paid advertising seo

Choosing between SEO and paid ads to grow your online business can be difficult. After all, some digital marketing experts share that SEO is better, while others favor paid advertising. 

In this blog, we’ll provide digital marketing tips and list the pros and cons of both so you can determine what works best for your brand. 

Deciding Between SEO & Paid Ads

To truly evaluate the effectiveness of both marketing strategies, consider the statistics below.


  • Purely organic content on position 1 of the SERPs have a click-through rate of 34.2%.
  • SEO has an ROI of 5x to 12.2x.
  • SEO traffic is 5x higher than PPC and 10x higher than social media.

Paid ads

  • 50% of people who arrive at a retail store from paid ads are more likely to complete a purchase than those coming from organic search.
  • 33% of people click on an ad if it’s highly relevant to their search query.
  • Companies can boost brand awareness by 80% through Google paid ads.
  • 53% of paid click ads come from mobile devices.

As you can see, both SEO and paid advertising offer countless opportunities to drive results and increase your revenue — the only differences lie in strategy and cost.

To help you make a more informed decision, we’ve listed the pros and cons of each.

Advantages of SEO


Even though SEO isn’t completely free, it’s still a cost-effective option if you’re on a budget. However, you’ll need tools like Moz and Ahrefs to identify valuable keywords to drive greater traffic to your website. 

Generates continued traffic

Once you’ve singled out relevant keywords and semantic search terms, you can generate more consistent traffic to your site. For example, you can incorporate these keywords whenever you publish evergreen content, like a blog post that lists digital marketing tips for small businesses.

Promotes brand awareness

The goal is to make your content appear on the first page of the SERPs to build your brand’s authority and offer value to your readers. That way, you can position your site as the go-to industry source and stay top-of-mind among your target audience.

Disadvantages of SEO

Slow results

Driving results from SEO takes time. Google says it’ll take between four to 12 months before your SEO strategy gains traction. Sometimes, you can speed up the results and work with a reputable digital marketing agency for greater transparency and updates on your SEO campaigns.

There are no guarantees

One of the most common digital marketing tips you’ll encounter is optimizing your digital marketing strategy for SEO. Just remember that there are no guarantees that your SEO campaign will drive results. After all, many factors come into play, like algorithm changes and competitor analysis. 

Fierce competition

Almost any industry has fierce competition in the SEO space because it’s a low-cost platform that offers high potential.

Even if you’re working with the best digital marketing agency, seeing results from SEO can be a struggle because of the cutthroat competition.

Advantages of paid advertising

Immediate results

If SEO takes months to drive results, you can make progress with paid ads within 24 hours.! In fact, with the right approach, your product or service could make it to the top of SERPs.

A good way to improve visibility is by promoting your content on social media networks. That way, you can generate greater traffic. 

Targeted ads

Paid ads allow you to target a specific demographic group. Even if you’re selling a niche product like tennis rackets, dog recovery sleeves, or virtual guitar lessons, you can display your ads to relevant audiences through paid ads. It helps to target your intended market, so it only appears to those with high purchase intent.

Tight budget control

Even though targeted ads cost more, you can control your spending. For example, you can set a daily spending limit to avoid breaking the bank. So even with limited cash, you can still reach your target audience and increase your revenue!

Disadvantages of paid advertising

Short-term strategy

Just as the name implies, paid ads are only effective as long as you’re paying for them. Once you hit pause on your paid ads campaigns, you could struggle to attract more leads. This could pose a limitation for start-up businesses feeling strapped for cash.

Pricing competition

Apart from the cost, you’ll also need to contend with other businesses bidding for the ad space. In turn, it could result in a price war, which happens when you’re both targeting the same keywords.

Avoid getting into a pricing competition by targeting long-tail keywords. These search terms can address more specific queries and have less competition.

Banner blindness

Banner blindness describes how people consciously (or unconsciously) ignore ads in front of them. In fact, blindness to banner ads is forcing brands to rethink their strategy. After all, data shows that about $51.6B of ad spending is wasted because of this phenomenon.

The Best of Both Worlds: Merging SEO & Paid Ads

The trick is to find the sweet spot between SEO and paid ads so you can benefit from the best of both worlds. Consider how driving traffic through consistent blogging could take a while to produce results. However, you can accelerate your progress with paid ads and encourage your target audience to take profitable action. 

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod is an Editor of, who is passionate for app-based startup solutions and on-demand business ideas. He believes in spreading tech trends. He is an avid reader and loves thinking out of the box to promote new technologies.