The SEO vs Google Ads debate has been raging for quite some time now. On one side, there are those that swear by Search Engine Optimization. To them, there can be no better way of boosting a brand’s online visibility and, by extension, its bottom line, than by adopting a wide range of SEO best practices. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who would stake their lives on Google Ads. For this lot, the best way of improving visibility in today’s cutthroat environment is by advertising on Google. So, which should you opt for, between SEO and Google Ads? First, let us briefly define the two; 

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engines work in mysterious ways. The challenge, if you run a website, is to find means through which you can get to the top of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Being ranked high translates into an improved CTR. That, in turn, means more money for your business. Fortunately, though still shrouded in mystery, there are a number of steps that you can take to improve your standing on Google and other Search Engines. Search Engine Optimization can be defined as the steps that are taken to boost a web page’s visibility to Search Engines. These steps include; 

  • Link building (backlinks and internal links)
  • Regular content creation
  • Keyword research and optimization
  • Getting a faster web host
  • Optimizing your pages for mobile devices


Defining Google Ads

Google Ads is, without doubt, one of the most useful tools in the digital marketer’s bag of tricks. If you are a newbie, terms that you are likely to hear people throwing around include Pay per Click (PPC), Cost per Mille (CPM), campaigns and bids. Don’t let that scare you! So, what is Google Ads? 

Google Ads is a digital advertising platform that is owned by Google, the world’s biggest Search Engine. Google Ads runs like a huge auction house. If you are one of the advertisers that use the platform, you actually need to compete with others for prime position on Google SERPS. So, where do Google Ads appear? 

  • On Google Search Engine Results Pages
  • On YouTube
  • On Websites that have signed up for Google AdSense

Google Ads vs SEO


Now that we have defined the two, it’s time for us to compare Google Ads and SEO. Which of them should you opt for as a business? Should you go for Google Ads, with its promise of reaching the maximum number of prospects in the shortest possible of times? Or rather, should you opt for the more enduring SEO? Well, the following are some tips that should help you choose between Google Ads and SEO; 

  • SEO tends to be long term

Search Engine Optimization, it has to be said, is not for the impatient. If you think you are going to clean up your website today and begin reaping rewards tomorrow, then you are in for a major bout of disappointment. Many an SEO agency have found themselves at the receiving end of their client’s ire after failing to deliver on lofty promises. The thing to note is that it can take up to six months for you to begin yielding SEO results. So, if you are looking for immediate results, SEO is not for you. You are better off going to Google Ads. 

  • Google Ads can get you immediate results

Google Ads is great for those that are looking for immediate results. Let’s assume that you have set up a real estate website today. In most instances, it can take up to 2 years for you to begin seeing meaningful organic traffic to your website. However, results, when it comes to Google Ads, largely depend on your bottom line. The more you spend, the more likely it is that you are going to outbid your competitors. Your ads will, therefore, go to the top, where they have a better chance of being seen by your prospects. Of course, things in real life are not that simple. There are ways through which you can be competitive on Google Ads without having to break the bank.

Boost your CTR with Seller Ratings

Should you go the Google Ads route, a good way of boosting your CTR is by getting Seller Ratings. Seller Ratings appear on Google CPC text ads, and, according to Google, can increase your CTR by as much as much as 17%. You can get Seller Ratings by signing up with a 3rd party review aggregator like eKomi, or through Google Customer Reviews. 


  • SEO is enduring

One of the negative things about advertising on Google is that the ads that you create are not enduring. What we mean by this is that the moment you stop advertising, your traffic is going to start drying up. So, you actually need to continue paying to continue seeing the results that you are looking for.

That is not the same when it comes to SEO. The really great thing about Search Engine Optimization is that, once started, it will continue delivering results for a long time. Should you have web pages that are at the top on Search Engines, you can rest assured that you will continue reaping the rewards of your efforts well into the future. Of course, SEO is not static. You need to continue working, even on your most successful pages, to keep them at the top. However, SEO is still a winner, when compared to Google Ads, in terms of endurance. 


  • SEO is cheaper than Google Ads

If cost is your foremost consideration, then you are going to have to opt for SEO (depending on the industry). That’s because Search Engine Optimization tends to be cheaper, when compared to Google Ads. Indeed, SEO is something that you can carry out on your own, if you are patient. However, most people prefer to hire the services of one of the many SEO companies that are floating around out there. The thing to note here is that you are going to have to tamper your expectations when it comes to harvesting the results of your efforts. SEO takes time, as we have already noted.


  • It’s easier to calculate your ROI with Google Ads

With Google Ads, you can be very precise when it comes to calculating your Returns on Investment (ROI). The same cannot be said with SEO. It’s also easier, when advertising on Google, to determine strategies that bring the best results. Let’s assume that you have changed your copy. Should this begin to yield positive results, you will know after a few days. With SEO, on the other hand, it takes so much time for results to become apparent that you may find it hard to pinpoint progress to one particular action on your part.

Which one should I use?

If you are a new company, you need to start with Google Ads. This allows you to get to the top without having to wait years for your strategies to begin bearing the desired results. However, there is nothing stopping anybody from using BOTH SEO and Google Ads. Doing this allows you to get the best of both worlds, so, depending on your budget; this is the kind of strategy that we most recommend to our readers.