SEO or PPC: Which is Better for a Small Business?

In the past fifteen years, digital marketing has risen as a giant of the ‘new industries’. Today, digital marketing campaigns can make or break a business. Plenty of small business owners are finding themselves still playing catch-up, bogged down by the jargon of the field, and not knowing where or how to apply their resources.

One thing is for certain: small businesses need to put aside some of their budget for digital marketing, or they risk being left by the wayside.

These days you can find people from all fields attending SEO training, trying to get a grasp on the field. “All my competitors are above me on Google, and it’s affected my business”, announced a plumber at an SEO training day last month. The times aren’t just a-changin’; the times have changed.

Where does a small business owner begin? How to begin?

Once they’ve acquainted themselves with the basic terminology, small business owners find themselves asking, “Which is better, SEO or PPC marketing?”

There’s no distinct hard and fast answer, and both have their pros and cons.

We’re going to break down the crucial differences between the two fields, and help you make an informed decision about which approach is best for your business.

SEO or PPC: Which is Better for a Small Business?

What Is the Difference Between SEO and PPC?

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click and SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

The fundamental difference between the two is between a slow-grow and a quick-fix.

If you opt for PPC, you pay Google to be at the top of their search results immediately, and for every click on your website, you have to pay Google a fee.

SEO is the process of manipulating the content of your website and teaming up with partner sites to increase your legitimacy and move higher up the rankings of a search engine ‘organically’.

Easy enough, right? Not quite. Most small business owners struggle to develop effective campaigns of either kind on their own, and so need to use a specialized digital marketing agency like Digital Monopoly.


Pay-Per-Click is a good way to drive instant traffic to your business; but you pay a lot for the pleasure of doing so.

A PPC campaign is advisable if you have quite a stash to spend on your digital marketing, and you’ve got someone with expertise to co-ordinate your campaign. People who are well-versed in PPC will know how to win bids for relevant keywords and how to get to the top spot much better than a layman ever could.

It’s quite a costly initial outlay. First, you have to secure your place at the top of a relevant search, which costs money. Then, every time someone clicks on your ad, you have to pay Google a fee.

If your website isn’t optimized for conversions, this can be disastrous. You need to make sure people are buying your product or using your service after clicking, otherwise you’re just funding some funky beanbags at Google’s head office; not increasing the revenue of your business.

Its relevant to note that once you’ve paid for the top spot, you don’t just sit there comfortably. If you paid for a PPC campaign and enjoyed the additional revenue, you’ll have to spend that money again and again to stay at the top of the Google Search.


SEO is longer and harder than a PPC Campaign, but it is cheaper and can offer more consistent returns.

Many users have naturally trained themselves to look away from ad campaigns, and so you will lose some custom with a PPC. Customers are more likely to trust websites they find ‘organically’ instead of through advertising. If you optimize the content on your website to rank well on Google, results will show over time.

However, a big problem with SEO campaigns is that you can lay the groundwork for months, move up the Google rankings; only to have it destroyed overnight with an algorithm change.

So, Which One?

In truth, both have advantages and disadvantages that depend on your budget and how specific your niche is. The ideal digital marketing campaign would involve both. If you’re looking for something fast, go for PPC. If you want to increase your legitimacy with a lower initial outlay, focus on SEO.

Written by CrazyLeaf Editorial

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