AdWords vs. SEO. What really works?
4 years ago
AdWords and SEO are two main tools for running online marketing campaigns. There are many differences between them but they have one common goal - reaching out to users thanks to high position of the website in search engine. They are used together or separately depending on business and marketing goals.
AdWords and SEO are not competitors. They are two powerful tools available in the huge e-marketing arsenal. Paid advertisement in search engine works only when we want to quickly reach intended results, SEO is a time-consuming process aimed at long-term success on the Web.

What is Google AdWords?

AdWords is an advertising platform which belongs to Google. Advertisers use it for placing their ads on websites from search results including services that belong to Google, e.g. YouTube or Gmail as well as on thousand other websites which take part in AdWords programme as an editor (Googel AdSense).
As an advertiser you pay for the ad when someone clicks on it (CPC = Cost Per Click) or when the ad is displayed a given amount of times (CPM = Cost Per 1000 Impressions). The whole AdWords system works like a huge auction service where different advertisers compete for the access to advertising sites.

What is SEO?

SEO, i.e. Search Engine Optimalization, influences gaining higher position in Google, Yahoo, Bing search results. For this you need to make sure that the website is ‘search engine-friendly’. But what does it mean?
A ‘friendly’ website is useful and filled with content that is desired by users and simultaneously it is better indexed by search engines. SEO is a wide subject. All in all - it is about having a fast and functional website with unique content which guarantees the user pleasurable experience.

AdWords vs. SEO

90% of users never browse any other websites in search engine except the first one
Helping out a website in the battle for better visibility in the search engine is a necessity if we want to actively increase traffic to the site and treat the Internet as a place for customer acquisition. Placing a site on the first page of Google search should be the main goal. As many as 90% of users never browse other sites except the first.

AdWords as well as SEO help the website to be on the first site of Google search. AdWords are paid ads that will appear after writing key words established by the advertiser in the camapign. SEO represents organic search results which mainly depend on unique and well-prepared content of the website.

AdWords - seemingly easy ad on the web

Effective AdWords campaign must be well-considered, suitable for the branch, company, product, service, target group etc.
Theoretically, implementing and running an AdWords campaign is not difficult. Practically, on the other hand, incompetent use of this tool is like playing in casino - you can spend lots of money and achieve expected results (or even better) or lose everything. Effective campaign must be well-considered, suitable for a given branch, company, product, target group etc. With the same care budget for the campaign should be chosen. In this case, high rates don’t guarantee success.

Despite a seemingly easy system, to run a successful campaign you need knowledge, experience and lots of time. Only then you can expect return on investment

Pros of AdWords 

  • Simple - implmentation and running the campaign does not involve any difficult tasks.
  • Automatic start of the camapign - adverts are displayed right after choosing the right key words and launching the campaign
  • You pay for the results - AdWords works as pay-per-click (PPC) that means Google expects from you to pay only when someone clicks on the ad.
  • Precise guidance - ads are displayed only for selected key words which specify best given products or services. Moreover, you can direct ads onto a specific geographical area and adjust the time and even hours of them being displayed.
  • Budget control - you can determine a suitable budget designed for a particular period of the campaign as well as a maximum day fare.
  • Various formats - you can use different formats of AdWords ads such as text, photos, videos. Of course the last two options are much more expensive than the first one.
  • Statistics - AdWords displays the immediate set of statistics which give an overview of what is effective and what is not. It is easy to analyse the effectiveness of ads and to make current changes to the panel. 

Cons of AdWords

  • Price depends on the rates of key words of competitors - the actual price per click is determined automatically by Google bidding system. It depends on different factors such as maximum price per click, quality of key word, quality of target website.
  • It’s tough (but possible) to estimate return on investment - To count ROI rate you should take into consideration many aspects: what is the value of your product in comparison with the value of click cost, how many ‘empty’ clicks there are per one sale, what should be the budget to achieve desired results etc.
  • You lose independence - Your ad in AdWords will depend on Google. At the same time you are dependent on the changing rates of key words. But if you don’t want to use the AdWords program, your website will not be visible without a solid organic SEO.
  • People do not always click on paid ads - 75% of users are more likely to click on organic results than advertising. Everything depends on the target group we want to reach. In some specific industries paid ads in search engine may not work out that is why it is very important to make a prior, thorough analysis of ads potential for specific preferences of a target group.
  • Higher ratio of throwbacks - AdWords ads pointing to an average target website or promoting a company of worse reputation in the market may not produce satisfying results. If the user, after entering the site, will not receive the content he expected by clicking on an advertisement, he will leave it quickly. It is important, therefore, that the keywords and ad content are correlated with attractive and functional landing page. 90% of the effectiveness of AdWords ads depends on properly designed website with unique and useful content.

SEO, so patience pays off

SEO is a long-term investment
Although AdWords guarantees automatic appearance in search engine, SEO is a long-term investment which also brings satisfying results. Good SEO, however, consists of several key components, including content marketing, website optimization, organic traffic and as many links leading to the site as possible. All these elements correlate in helping the website reach its highest position.

Advantages of SEO

  • Efficiency - To have a high position in Google search engine you don’t have to pay anything. Unfortunately, only theoretically. Good SEO requires relevant content on the page, which requires cooperation with a specialist who will optimize it properly. And this sometimes requires an investment of more capital than AdWords.
  • Creating good content - SEO requires good, unique and useful content. The right content is valuable to visitors who stay longer on the site, want to see her again, and consequently build value and credibility of the brand.
  • Credibility - 75% of users click on organic results. For many users they are more credible than paid links.
  • User-friendly website - Key element of good SEO is the need to create a user-friendly website that will attract visitors and potential customers. A well-organized site will help you gain the favor of not only Internet users but also Google, thus its position in the search engine will gradually rise.
  • Long-term results - Achieving a good position on the first page of Google search is not over. The next step is to stay on it as long as possible. And it also requires work. However, this is a good mobilization to update the page, to continually add content that is attractive to users, thereby ensuring its high level.
  • Statistics - SEO results are available in Google Analytics. It is a completely free tool in the basic version. Analysis of the results help to estimate the effectiveness of the SEO actions. We'll find out here, among others, what content is most attractive for users, what links lead to a landing page, where, on the page, users spend most of the time and so on.

Disadvantages of SEO

  • An endless process - one-time optimization of a website is not enough. Google changes its algorithms quite frequently, even more than 400 times a year. Latest updates to Google Panda and Google Penguin had a specific impact on SEO. The aim was to provoke all those taking any unethical SEO actions to stop. These updates are important and have a direct impact on the position of the page, so it is necessary to continuously follow the latest trends.
  • Time-consuming - SEO is a time-consuming process compared to AdWords, which brings immediate results. Current and unique content, good quality links, well-selected keywords, meta tags and many other factors that need to be taken care of while optimizing a page is primarily a lot of time spent on SEO. It can take weeks, months or even longer to wait for first results.
  • Good quality website - Website must meet several key requirements to successively improve its position. In addition to the well-chosen keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions should be characterized by friendly layout, usability and valuable content for users. Google also appreciates the regular updating of sites’ content and as many lead links shares as possible.
  • Absence of websites that are not designed for mobile devices in mobile search results - Unfortunately, if the company website is not adjusted to mobile devices, optimizing is not enough for it to appear in mobile search results. In such cases, AdWords is the solution, or - preferably - to update the site to responsive or mobile version. Read more in Changes in Google: Mobile Pages better evaluated by the Algorithms

What is better: AdWords or SEO?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. In fact, everything depends on the specifics of a particular industry, the nature of the company, services offered or products, the preferences of the target group, competitiveness etc. Frequently, these two forms of promotion online are combined. AdWords is necessary during start-up of the campaign, while SEO helps maintain your site on a high position in organic search results in the long run and motivates us to continuously improve and update the website.
If you are looking for the best internet marketing strategies for your business, Contact Us and we will help you achieve your goals!
© CePixel Sp. z o.o., ul. Mochnackiego 25, 35-016 Rzeszów, Poland

CePixel Agency, Advertising Agency, Advertising Agency Poland, Interactive agency, Websites Poland, Web design Poland, Image creation Poland, Marketing Agency, Visual identification Poland, Website design