(That’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC).)

When Google Adwords was launched it seemed to be the answer to getting your website seen and to drive vast traffic to your site.  It didn’t really matter who came to your site, as long as the site traffic increased.  However, amongst many marketers, it is now regarded as a tool that could cost you a fortune if used incorrectly!

The question is, is Google Adwords a credible tool in the marketing mix?

To be honest, it all depends on a number of factors; Who’s your audience – do they even use Google?  What is your product or service – it may be completely irrelevant to advertise on Google?  How well is your website optimised for search engines (SEO)?

If your website appears towards the top of the first page of the natural search results for your keywords, and you are getting sufficient click throughs, then using Google Adwords is probably a waste of money.  Generally, people trust the natural search results rather than the paid advertising.

However, if your website is underperforming in natural search results then splitting your budget and paying for Google Adwords in the short term whilst improving SEO is possibly worthwhile.  But the end goal should be to improve your position in the natural search results.

Another reason for paid search is for a product launch, or to get a specific message published or a new website that hasn’t been live long enough to appear towards the top of search results.

In summary, paid search does have its place, but make sure you are clear that it will deliver returns and that you are using other techniques to drive traffic to your site.  Google Adwords could leave you with a huge bill to pay if you don’t manage it correctly.

About Leigh Hopwood

Strategic Marketing Consultant | Chartered Marketer | Specialist in B2B Technology and Services Marketing. I can help your technology or services business be heard and grow. Email me on
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8 Responses to SEO or PPC?

  1. Thanks for some great information reagrding this

  2. Thanks for some great information reagrding this

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  6. A really useful post – thanks Leigh

    I don’t think it’s necessarily an either/or argument for PPC vs SEO.

    *On-site* SEO at least (i.e. having good quality, regularly-updated, keyword-rich content, in a well-built accessible site, with keywords within your meta meta data and page URLs etc) is a must for any commercial website – whatever you’re selling, and whatever other marketing channels you’re using.

    For me SEO needs to sit side by side with the PPC activity, as you will ultimately pay less for more traffic where google search terms match keywords in your ad text and target landing pages on your website.

    In terms of the PPC activity itself, for some of our clients it has provided a much-needed initial boost for a new website until the natural search kicks in; for some PPC is something that continually drives the majority of their traffic (and conversions!); for others it simply never takes off!

    My advice re PPC would be to ‘suck it and see’ – you’ll soon know whether or not it’s going to generate the ROI you need, but most fundamentally get some decent web tracking in place (even Google Analytics) before you spend a penny…

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