SEO vs. Google Ads

If you’re weighing SEO vs. Google Ads, you may wonder which is better. This page discusses both to help you decide which strategy is right for you.

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard — 16 minute read.

Understanding how SEO and AdWords work together is essential, as they are two of the most powerful digital marketing tools for effective Google SEO marketing and growing an online business or brand.

The never-ending debate on a better marketing strategy tends to confuse business owners who may be just getting started. There isn’t any simple answer to the SEO vs Google Ads debate since many external factors come into play when choosing a method that might best work for the business.

Seo Google Ads

That’s why we’ve decided to compare both marketing tools. Here, we’ll highlight the pros and cons of SEO and Google Ads. Then, we will move on to discussing the benefits of running them together to grow and sustain the business. But before that, We’ll get to know about SEO and Google AdWords individually.

What Is SEO?

SEO or search engine optimisation involves boosting a website and its content to enhance credibility.

Google’s evolving algorithm measures your website against all the other sites to match the search with relevant content when a user searches. To help your web page appear in the search results, you’ll have to use optimisation techniques like internal linking and keyword integration.

After considering the crucial ranking factors, including content quality, page load speed and site security, Google will then provide every page with a score to decide the listing order. Achieving an organic ranking that outperforms competitors involves optimising your site to be more relevant.

This will help generate better SEO traffic, leading to higher conversion rates and sales. An SEO strategy is all about; it’s a key element in reaching prospective customers and aiding your business’s growth.

The optimisation process can be divided into three types, depending on where the changes are made, which We’ll now know more about.

Types Seo

1. On-Page SEO

The website content should be optimised for relevant keywords to help Google determine the SERPs your site should be ranking on. It’s vital to ensure you constantly optimise your website for on-page factors.

Your content marketing strategy should be detailed and well structured, similar to the Google E-A-T strategy that’ll meet your marketing goals.

2. Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO involves finding relevant websites to link back to your site. This improves the site’s credibility and authority, allowing Google to trust you.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO ensures that no issues affect how search bots and Google access and read your website content in the search engines. It also ensures that the images, text and pages have the relevant metadata listed correctly in search results. Most of your web design, performance, and coding are part of the technical category.

Want to receive updates? Sign up to our newsletter

Each time a new blog is posted, you’ll receive a notification, it’s really that simple.

What Is Google Ads?

Google Ads, previously known as Google AdWords, are paid advertising campaigns that use a set of keywords you want to help Google understand where you want your ad to show up.

Whenever a user searches for a keyword relevant to your content, Google runs an auction between you and other sites, determining ad ranks via the Quality Score bidding on that keyword to determine which ad ranks higher using the Google AdWords ranking tool. This is essentially how Google Ads works.

For these Google Ads, each user click results in having to pay Google for the advertising service and analyse user clicks. The Google Ads campaign is also Google’s advertising platform, a pay-per-click (PPC) system. It helps the advertisers reach interested leads. The cost per click can range from a few dollars to hundreds, depending on the market’s competitiveness.

Highlighting Google advertising benefits, unlike SEO, Google Ads provides immediate results and doesn’t require detailed content creation or planning. The difference between SEO and Google Ads isn’t just the immediate results, but it’s typically used to compare the two.

That said, PPC ads appear in several forms; let’s look.

1. Google Shopping Ads

These ads usually appear at the top of the SERPs in a carousel format. They include images of the products from different brands and their prices to help users compare.

Google Shopping Ads

2. Search Ads

These text ads generally appear above the organic search results at the top of the SERPs. They’re Google-recommended advertising services, distinguished by the ‘ad’ tag from organic search results.

Google Ads

3. Local Service Ads

Then, local service ads for service companies that wish to draw more local leads and improve local listings. These are similar to “shopping ads”, but they also list the service information of the businesses.

Google Local Service Ads

SEO Vs PPC/Google Ads

Two key differences must be highlighted when weighing up SEO or Google Ads. The first is that Google Ads appear at the top of the SERPs, above the organic search results. Secondly, the traffic generated via local SEO Strategy or even national and international SEO is free, while the pay-per-click or PPC campaign incurs a cost for each click.

That said, We’ll now provide a comprehensive comparison between SEO and Google Ads by discussing the pros and cons of each. So, let’s get started using SEO and then move on to the Google Ads campaign.

Netregistry Seo Google Ads Infographic

Advantages Of SEO

1. Brand Awareness

Search engines help improve website visibility using strongly keywords related to your business to put businesses in front of potential customers, similar to digital advertising. These drive brand awareness without the need for paid ads.

Even visibility around informative queries in search engines and commercial search terms can ensure a positive branding effect that’ll help your business in more than one way. Searchers asking questions while conducting their research might associate with your brand, leading to higher conversion rates. The focus is to increase conversions and acquire new clients.

2. Higher Click-Through Rate (CTR)

There’s no denying that many people click on organic search results. There are exceptions to this, but you’re more likely to generate increased clicks from high-ranking organic listings than highly placed paid ads.

Clicks Position Graph

3. Trust And Credibility

In contrast, Google paid ads may not evoke the same level of trust as organic results. Businesses with good reviews and reputations visible on the organic SERPs will get that all-important stamp of approval. In contrast, Google Ads has the complete opposite effect.

4. Return On Investment (ROI)

SEO is a slow process that requires a long-term investment but does have a better ROI, which is generally more cost-effective than other marketing tactics but not entirely cheap. Nonetheless, organic search engine traffic ensures improved ROI compared to the traditional forms of paid media.

Calculating Roi Graphic

5. Sustainability And Scope

Unlike paid search marketing, organic traffic provides long-term sustainability for a business, even with reduced marketing investment. New queries are almost daily, so you’ll need organic visibility to maximise scope.

You won’t have to invest in all kinds of clicks or advertise every piece of website content to reap long-term benefits.

Drawbacks Of SEO

1. Highly Competitive

There could be many businesses competing for the same spot as you. Although this applies to Google Ads, there is more involved in a website’s SEO efforts. So, your site must be the most relevant and trusted source of the searched topic. Only then will you have a chance to improve your SEO rankings. You’ll also have to research keywords and phrases people generally use in search engines to get a higher spot on the Google Search list.

2. Time-Intensive Process

SEO demands a tonne of time; it can take months, if not years, to improve website rankings for a particular keyword with no guarantee for the same.

3. Quality-Focused

Flooding a website with the exact keywords no longer tricks Google into ranking it well. You’ll have to regularly provide quality and relevant content to get Google algorithms and people to trust the site.

Writing a high-quality article targeting relevant industry searches can be time-consuming and challenging.

Google considers inbound links as critical indicators of trust and authority. They are crucial ranking factors that help websites achieve better rankings. However, finding quality websites to link to your site takes much effort and can be relatively time-consuming.

Advantages Of Google Ads

1. Instant Visibility

Unlike organic search results, AdWords serves as a faster way to get in front of potential customers. People use Google Ads; the campaign can instantly place your website in the most prominent position in the SERPs. So, if you’re a new business wanting to get noticed quickly, creating PPC ads is the way to go.

Google Ads is often known as a quick way of acquiring new customers and generating a temporary boost in sales.

2. Improved Rankings And Better Reach

Paid search dominates the search engine rankings. Plus, they can appear on both websites and apps. This helps PPC ads reach a broader audience.

3. Improved Ads

PPC ads give you more control over their appearance and space for delivering your marketing message. You can add text and other details like your business’s phone number and pricing information to create ads that dominate the page.

Google also allows you to create visual shopping ads to help people see the products before clicking on them.

4. Targets Audience

With Google Ads, you need not worry about wasting your marketing budget on people outside your target group. The campaign lets you decide who sees your ads by targeting ad placements based on location, age, gender, and interests.

It also allows you to select which website they’ll be visible on. On the contrary, SEO marketing is more scattered and may not reach the right audience. In this aspect, the PPC wins the Google AdWords vs SEO debate.

Different industries target different audiences and have other ways to measure or track a conversion.

5. A/B Testing

PPC campaigns allow you to run multiple versions of the same PPC ad to see which one gains the most engagement from the audience.

This can be done quickly using split-test ads, landing pages, and call-to-action buttons. The derived information can be later fed back to the other digital marketing platforms.

6. Tracking Metrics

Organic search hides keyword data for privacy, but the paid search has no restriction. With tracking and analytic software like Google Analytics, you can determine the percentage and costs of converting keywords. This information can then be fed into SEO marketing platforms to improve Google Search results. By having paid traffic, you’ll be able to optimise quicker due to increased overall traffic.


7. When you need it

Unlike an SEO campaign that cannot be turned off, Google Ads can be configured to run only during your business’s hours. Are they booked out? Pause your ads and slow the rate of leads and sales down, quiet? Turn things up.

Drawbacks Of Google Ads

1. Expensive

The cost per click in paid search is relatively high, especially if your business caters to an international audience or very competitive keywords. If you don’t spend time optimising ads to reach the target audience, you might spend more than required.

Additionally, you’ll have to keep investing in Google Ads to stay in business; if you stop spending money, the ads will stop running.

2. Constant Monitoring

Setting up PPC ads and leaving them to run is easy, but they might not always reach the right people. Suppose you’re reaching out to a broader group audience. In that case, you’ll be exhausting your budget without receiving much engagement. At the same time, if your audience is small, your Google Ads may not even be seen.

That’s why monitoring the PPC marketing campaign to review its effectiveness regularly is essential. This will give an idea of what is and isn’t working to make changes accordingly.

The SEO vs PPC debate will continue even in the long run, so which is the best marketing strategy? There’s no definite answer to this question, as it varies depending on the type of business and your website objectives.

You’ll need to evaluate these factors to understand which marketing tool is the best for your business. Ideally, the Google Ads campaign is recommended for new businesses or start-ups that wish to get targeted traffic quickly to find customers, test their products, or even make sales. You’ll have to pay a cost when someone clicks on your ad, guaranteeing instant results.

Both SEO strategies investing in PPC ads would be worth it in contexts like an eCommerce site. Improving rankings organically using SEO would be best for an informational website promoting a business.

SEO and Google Ads have drawbacks, which we’ve already highlighted above. To overcome them, it’s best to opt for an integrated approach while formulating an online marketing strategy for promoting your business.

Consider short and long-term business goals. You can invest in PPC ad campaigns and compliment them with the right amount of SEO to sustain your ranking. There are many benefits of running SEO and Google Ads together, which We’ll now discuss.

Google Ads Seo Graphic

Using Google Ads and SEO Together

It’s better to use Google Ads and SEO in synergy, as both come with their own set of pros and cons. Most marketers also recommend using Google Ads and SEO in their online marketing campaigns to increase exposure and leads and improve conversion rates. Going by the AdWords and SEO statistics enhances the online potential of any business or brand.

We’ll discuss the benefits of running SEO and PPC campaigns together instead of continuing the SEO vs Google Ads debate.

1. Increase In Brand And Business Visibility

Using Google AdWords and SEO doubles the brand’s visibility your business can get in a search. Feeding keywords and conversion dates can do this into organic search (SEO). Your PPC ads and organic results will increase the number of opportunities for searchers to visit your website.

2. Using PPC Keywords to Improve SEO Ranking

You can use Google Ads to bid for the same PPC keywords that target SEO. This helps ensure more exposure for the long and short-tail keywords. Furthermore, PPC allows you to test your keyword strategy to determine the most effective keywords for long-term SEO campaigns.

Long Tail Keyword Graphic

3. Boosts Traffic

SEO and PPC ads provide the best chances of boosting and earning valuable traffic. Promoting a business with the help of Google AdWords will help you generate traffic quickly. But when you use SEO marketing strategies with it, you’ll get long-term traffic.

Do Google Ads improve SEO?

While Google Ads can undoubtedly help with SEO, it’s important to note that it doesn’t directly improve your website’s search engine optimisation or rankings within search engines. SEO involves optimising the ranking of your website on search engines like Google through strategic changes and off-page work like link building and branding to look more authoritative. This makes your website more visible and relevant to users.

One way to increase the visibility of your website is through paid advertising, such as Google Ads. By featuring your website at the top of search results pages, you can potentially attract more traffic and improve your ranking on search engines over time. However, remember that this does not directly affect your website’s rankings or SEO.

To optimise your website’s SEO, focusing on factors such as creating high-quality and relevant content, improving the user experience, and acquiring reputable backlinks from other websites is essential. These efforts can help elevate your website’s ranking on search engines and increase user visibility.

So which is better? AdWords or SEO in 2024?

To summarise, SEO and PPC ads are not competitors when choosing your brand’s digital marketing strategy. The final decision is up to you as it depends on the nature and goals of your business.

Both marketing strategies are different and have their advantages and disadvantages. Speaking with a professional can help boost your overall return on investment.

If you ask us, investing in SEO and Google Ads is best to grow your business online. Together, they improve brand visibility and traffic, increasing the number of leads and sales.

The integrated approach balances the downsides of using organic and paid searches individually. With AdWords, you get instant results, but SEO is needed to sustain long-term online success.

However, it’s important to note that both strategies need you to spend significant time and money growing the online business. So make sure you consider factors like your website objectives and budget before reaching a decision.

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey is the CEO of sitecentre®, leading his distinguished Australian digital marketing agency using data analytics and Artificial Intelligence in SEO and Paid Advertising. His adept use of machine learning and AI has gained industry-wide recognition, Brodey has received several industry awards for SEO, Web Design and business, including the Young Small Business Champion Entrepreneur 2023 award. With 15 years under his belt, Brodey is amongst Australia’s most influential digital marketers.

Find them on their website: sitecentre®.

Related Blog Articles

Keep reading; the following articles have personally chosen for you. If you find our blog helpful, consider subscribing to our newsletter.

Google Ads SEO?

Do Google Ads Help SEO?

Brodey Sheppard

Does Google Ads improve your website’s SEO? Unfortunately, the answer is no. However, this blog explains why and offers alternative solutions to help your website rank better in search engines.

AI Google Ads

AI For Google Ads

Brodey Sheppard

Discover the power of AI for Google Ads and boost your campaign performance with the latest tools and techniques. Learn how AI can optimise your advertising strategy.

Setup Google Remarketing Ads

How To Setup Google Remarketing Ads

Danny Mahoney

Want to set up a successful remarketing campaign through Google Ads? Our informative guide will help you create a remarketing list to attract website visitors.

Ready to get started?

Ready to grow to the next level with sitecentre®?

Get Started 1300 755 306