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Google Ads vs SEO

by Nathan Harding
| 2 Mar 2020

When it comes to online marketing, two of the biggest tools are Google Ads and traditional SEO. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t know how to choose the one that is best for their business.

Wondering how to choose between Google Ads vs SEO? Keep reading to discover the answer!

How Do Google Ads Work?

Before you can choose between Google Ads and SEO, you must understand how each of them works. We’ll begin with a breakdown of Google Ads.

The short answer is that these ads allow you to pay Google in order to have your own ads appear on their products and services. This may be in the form of sponsored ads on somebody’s Google search results or advertisements in Youtube, Gmail, and so on.

How much you pay is determined by multiple factors. First is whether you will pay for Cost Per Click (CPC) or Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM). The second factor is the auction-like format in which you bid against competitors for specific ad slots.

In time, you will master a number of Google Ads options to help customers find your page.

How Does SEO Work?

Now you know a bit more about how Google Ads work. How, though, does traditional SEO play into your marketing?

SEO is the more traditional way of getting your websites to move up the Google Search rankings. Instead of outright paying to be on the first page of results, you can try a variety of Search Engine Optimisation tips to end up on there more naturally.

There are many factors to successful SEO. This ranges from using the right keywords and meta tags to having enough relevant content for visitors. Things like page load speed and how mobile-friendly the design is also factors into good SEO.

Different Flavors of SEO

One of the more confusing aspects of SEO also happens to make it surprisingly versatile. With the right SEO, you can target local, national, or international audiences.

Local SEO is something you’ve probably taken advantage of when travelling. If you type out something like “closest restaurant” or “restaurants in Melbourne,” you know how powerful local SEO can be.

As long as a business fills out their Google My Business Profile (a free service completely separate from Google Ads), they can take advantage of local Australian SEO, and the results provide useful info like address, map, and phone number. And other local SEO strategies can help your neighbours discover your business.

How to decide on national vs international SEO? It depends on the nature of your business. Most smaller businesses stick to national SEO and try to find success within Australia. But expanding businesses willing to deal with international postage may find a surprising amount of success in countries all around the world.

Google Maps Integration

One aspect of Google Ads that you may have overlooked is integration with Google Maps. This can be a powerful way of literally bringing customers right to your door.

Like any other Google product or service, Google Maps now features Google Ads. This means that when users are searching for things via Google Maps (whether via app or desktop), they’ll see advertisements for things like local deals and other promotions.

“Local” is the keyword here. If the customer gets excited about a sale they discover from your Google Ads, it only takes one click for Google Maps to give them step by step directions to your business.

Benefits of Google Ads over SEO

As you can see, both Google Ads and SEO have a number of potential uses. But are there any ways that Google Ads is a clear winner vs relying on traditional SEO?

First, Google Ads offers premium real estate at the top and bottom of first page results. With traditional SEO, it takes a mighty effort to make it to the front page, and many businesses never succeed in that goal.

Second, Google Ads is a major time-saver. If you have a time-sensitive campaign, Ads allow you to jump right into a targeted ad campaign whereas SEO takes significantly more time.

Finally, Google Ads allows you to easily focus on multiple keywords and accurately calculate your ROI. And having your choice of Google platforms is very useful for your marketing.

Benefits of SEO over Google Ads

As you can tell, Google Ads has a number of awesome benefits. But are there any ways that traditional SEO has Google beat?

The most obvious advantage of traditional SEO is that it doesn’t have an additional cost. While it may take longer for you to see results, you don’t have to dip into your company’s budget to create marketing magic.

Additionally, SEO carries the potential for longterm value. You get the benefit of Google Ads for as long as you make payments to Google. But SEO, when done right, will continue to net solid results for a very long time.

Finally, SEO is arguably better suited for companies wanting to focus exclusively on search results. For some companies, the additional bells and whistles of Google Ads (including ads on Youtube, Gmail, and Google Maps) may be unnecessary.

What Is Best for Newer Companies?

As we said, certain marketing strategies will be better for some companies than others. For newer companies, it makes more sense to focus on Google Ads.

This is primarily because of the fast turnaround time that Google Ads offers. A new company wants to make a splash and generate buzz, and longterm SEO strategies may take too long for such a company to get the impact they need.

However, nothing keeps such companies from working on free SEO strategies even as they employ Google Ads. In time, good SEO may replace the need for Google Ads. Or, at worst, the company can simultaneously pursue multiple strategies to move up the search rankings!

The Next Stage In Your Marketing Evolution

Now you know how to choose between Google Ads vs SEO. But do you know who can help take your online marketing to the next level?

We specialise in SEO, Google Ads, and much more. To see what we can do for your business, contact us today!

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