• Marketing

PPC Vs. Organic Search Marketing: Which Is Better?

  • Derek Vervoorn
  • 7 min read
PPC Vs. Organic Search Marketing: Which Is Better?


There's no doubt that both PPC and organic search marketing are effective methods of driving traffic to your website. But which one is better?

This post puts both PPC and organic search marketing under the proverbial microscope to better understand each method.

I'll provide a detailed explanation of both, discuss the pros and cons of each method, look at the different situations where one might be better than the other, and much more.

So read on to learn everything you need to know about PPC vs. organic search marketing!

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing?

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing?

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing is a form of online advertising. Businesses display ads on websites and pay a fee every time their ad is clicked. The goal of PPC marketing is to drive traffic to a website or landing page to generate leads or sales.

PPC campaigns can be run on a variety of platforms; search engines like Google and Bing, social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, and even websites that display ads through Google Adsense.

To succeed with PPC, you need to carefully craft hooks/offers, choose the right keywords, and bid enough to ensure that your ad will be displayed prominently. But while PPC marketing can be effective, it can also be costly, so you need to weigh the potential benefits against the risks before starting a campaign.

Let's take a closer look at the different types of PPC marketing based on the website you're advertising on.

Search Intent PPC

Search intent PPC is a type of paid search marketing that focuses on targeting users actively searching for something.

On Google, Bing, and YouTube, businesses can create ads and bid on keywords related to their product or service. Then, whenever someone searches for one of those keywords, the ad will be displayed at the top of the results page (provided you have won the bidding war).

Interest-Based PPC

Interest-based PPC is a type of paid search marketing that focuses on targeting users based on, you guessed it, their interests.

This is determined by the websites they visit or the content they view. It's primarily done through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. It allows you to target users based on the pages they've liked or topics they're interested in.

Advertisers can use interests or viewing behaviors to ensure their ads get in front of people who are likely to be interested in their product/service.

YouTube is unique because it has a search function as well as a discovery function. This enables it to be used for both search intent and interest-based advertising.

Interest-based PPC is often used by businesses that want to reach a broader audience and bring them into their world.

Pros & Cons of PCC


  • Fast results: PPC ads give you feedback almost instantaneously. Now, the results aren't always positive ones, but they are results nonetheless. This means you learn quickly if ads need to be adjusted or if you should increase your spending.
  • Easily measurable: PPC ads are very black and white when measuring performance. They're either working, or they're not. There's not much ambiguity. This allows you to be confident when scaling winning ads and shutting off poorly performing campaigns.
  • Can be very targeted: PPC makes it easy to target specific demographics, interests, or locations. You can even choose the time of day when your ads are displayed. This helps to ensure that the people seeing your ads are more likely to be interested in what you offer.


  • More persuasion skills needed: For PPC ads to perform well, you have to understand copywriting and how to channel interest. This requires quite a bit of experience with persuasive writing. Without it, people will have no interest in clicking on your ads, and your money will go to waste.
  • Requires daily monitoring: PPC campaigns require constant monitoring and optimization. You need to keep an eye on your ad spend, ensure your bids aren't too high or too low and track user behavior. Of course, you can set up automated systems to help with this, but it still requires work to ensure everything runs smoothly.
  • Costs can be very high depending on your industry: Depending on the industry you're in, PPC clicks can cost quite a bit. This is especially true in competitive industries like finance and insurance. So if you're in one of these industries, be prepared to pay more for clicks.

What is Organic Search Marketing?

What is Organic Search Marketing?

Organic search marketing is a digital marketing strategy called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It focuses on increasing the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs).

The goal of organic search marketing is to earn a high ranking in SERPs for keyword phrases related to the website's products or services, which will ultimately lead to more website visitors.

There are several different tactics that can be used to improve a website's organic visibility.

Some more prominent ones are optimizing the website's content and structure for specific keywords, building high-quality backlinks from other websites and having a high-quality on-page user experience.

While it takes time and effort to implement an effective organic search marketing strategy, the long-term payoffs can be well worth it.

Pros & Cons of Organic


  • Once you're ranking, it requires minimal maintenance: Organic search is a long-term play. You do the work upfront to get your pages ranking, and then after that, you don't have to put in much work to maintain those rankings. This is especially true if you use white-hat SEO tactics.
  • Builds long-term visibility: As long as you follow Google's guidelines, organic search results tend to stay up for a long time. So your website can maintain visibility and be seen as an industry expert for long periods of time.
  • Can be highly targeted: Organic search marketing offers the opportunity to target specific keywords and phrases related to your products or services. This way, you can ensure that your content reaches the right audience.


  • Long feedback loop: Unlike PPC, organic search is a long-term play. It can take months to start seeing results, so you have to be patient and consistent in your efforts. This means you won't get feedback on whether your strategy is working for quite a while.
  • Requires deep technical knowledge: SEO is a complex field and requires quite a bit of technical expertise. This means you either have to have the skills to do SEO yourself or hire a professional to help you.
  • Google updates: Google regularly changes its algorithm, which can lead to sudden fluctuations in organic visibility. This means you have to be prepared to adapt your strategy as needed and stay updated.
  • Competitive: There's very limited real estate in SEO. There's only 1 first page to rank for particular keywords. That means ranking for certain keywords and phrases can be very competitive.

PPC Vs. Organic: Which is Better For You?

Both PPC advertising and organic marketing have their value. To say one is ultimately better than the other would be misleading.

However, different businesses have different goals and needs, so it may be the case that one is better suited for your particular situation than the other.

PPC advertising can be a great way to quickly test and refine new ideas and reach a larger audience. Whereas organic search marketing can be an effective long-term strategy that offers more consistent visibility.

If you need quick visibility, then PPC may be the better option. However, suppose you're looking for more long-term, sustainable growth and are willing to invest in ongoing SEO efforts. In that case, organic search marketing may be the better option.

Ultimately, it's important to weigh each method's pros and cons and decide which is best for your situation. Both PPC and organic search marketing can be powerful tools in your digital marketing arsenal as long as they're used correctly.

The best approach is often a combination of both organic search marketing and PPC, which gives you the benefits of both methods.

By leveraging the strengths of both, you can create a highly effective and comprehensive campaign that will maximize your online visibility and help generate more leads and sales.

How To Use Both PPC & Organic Marketing To Your Advantage

Combining organic marketing with PPC ads is extremely powerful if you have the bandwidth.

The key to success with PPC and organic search marketing is to understand how they can work together.

Retargeting Ads

The most powerful benefit of combined efforts between SEO and PPC is retargeting. Once your organic traffic starts to pick up, you can retarget people who have visited your website with ads on social media.

These ads are much more likely to convert because they're going to a warm audience already familiar with your brand. This means they are much more likely to be interested in one of your offers.

For example, when someone reads an SEO-related blog on Ranktracker, we know they are either a website owner or someone who helps websites rank. This means putting a retargeting ad in front of them with an SEO-related offer has a high chance of converting.

They're familiar with the brand and clearly are looking for information to help them improve their SEO skills.

Quickly Test Offers

With PPC ads, you can quickly test different offers/hooks/lead magnets. You can get thousands of impressions and clicks relatively quickly and see what resonates with people and what doesn't.

Once you've found a clear winner, meaning many people click on the ad and opt-in for your offer, you now have a good offer for your website with free organic traffic.

If you create a fantastic piece of shareable content that may not rank for a while, you can promote it using PPC ads.

This can help you get people talking about your brand and possibly get you valuable backlinks.

Final Thoughts

Organic search and PPC marketing are two powerful tools that can be used to help you generate more leads and sales.

Both have pros and cons, and it's important to weigh the cost and benefits of each method, given your situation.

Both require technical skills to make successful. But, depending on your time horizon and the available resources will ultimately determine which path is initially best for you.

Though, when used together, they can create a strong and comprehensive marketing plan to maximize your online visibility.

Derek Vervoorn

Derek Vervoorn

Derek Vervoorn is an SEO and Content Marketing specialist. His blog, Ascendoo.com, explores digital technologies and solutions that help entrepreneurs thrive in an increasingly digitized world.

Link: Ascendoo.com

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