’s pretty easy to grasp the importance of having your business, your product, or your service being found online. My great business friend and coach, Ross Paterson, who runs XM Performance, likes to say to business owners who tell him they get all their business by word of mouth, “Do you have enough?” and the answer is always… you get it.

Consumers and businesses are searching online everyday, and companies both large and small are spending over 30% of their total marketing dollars on digital.

SEO is a technical and marketing blend that helps search engines, such as the market leader, Google, index and categorize your website, so that it can be found when the right person, in the right area, is searching.

With complex algorithm updates happening more frequently now, it’s not a “set and forget” process any more. It requires constant maintenance and strategy to ensure your keywords are getting higher up in search results and your website is in good health.

There are lots of “technical experts” in different countries and in your neighborhood that are proclaiming to be SEO experts, but it’s important that whoever your hire to do your SEO truly understands your business.  Not just the keywords you want to rank for. Why?

Because SEO is not a game of tricking Google, it’s a game of producing high value, high quality content, optimizing the technical way that Google reads your website,  and having a highly converting mobile optimized user experience.

It takes into consideration where you’re located, when you last made a blog post (so that’s why Steadfast Results posts every week…yep!), how many reviews you have, and what your overall digital footprint is.

Local SEO

Lastly, Local SEO is a much overlooked practice for restaurants, local service providers, hair salons, accountants, etc. Local SEO is making sure your maps, phone numbers, hours, Google Reviews etc. are all up to date an pumped full of your best content. We have one client of ours that’s a local Heat and Air company, that gets an average of 60 new local first time callers every single month, at the time of this post. Due to having a great Local SEO presence. So if you have a local brick and mortar, make sure you have a strong digital footprint by getting your Local SEO in order.

Check out our free tool to get your Local SEO health check.


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 Paid Media Management – PPC

Paid Media Management, Google Adwords Management, or PPC is the method of acquiring customers through search or display ads that you are paying either per click or per impression. This is the best way to get a QUICK win in the marketplace. There is a saying though, that needs to be taken to heart.

Whoever is willing to spend the MOST on a customer in this game, wins. So is it going to cost y0u more than SEO? Yes. Will you get FASTER results. Yes.

Google Ads for example are also very trackable from an ROI perspective. If you’re spending, let’s say, $5,000/month on Google Adwords, then you’ll be able to see very clear reports. You’ll be able to see how many people saw the ads, clicked the ads and if you have tracking an analytics setup, how many called you or filled out your contact form.

When you take industry benchmarks of paid media conversions, then you have a fairly predictable model. For example, if I’m on online retailer, and I know the average benchmark for paid ads or social paid ads are 3%, then I know if I spend $1,000 I should expect 30 a conversions. (people that saw the ad and went to the offer, landing page or website.)

You can then get more granular with understanding your website conversion rates (why it’s important to have a great converting website). Then, get detailed with your close rate, so you have a predictable pattern of what your new sales for the month coming from paid media would look like.


And the winner is….

Trick question, I’m sure you saw this one coming. BOTH. You absolutely have to have organic and local SEO if you want to be found online and invest into the longterm success of your on-line footprint. If you want to get aggressive in acquiring leads FASTER, then ante up and pay to play with google Adwords.

Want to learn more about PPC, SEO and Marketing Automation? We’ll be continuing to share our online marketing expertise here on the Steadfast Results Blog.

If you’re serious about turning up the volume of traffic, leads and online sales on your website, we’d love to help.


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