PPC Adverts or SEO: which is best?

Kristina Whitfield

Feb 18, 2013

Digital M 2

What are PPC adverts and SEO? Companies tend to view Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements as mutually exclusive when they are in fact completely the opposite.

Author: Kristina Whitfield Undertakes marketing activities for Pivotal Scientific and their clients.

Kristina Whitfield

PPC Adverts or SEO: which is best?

I’m afraid I’m going to stick on the fence here and say both. However, it is for good reason: companies tend to view Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements as mutually exclusive when they are in fact completely the opposite. You need to have a strategy for both as they focus a company on promoting what they are good at and what separates them from the crowd.

From a marketing perspective, the great thing about both of these strategies is they can be measured; you can work out how effective your changes have been by reviewing Google Analytics or Google Adwords.

What is SEO?

SEO is a method by which you can improve the performance of your company and products / services on search engines such as Google and Bing.

The main way that this used to be performed was through paying for links to your own website. However, as search engines become more sophisticated, they are able to rank other things higher than external links. In particular, the emphasis is on social engagement: building relationships with your target customers through social media.

Ways in which you can do this include sign up to review tools (like Feefo) as you will get links back to your site and good reviews lead to more sales/leads. Service companies should look to write blogs that are informative and also provoke a response in the reader so they write a comment (hopefully!).

As the vast majority of people finding your site through search engines use Google it is worth using their free business related apps such as Google Places and Google +. Company profiles on LinkedIn are also likely to prove important in the future; for example searching for “Life Science Distributor Search” has PSL’s service listed fourth with two recommendations which more persuasive than anything we can write on our website. If you have the time and the energy Twitter can be supportive in this: but you do need to manage it intensively – it can’t be updated every six months!

A good way to remember your priorities for SEO is:

Think Social,

Build Engagement,

Do it Organically

 Pay Per Click

Sometimes, no matter how much search engine optimisation you do, some websites will remain higher than you on the searches you are looking to do well on. At this point it may be advantageous to use Pay Per Click advertising to help promote your services. Things to bear in mind when using Google Adwords:


It is essential to get the structure planned and ready from the start. You need to have a clear idea of the key products and services you are looking to advertise, and the key landing pages you want potential customers to click onto. You also need to have a clear idea of what you think the most popular search terms are and build your adverts around this.

Once you have an idea of all the above, you can then more easily decide the budgets you will set for each advert, and to cut the ads which aren’t working.

Adding Negatives

Without negatives your products or services can often turn up in very bizarre search results and could cost you a lot of money! Adding negatives allows your costs be more effectively managed and allows your ads to be shown only to interested customers.

Testing, 1, 2, 3

With time, you should be prepared to do split testing; testing different landing pages, multiple adverts, different keywords and much more. Testing will mean lower costs and more sales/leads.

Measure your performance

Make sure you have set up CONVERSION GOALS properly then track, measure and ultimately make more informed decisions about where to focus your marketing money and effort. Don’t just think about conversions as an actual sale or a contact form as they can include many things. PDF downloads, Telephone calls, Email signups are all examples of conversions.

Organise your time

You need to set aside a good chunk of your time each week to effectively keep ahead and manage PPC or SEO properly.


Please be warned: these are just some of the things you should be looking into when considering how to improve your SEO and PPC Advertising! There are many more factors involved which PSL can take you through if you sign up for our free analysis service.

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