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Google Ads vs. SEO: Which Is Better in 2021?

When investing in advertising, the goal is always to get as many qualified buyers or leads into your pipeline as possible with minimal spend. To stretch your marketing pounds as far as possible, it is necessary to determine what channels are likely to be most effective for your business.

In today’s world, the most effective marketing channels are online. Digital marketing enables you to reach buyers anywhere in the world. You can also target individual users by utilizing data and sophisticated algorithms. Read on to learn whether Google Ads or SEO will give you the best results.

Marketers have used SEO and Google Ads for over a decade to acquire new leads. Although the importance of these channels has grown in recent years, they remain similar to how they were when they first became viable. However, which marketing channel provides the highest return on investment in today’s world?

What Is Google Ads?

Google Ads is an online advertising product that enables you to buy clicks to a particular webpage. Unlike many other online advertising platforms, Google Ads enables bidding for specific keywords. Therefore, you can calculate almost exactly how much you will have to pay to have your content seen by a specific number of users from particular demographics who are searching for the keywords you target.

In online marketing, Google Ads is important because it commands a majority of the revenue in the online advertising space. Google’s dominance is unlikely to go away in the future because it has long retained over 90 percent of online search traffic.

Why Pay-Per-Click Ads Matter

There are a wide range of advantages to using pay-per-click ads instead of organic channels, like SEO or social media marketing. When you use PPC ads, you can guarantee visibility for search terms that are relevant to your target market. Ranking for many highly competitive keywords can be nearly impossible when using organic channels alone. Using Google Ads you can view your website at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs).  You can outrank competitors that dominate organic search when you are at the top of the SERPs.

Pay-per-click ads also enable you to get started immediately so that you don’t have to wait for months for your website to start ranking. Also, PPC ads minimize revenue timing delays, so you can get back your investment in a matter of days if you are directly selling products. Using machine learning and your own data, these ads can also be used to target specific buyers who are already in your funnel or to remarket to.

When to Use SEO?

Search engine optimization is also a viable option for marketing your business in 2021. SEO is advantageous because you can theoretically use it to grow your business without having to spend any money. In practice, creating content for SEO entails costs because time is required to create content. Most SEO strategies involve creating articles and content that appeal to buyers searching for keywords that are relevant to your offerings.

Creating article content can take a substantial amount of time, but investing this time can pay rich dividends by bringing in customers for years. Some articles that were created over 10 years ago continue to bring in traffic for businesses today. And many articles that are created today will continue to drive traffic for year to come. Therefore, content is a long-term investment that can yield an enormous ROI over time.

SEO is a crucial marketing channel in 2021 because the vast majority of purchasing decisions are made online through organic content. Some buyers do not ever click on ads or do not see them because of ad blockers, so SEO is necessary to reach the buyers who are important to your business.

Deciding Whether to Use Google Ads or SEO

The reality is that both SEO and Google Ads can be advantageous in some situations. Most businesses will get better results by using either Google Ads or SEO. However, both should be used to get the best results and to avoid dependence on one particular channel that can change overnight.

If you are already using digital marketing, there are a wide range of tools that can be used to assess your current performance. These tools can reveal opportunities for improvement, and they can also help you to determine whether Google Ads or SEO is a better option in your situation.

  1. How Is User Experience on Your Website?

Making a website that can rank prominently online takes a substantial amount of time and expertise. If your website has usability issues or is designed poorly, it will have a disadvantage in SEO. Of course, developing a well-designed website is more inexpensive than ever before, but this upfront cost could be prohibitive for some businesses.

  1. How Quickly Do You Need Revenue?

Most SEO professionals say that businesses need to wait at least six months before receiving results from SEO. However, some websites can take over a year to start ranking. If you need revenue immediately, Google Ads is often a better choice. However, you should consider your long-term goals since investing in content will usually yield a higher ROI in the long run.

  1. How Much Time Do You Have?

When you do SEO, it is important to continue publishing new content over time. If you stop creating new content, your website could receive a ranking penalty. Also, creating an initial base of content can take hundreds of hours of time. However, if you have time to establish a website and create a couple of dozen articles, SEO may be your best option.

  1. What Is Your Budget?

Google Ads is expensive in many niches because major market leaders can usually afford to bid up ad prices. If your marketing budget is not large enough to buy a sufficient volume of ads, you could struggle to obtain enough revenue to achieve your goals.

In many cases, therefore, you will need to invest in creating content for SEO. However, content is expensive. If you plan to outsource content creation, you will need enough capital to cover the cost of purchasing this content. Nevertheless, since many SEO campaigns can yield a return on investment, many business owners can justify going to great lengths to obtain the capital necessary to fund content creation.

Choosing Between SEO and Google Ads

Whether to use Google Ads or SEO is a decision that every business should always make based on individual circumstances.  In cases where you need immediate revenue, precise targeting, Google Ads is often the best option. In other cases, SEO is the best option because it provides long-term results through content that you can create yourself. To make the right decision, experiment with using both channels, learn from observing your competitors, and conduct sufficient research online.

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Posted by Gareth Allen

Over the past 20 years, I have worked on magazine/newspaper design & pre-press production, advertising, POS, DM, brand creation and guardian. I'm a front end-digital designer (html/css), SEO & SEM with a passion for digital marketing.