SEO and PPC are digital marketing strategies that offer immense value if done correctly, but each only works best in specific contexts and has its strengths and weaknesses.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and ultimately, your business needs to make an informed choice about which strategy is appropriate. But, of course, it’s not an either-or situation; many brands find that a mix of SEO and PPC strategies can be effective.

Let’s look at the contexts in which you should use SEO or PPC.


If you want to get your brand exposure to a broad, qualified audience, you need to find ways to get your message in front of potential customers.

With over 3.5 billion searches a day happening on Google alone, it’s no surprise that many brands turn to SEO to generate organic traffic for their website.

SEO is often described as a “free” alternative to paid advertising like PPC. However, it’s not actually free. Someone has to write the content, and someone has to upload it to your site, someone has to build, optimise and run the site it’s published on, someone needs to do keyword research and monitor results, etc. It all adds up.

But, there are advantages because SEO content can continue to generate traffic and leads for your business long after it’s published, unlike PPC ads, where the traffic stops the moment your stop paying for them.

People tend to trust organic search results more than paid ones: more users click on organic results than paid results.


While PPC content has lower click-through rates (CTRs) than SEO content, when users click on a paid piece of content, they are much more likely to be interested in your product. In addition, they are more likely to be qualified leads because the PPC strategy targets users searching with intent.

PPC campaigns also are much better at getting immediate results. It can take a long time for search engines to rank your content. A study by AHREFs found that the average page that ranks in the Top10 on Google is over two years old, and the ones that rank in the No. 1 spot are on average nearly three years old.

SEO also requires a more significant investment in time and expertise. High quality, SEO-ready content takes time to produce and requires a lot of skill and know-how. Whereas a PPC campaign can be up and running quickly, delivering results within days. Naturally, this is underpinned by the assumption that the person creating and managing the PPC account has the requisite skills and knowledge.

Perhaps the real answer is to use some combination of both SEO and PPC?


SEO is a strategy that will deliver consistent, continuous traffic to your website if you implement it correctly. Therefore, it should be looked at as a long-term strategy.

But what if there is a particular piece of content you want to get exposure to?

There are times when you need to take action now, and you can’t wait around for the right page of content to work its way up the search results pages and start bringing you traffic. This is where PPC and SEO can work in partnership: being highly targeted, you can direct traffic pretty much anywhere you need, from a 50-word landing page to your latest product range.

If you want to combine the broad organic exposure delivered via SEO with the targeted, fast turn-around of PPC, you need to think strategically about when to use PPC and how it relates to your existing SEO efforts.

For example, you might find that your PPC campaign is performing exceptionally well; you can then integrate those high performing keywords into your SEO campaigns. Similarly, if a piece of SEO content takes off or generates leads, you can capitalise on the advantage by creating a PPC campaign around the content itself or create a landing page based on the high performing keywords.


When it comes to leveraging search traffic to increase brand exposure, capture leads, and grow your business, both SEO and PPC have important roles. The trick is to know the strengths and weaknesses of each strategy when each one is more effective and how they can be deployed in tandem to deliver the best results for your digital marketing.

If you are ready to put SEO and PPC to work, it’s worth speaking with the experts. Black Lab Digital offer a free no-commitment initial consultation to all new clients. So get in touch today to see how you can accelerate your digital marketing.