Google AdWords and SEO are two of main tools in SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and their goal is to generate results for your business in traffic and conversions.
Even though they’re different mediums, they share similarities.
So which one gives you better results? Which one is best for your business?
That’s what we’ll cover in this post.
Who’s who in SEM: Google AdWords vs SEO
Google AdWords is an advertising medium created by Google as its main revenue ad stream.
In order to use AdWords, you pay per click (PPC).
You’re charged each time your ad is displayed and clicked in any of Google’s ad platforms, which can be the search results, the display network (partners) or on YouTube.
With SEO (Search Engine Optimization) it’s different. SEO is a set of techniques with the goal of improving your website ranking in the search engines results, not just Google (e.g. Yahoo, Bing, others).
So how do you improve your website’s rankings in the organic results? With keywords.
By applying SEO techniques on your website, you make it more relevant for people in the search engines, which can lead to better organic search engine results, i.e., these are the non-paid results.
The better your website ranks in the search engines, the more traffic you can attract to your website.
AdWords and SEO: differences and similarities
Both strategies are keyword based.
If your ad has good keywords, you stand better chances in winning the bidding style action that AdWords is based upon, and attract more leads.
If you create good SEO strategies, your website improves its ranking, resulting in more traffic and conversions.
But this is only possible because search engines are based on keywords to find content on the internet. If the focus of the search changes, these strategies may need to be changed as well.
Google AdWords ads are displayed only through Google’s platforms or their partner websites, while SEO is a strategy reaches across all search engines.
But while SEO is for the search engines, AdWords can be displayed on several partner sites, in several sizes and shapes (text only, or images).
Short term vs long term
Google AdWords sponsored search ad results are displayed for as long as they are paid (clicks or media displays), so this is considered a short term strategy.
SEO, on the other hand, is a long term investment for your business. Once you improve your rankings and you keep adding good, fresh, relevant content to your blog, you keep the rankings.
In order for SEO to be effective and that you may track your strategy’s key performance indicators, you must focus on a smaller list of relevant keywords.
With Google AdWords you can have several keywords, grouped by ad sets, expanding the reach of your ads.
In theory, with SEO you have no costs, because you don’t pay to show up in the organic search results (the non-paid listings).
However, if you have an agency providing you with this service, you should have the cost of maintenance and strategy implementation.
With Google AdWords, you have the cost of the agency or team managing your campaigns, plus the cost of the ads.
If you don’t have a good grip on the investment each one requires, you may end up having trouble down the lines, especially with Google AdWords, since the ad cost can get out of hand if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The best to do is to set a daily budget and monitor your spending’s.
Google AdWords can bring in quick results, while SEO takes its time to generate qualified traffic and leads for your company’s website.
AdWords can be linked to and monitored to Google Analytics, which is a free reporting tool Google provides to track your website’s performance.
With SEO, you have more things to considers when it comes to measure results (can also use Google Analytics), because there are so many factors involved.
So which one do I choose?
Both tools are good for most businesses goals to bring traffic to their website.
You can’t really distinguish between Google AdWords and SEO since they can both generate good results.
What you can do is integrate both strategies and maximize your return on investment (and profit).
Start investing in SEO, making your website more relevant to search engines, by creating quality content, and then set up your AdWords campaigns to expand your reach on the internet.
Once people know your business, your products and services, they will naturally be drawn into your website, generating more traffic through organic results, this reducing the need for paid ads.
Whenever you have a product or service you want to highlight, go back to using AdWords to display it to your customers and improve sales in the short term.
So, which one really?
Again, there is no clear answer. You can, and probably should use both.
Use SEO from day 1, and use AdWords when you need a lift in sales. Both can generate great results for your business.
AdWords can generate leads and sales in the short term, and SEO is a long term strategy, attracting users by the relevance and quality of your content.