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Elena Terenteva

SEO vs. PPC #semrushchat

Elena Terenteva
SEO vs. PPC #semrushchat

SEO and PPC can be like Iron Man and Captain America – they can work great together sometimes and fight for one noble purpose – or like Batman and Superman – both are enormously powerful, but they can start fighting against each other for some reason. Today we’ll try to understand what can make SEO and PPC become good friends or rivals and what benefits marketers can get from having the ability to control them (spoiler: conquer the world).

If you want to learn how to dominate SERPs with the help of SEO and PPC, check out our latest SEMrush Twitter Chat!

SEO or PPC Okay, in real life this question can come to the mind of a person who is not really experienced with SEO and PPC joint activities. Most marketers will not even think about using just one. In this thread we are not going to convince you to choose one over another; we just you to take a closer look to their distinctive features.

PPC can get you rapid exposure right away, which is a good thing when you’ve just joined the Google game. But there is no way a website owner will be able to keep their website in the top unless they have an enormous budget. “SEO is a strategic and long-term activity with lasting results” (Boris Krumov ‏@SeoKungFu), so if a website owner really wants to appear in SERPs a bit longer, then all their money will be wasted. SEO is the way to do it. Speaking ofmoney...

The real battle during our chat was over this statement. And we can understand both points of view. If you are doing SEO yourself, then you can probably say that SEO is free; but, for someone who works with an agency, SEO isn’t free at all. And don’t forget that SEO requires a lot (and we mean a LOT!) of time and effort before it will pay off. Think twice about the goals you want to achieve before planning your campaigns. PPC can turn out to be cheaper in some situations.

Good example from Martin Kelly.

Sometimes it’s useless to fight for some keywords (do you really want to rank number one for the keyword “apple?”), so in these situations “PPC helps fill the gaps that SEO doesn't rank well for” - Paid Insights ‏@paidinsights. This strategy can also work when you want to enter a new market or niche. You won't rank organically for relevant short tail keywords right away, but PPC can help you appear in SERPs.

So, it seems like these two really can work together. And there are a lot of scenarios showing their collaboration.

Bottom line - “both provide long-term results, and both can take time to show ROI. Both are essential” - Kirk Williams ‏@PPCKirk. Social Media vs SEO and PPC Let’s talk about social media. Which channel fits social media better: SEO or PPC?

For sure, you can take advantage of both SEO and PPC, but keep in mind that they are suited for different purposes. Let’s take a closer look:

Not just for quick conversions, PPC is also great for quick and effective content promotion! Having promoted posts on social media will definitely help increase the visibility of your content.

Remember that “social ads work, but creating lasting impressions and gaining followers lies in your content” - Direct Online Mktg ‏@directom.

Speaking of SEO – don’t forget that social signals are ranking factors. Social shred increase the credibility of your content – and not just for search engines, but for your users. “Social media may be more compatible with SEO and it may lead to your content being crawled more frequently by search engines” - Bill Slawski ‏@bill_slawski.

Here is a study that suggests that social media can improve your search results, suggested by Think Thrice ‏@ThriceSocial: Proof Social Media Improved My Search Results, by Kristoffer Howes.

Should company pay for keywords it ranks for organically? This question also caused a lot of debates. We’ve got both the pros and cons of PPC campaigns for keywords websites ranks for organically. Let’s take a look at the cons first.

Agent Palmer ‏@AgentPalmer also pointed out that “once you get there (SERP), you should use the money for something else.” But here is one “but.”

A lot of participants supported this thesis – PPC is necessary. “If you need to beat your competitors, then you have to pay even if you're already working on SEO” - Veruska Anconitano ‏@LaCuochina.

But both organic and paid have other benefits.

Sam Binks ‏@samsitesearch shared a link to the research by @SeerInteractive Part one: AdWords paid & organic report results, which proved this statement. “The PPC CTR alone was 5.66 percent and the SEO CTR alone was 6.15 percent. When an ad and an organic list are combined in SERPs, the CTR rose to 56.32 percent This is almost a ten-fold increase in CTR.” From this data they comes to the suggestions, which was also pointed out by our participants: “the more impressions you make on a searcher, the higher your rate of visits will be.”

So, “the more real estate you have on SERPs, the better” Mention ‏@Mention.

Here is another scenario for using PPC with organic presence.

But, here is another “but.” Kirk Williams ‏@PPCKirk shared with us an article on “when not to bid on brand terms owned by organic” Stop Bidding on These Brand Keywords in PPC. Bottom line - we can tell that PPC can compliment your organic presence most of the time, but there are some exceptions you should be aware of. Otherwise, you can lose money running a PPC campaign when it’s actually superfluous. How can SEO and PPC work well together? Finally – the main question: how can PPC and SEO work together and compliment one another. Here are some best practices from our participants.

PPC is an absolute treasure trove of data when it comes to keyword research. You can test certain keywords in a faster pace and it “ensures you don't try to rank (org) for the wrong terms” - Michael Ramsey ‏@Moketronics.

Also, we are now living in the era of "not provided,” and here PPC helps to get some additional data to SEO.

But here is one sticking point:

PPC Keyword research misses out on informational queries that should be done with SEO.

So Bill Slawski ‏@bill_slawski suggests “focusing on informational queries with SEO and transactional query terms with PPC.”

Another great idea is to use PPC for quick A/B testing of page meta data. It takes longer to get results of split test in organic results, but with PPC there is no need to wait for too long.

If you’ve just launched a brand new landing page, or you’ve written a new e-book, use the power of both SEO and PPC to get the best results.

Okay, as we can see, there is no need to choose between SEO or PPC – a solid SERP presence can be easily achieved by using these two channels together.

PPC will lead to results quickly and investing time in SEO will help you keep those results.

Just don’t forget that there are a few circumstances you should be aware of, or else there is a risk you could lose too much money or be beaten by your competitors.

That's it for today!

We hope to see you this week on our new Twitter Chat about... Twitter Chats and community building!

Elena Terenteva

SEMrush employee.

Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush. Elena has eight years public relations and journalism experience, working as a broadcasting journalist, PR/Content manager for IT and finance companies.
Bookworm, poker player, good swimmer.
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