Google Ads VS SEO – Which One Delivers Better ROI

Apr 18, 2023Strategy

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Both Google Ads and SEO are valuable and important tools that will bring traffic to your website. Both serve a similar function, and are put together in similar ways. However, deciding which is best is not as simple as pitting them in a contest of Google Ads vs SEO. In fact, the two can go hand in hand!

The main difference between Google Ads and SEO is that with Search Ads you are paying or a position on Google Search results, whereas with SEO you are putting in effort to improve your organic position. Both are great digital marketing tools for getting your business found by the right audience.

Google Ads

Formerly known as Google AdWords (some agencies still refer to it by this name), Google Ads typically encompass the Ad search results you see when you look something up on Google. Going forward in this article, sponsored search results or Search ads will be referred to as Google Ads.

These ads appear when advertisers bid on keywords that will trigger the display of their advertisement when users type than keyword into Google search. An advertiser in this context can either be yourself, the business owner, or an agency who manages the account on your behalf.

The earliest form of keywords was called contextual advertising, which relied entirely on the specific wording of text-based ads to match it with appropriate keywords. Newer methods use in addition semantic data (i.e., the meaning) and syntactic data (i.e., building a logical sentence) to help improve ad targeting and relevance.

Bids on keywords can typically cost anywhere from $1 to $100. (And I\’ve seen higher!) But the average I like to work with is around $2-$4 per click. So this means that every time someone clicks on a search result you have paid for, it will deduct $2-4 from the budget you have set for your Google Ad campaign.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

SEO is a process of creating content, applying tweaks and special HTML code to your website in order to help it rank higher on search results. (More explained in: What is SEO and how it works.)

It’s not something you only do once, but requires some ongoing work. Google is always changing the search algorithm. Moreover, small changes in your website can have a major effect on your rankings and traffic. However, this is actually a good thing as updating your website content regularly ensures that it’s always relevant and helpful to your target audience.

Google Ads vs SEO. This business person can utilise both to bring more bookings into her calendar.
Google Ads vs SEO. Both are tools that you can apply to bring more bookings into your personal servicies business.

How Google Ads and SEO Work Together

Although gaining more traffic from Google ads is often quicker than SEO, it’s actually a good idea to do both. Here’s why: Because not only does Google look at how much you’d like to bid on a keyword, it also looks at the quality of your page. If your web page has poor SEO and poor user experience, Google may choose a better quality website to show higher in paid search results – even if you are willing to bid the most!

If you do the work to improve the SEO of your page, you are also improving your chances of appearing higher in paid search results.

Google Ads VS SEO, Which is Better?

Both Google Ads and SEO are ways to bring more visitors to your website via Google search. They both have differences and similarities.

“…if SEO is the marathon, then paid search ads is the sprint, and you can go straight to the top of the search results and start getting eyeballs on your ads immediately.”

Bronwyn, – Four Reasons to Invest in Paid Ads

SEO takes longer to implement and costs much less, but results in your site having more content that is helpful to your audience. Google Ads costs more but can potentially bring visitors to your website faster than SEO.

Although you can make a choice between Google Ads and SEO, having both together works very well! Doing at least a little bit of SEO work on your website to improve the performance of your Google Ads. It can potentially give you the edge over a competitor who is paying for Search Ads, but not doing SEO at all.

Lou Kozlevcar, SEO consultant
SEO consulting is one of the many services I offer as a freelancer.

If you have any questions about how this might work for you, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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