SEO Vs Google Ads

SEO and Adwords

It’s the question that all business owners and marketing managers grapple with at some point: SEO vs. Google Ads – how do you choose the right marketing for your business?

Which will deliver the highest return on investment?

Should you just focus on one and not the other?

Or is a combined approach the best option for long-term results?

What Marketing Options are Available?

Online marketing will play a crucial role in the ongoing success of any business, so it makes sense to gain a basic understanding of what your options are and how they are most likely to have an impact on your online presence.

When implementing an online marketing strategy, the goal is to boost your website traffic, thereby generating more business leads, which will then naturally increase sales. But the details of that marketing strategy may be many and varied and will heavily depend on the unique needs of your business and what future growth targets you’re aiming for.

The easiest way to drive more traffic to your website is for it to appear at the top of search engine rankings – someone searches for keywords related to your business, your business is the first listing that comes up and, as a result, your business in the first one they click on. Simple.

With this goal in mind, most online marketing strategies will focus on using either Search Engine Optimisation (commonly referred to as SEO) or a targeted Google Ads campaign.

Both options can result in your business achieving improved search engine rankings, but in terms of execution (how they do it), they are actually very different.

What are Google Ads?

When you complete a Google search you may notice that the first four listings will have the word ‘Ad’ next to them. Unlike organic listings (the websites that naturally achieve higher rankings because they are relevant and trustworthy), these top four ‘Ads’ are (surprise, surprise) paid advertisements, also known as Google Ads.

How does a Google Ad campaign work?

Well, suppose you run a cabinetmaking business in Perth. Your target audience is people in the Perth area who are searching for cabinetmaking ideas or services. So, you run a campaign through Google that focuses on the key search term ‘cabinetmaking Perth’.

For the duration of the campaign, whenever someone searches Google using those keywords, your Google Ad will be one of the first listings to appear.

Google Ads operate on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, meaning that you will only be charged once a searcher actually clicks on your ad and proceeds through to your website.

The amount you pay depends on how competitive your industry is.

Some low competition niches only cost 30 cents a click while other competitive industries cost as high as $30-$50 per click. T

he viability of Google Ads really depends on how expensive your competitors are making it. Most of the time it is viable and still delivers a good return on investment however in some situations it has become so expensive that it is no longer worth investing in.

What is SEO Marketing?

Rather than just a quick return on investment strategy like Google Ads, Search Engine Optimisation is a slower strategy that focuses on the overall improvement of your business’ online presence you can achieve higher organic search rankings. Instead of paying to be at the top, SEO will help you qualify for a rightfully deserved place at the top. It involves a long-term strategy that is designed to enhance the overall visibility and content on your website, leading to an improved user experience (and a higher likelihood of making a sale).

The amount of work required for your SEO campaign is determined by the level of competition there is for the search terms you want your website to rank for. The more competitive the market, the more work needed to deliver results.

Google uses an incredibly complex algorithm to decide which of the billions of available websites should be included in a list of search results. At the heart of this algorithm are three basic questions which will be asked of every website: Is it useful? Is it relevant? Does it have authority?

An SEO strategy is designed to help your business answer ‘yes’ to these questions. For this reason, SEO could be referred to as a multi-pronged approach to online marketing, because it will focus on every facet of your online presence, making continual improvements for optimal results.

How Do Google Ads Compare to SEO?

When comparing Google Ads with SEO it’s important to look at the long-term numbers, not just the short-term. Essentially, a Google Ads campaign will involve a short-term investment with some immediate results. You’ll likely see a measurable increase in website traffic as soon as your Google Ad campaign begins. But, on the downside, this initial burst of success will disappear as soon as the campaign is over.

In contrast, SEO is more of a marathon than a sprint. It takes time to successfully implement a tailored SEO campaign as it involves so many different elements. But while the results may be a bit slower off the mark, the long-term results may be priceless.

With an expertly designed SEO strategy, you should start to see a gradual increase in search rankings that continues to grow and improve with time. And because SEO focuses so strongly on improving the user experience (making your online brand more useful, more relevant and more convincing) it typically leads to a much higher conversion rate.


Google Ads:

  • Costs are pay-per-click
  • Achieves short-term goals
  • Delivers quick results
  • Focuses on Google
  • Targets a wider range of keywords
  • Return on investment is easy to calculate



  • Costs nothing for organic search rankings
  • Achieves long-term goals
  • Delivers slow and steady results
  • Focuses on all search engines
  • Targets a select group of focus keywords
  • Return on investment is usually greater


SEO Vs Google Ads – How Do You Choose the Right Marketing for Your Business?

Deciding whether to focus on Google Ads or SEO will depend on a range of factors including your current online positioning, what industry you’re in, how quickly you need a return on investment, what your marketing budget is and what your long-term business goals are.

Ultimately, most businesses will benefit greatly from incorporating both methods into their online marketing strategy. But considering the long-term payoff of SEO and the clear preference online users are showing for organic listings, SEO consistently delivers the highest marketing return on investment.

If you’ve got additional questions regarding Google Ads or you’re looking for a solid SEO plan that is tailored to your business, then contact the experienced professionals at Net Search today. We can help you to optimise your business’ online presence using a smart marketing strategy that delivers measurable and long-term results.

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