SEO vs Google ads

Nearly 70% of online experiences begin with an online search. However, results on the second page only generate 0.63% of clicks. Without a search engine marketing strategy, you may not generate relevant website traffic.

Strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) and Google advertising can boost your rankings. What is the difference between SEO vs Google Ads, exactly? Read on to discover which best suits your digital marketing strategy today!

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization is a combination of best practices that can improve your organic results on search engines. Higher search engine rankings can help businesses generate:

  • Brand awareness and recognition
  • Website traffic
  • Credibility
  • Leads and sales
  • A higher ROI

Organic results in the first position of a search engine result page (SERP) generates 28% of all clicks. If your website doesn’t appear at the top of the page, consumers may never realize your brand exists.


There are four main types of SEO: on-page, off-page, local, and technical. A comprehensive SEO marketing strategy includes all four.

On-page SEO involves optimizing your website using relevant search terms. You can gather keyword research to target terms your customers use during searches. Prioritize longer phrases to better understand the user’s search intent.

Their search intent will indicate their needs and what they expect to find during a search. Intent is often commercial, information, navigational, or transactional.

When optimizing your blog content for on-page SEO, the target keyword should appear in the:

  • Title/an H1 header
  • Opening and closing paragraphs
  • Body text
  • Image file name and alt text
  • SEO title and meta description
  • URL

Off-page SEO involves tactics beyond your website. This includes backlinks (one of Google’s top ranking factors).

Backlinks direct readers on other websites to your content. You can use backlinks to generate referral traffic. High-quality backlinks can improve your domain authority and rankings.

Local SEO allows you to reach nearby consumers. You can claim and optimize your Google Business listing to attract customers. This listing will display information about your business.

Generating positive reviews and targeting location-specific keywords can improve your rankings. Positive reviews will also strengthen your brand’s reputation.

Technical SEO involves optimizing the backend of your website. Google prioritizes sites that are fast, mobile-optimized, secure, and user-friendly. You can partner with a digital marketing agency to meet Google’s standards with a modern website.

What Is Google Ads?

Google Ads is a pay-per-click advertising platform. With Google Ads, you’ll pay for online advertising by the click or impression. The Google Ads cost will vary based on the keywords you select.

You can use Google Ads to generate:

  • Brand awareness
  • Website traffic
  • Leads and sales
  • A better ROI

Your digital ads will appear among organic results on SERPs. When a consumer clicks on the ad, they’ll get directed to your website. You can create dedicated landing pages to convert those visitors into paying customers.


You can target specific audiences based on demographic research within Google Ads. Precise targeting will ensure you reach your ideal audience. You can create personalized ads that appeal to the consumer’s needs.

The likelihood of an ad appearing for a search will vary based on:

  • Bidding price
  • Ad timing
  • Ad quality
  • Landing page quality

To improve your rankings, you’ll need to improve your Quality Scores. High Quality Scores indicate your ad, keywords, and landing pages are relevant. You can partner with a digital marketing agency to improve your scores.

Developing Your Digital Marketing Strategy

When drafting your digital marketing strategy, it helps to consider your needs and priorities. Here are a few differences between SEO and Google advertising to consider.


One of the biggest differences between SEO vs Google Ads is the cost. SEO is an organic digital marketing strategy. You won’t pay to improve your rankings.

SEO can level the playing field between small businesses and huge corporations. You can rank ahead of competitors, boosting your brand’s credibility.

PPC, however, is a paid strategy. You’ll pay each time someone clicks on or views your ads. If you don’t develop an effective strategy, PPC can get costly.


Another difference is the timing. It can take weeks or even months before your organic results improve. With PPC, you can start generating results immediately.

You can turn your Google Ads campaigns on and off at will. This control will ensure you don’t overspend. SEO delivers consistent organic results long-term.

Once your organic rankings improve, it can take months before a competitor knocks you down. With Google advertising, your rankings can change daily.

Consider using PPC advertising to promote time-sensitive events or specific products. Use Google Ads as a long-term strategy to continuously generate brand awareness and traffic.

Choosing SEO vs PPC

When developing your digital marketing strategy, don’t think of SEO and Google Ads as an “either/or” option. Instead, use both. Digital advertising can benefit your organic results.

As consumers click on your digital ads, you’ll generate more website traffic. Google will notice and potentially improve your rankings. As your organic results improve, you’ll generate even more traffic.

You can use Google Ads to enhance a new SEO campaign. Digital ads can drive initial traffic and generate brand awareness. Your SEO efforts will start generating results sooner.

You can use Google Ads remarketing campaigns to increase conversion rates. These ads will appear in front of previous website visitors. You’ll gain a second chance to convert these visitors into customers.

Use both strategies to learn about your target audience. Your Google Ads campaigns will indicate which keywords generated conversions. You can use this data to understand search intent and create relevant blog content.

Don’t Choose Between SEO vs Google Ads

You don’t have to choose between SEO vs Google Ads. Instead, use both as part of an effective digital marketing strategy. A strong search engine marketing plan will boost your conversion rates and ROI.

Developing effective campaigns can take time if you lack experience. Instead, ask for help from a professional team! WSI is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries.

We can unlock the full potential of your business with proven, time-tested methods. Discover exponential growth with cost-effective strategies. Contact us today for help with your campaigns.

WSI prides itself on helping our clients bring their visions to life. We strive to deliver bulletproof marketing campaigns that can take your performance to new heights. You’ll learn more about the many benefits we provide when you book a consultation today.

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