SEO vs. PPC: Benefits, Tradeoffs, and How They Work Together

One of the most common questions when it comes to online advertising is what the best method to use is. The two most effective ways of advertising on the Internet are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC), and many businesses find themselves asking which is better.

If your business is among these, read on. With over 500 client testimonials, DC Web Design & Marketing is the expert on both SEO and PPC. We’ll break down each of them for you below, so just keep reading to learn more!

What are SEO and PPC?

Before we start talking about the pros and cons of SEO and PPC, it’s a good idea to establish what SEO and PPC are, how they’re similar and different.

What is SEO?

SEO is a method of online advertising that involves using numerous strategies to optimize your web content appear so it will rank high in organic search engine results. The idea is to get your content ranking as high as possible for your target keywords, so more people will visit your site.

What is PPC?

PPC marketing also targets keywords, but it doesn’t aim to rank organically. Instead, it requires you to bid on each keyword, with the highest bidders getting their ads displayed above the organic search results for target keywords.

Benefits of SEO and PPC

Choosing between SEO and PPC marketing is no simple task. As you might expect, both SEO and PPC come with their own strengths, giving them separate sources of appeal.

Here’s an overview of the main benefits of SEO and PPC.


  • Impressive return on investment (ROI)
  • Drives long-term results
  • Viewed as more credible and trustworthy (since your site appears organically vs. using paid ads)


  • Quick to generate results
  • Placed at the top of search results above organic results
  • Flexible and open to experimentation
  • Capable of targeting specific groups
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Disadvantages of SEO and PPC

Unfortunately, for all their benefits, neither SEO nor PPC is perfect. They each have their share of flaws, and it’s equally important to be aware of these.

Here are a few cons of SEO and PPC.


  • Takes time to generate results
  • Requires original, authoritative content
  • Requires continual maintenance


  • Can become expensive if you operate in a competitive industry
  • Doesn’t seem as trustworthy as organic results
  • Only active while you keep paying for it

How SEO and PPC work together

Looking at the pros and cons of each method, we can now return to our original question, which one is best? The answer is, it depends.

That might seem anticlimactic, but it’s true. If you need a quick turnaround on your investment, for instance, PPC’s probably the way to go. Whereas if you’re looking to drive long-term results and maximize ROI, you should look into SEO.

But here’s the thing: The distinction between the two advertising methods is so often portrayed as an either/or decision that many people don’t stop to consider the idea of PPC and SEO working together.

If you invest in both SEO and PPC marketing, they can complement each other in some amazing ways:

  • Together, they can bring an overall increase in traffic volume.
  • You can target more expensive keywords with SEO and cheaper ones with PPC.
  • You can put user data you collect through PPC to use in your SEO.
  • You can experiment with things in PPC before committing to them in SEO.
  • You can gain first-time visitors to your site through SEO, and then retarget them with PPC ads.

In the end, it’s up to you what route you choose. You’ll want to consider factors like budget and time constraints. But don’t limit yourself where you don’t have to, it doesn’t always have to be one or the other.

Want to learn more about SEO vs. PPC for your business?

Whether you’re looking for SEO, PPC, or both, DC Web Design & Marketing is the digital marketing agency for you.

We offer both SEO and PPC, enabling you to work with the same group of people on both of them. And with over 20 years of experience in the industry, we’ll give you the best SEO and PPC you could ask for.

Just give us a call at 202-370-7515 or contact us online to get started today!