SEO vs Google Ads: Which Is Better?

Both methods help you get more traffic from Google, but which is best for your business?
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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads are two marketing strategies used to drive traffic and leads for a business. But many businesses are unsure of which strategy brings the best results. Here’s the thing: It’s a bit like comparing an apple with a pear. Both methods have the same main aim, but they work quite differently. SEO works towards higher organic ranking on search engines, increasing the visibility to potential customers. Google Ads place your business right in front of the eyes of prospective customers, letting you target specific audiences. Despite working differently, both methods have one goal: Attract more relevant traffic and ultimately, generate more revenue. In this article, we get to the nitty gritty business of SEO vs. Google Ads to help you pick which strategy works best for your business.

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, refers to the technique of enhancing your website content so your site performs better on search engine ranking pages (SERP). This involves several components, which we are going into more detail shortly. When a user performs a search, search engines suggest relevant websites matching their enquiry. To ensure you appear in this pool of relevant searches, optimisation techniques are a must, such as using keywords and meta descriptions.

If you want to appear in people’s search results, your website must be configured to the highest possible SEO standards.

Here are all the SEO components that search engines like Google base their ranking on:

Use of keywords

The integration of keywords is crucial to your site’s performance on search engines. If you want your site to rank higher, incorporate relevant keywords into your content. Emphasis is on relevant keywords. Don’t fill your content with keyword jargo that nobody will understand. Keywords are to support your content, not overtake it. You can conduct a keyword analysis based on your industry and target audience, which will give you insight into what search terms people are using. This will help you choose the right keywords.

Quality of content

Google prefers high-quality content, because they want to send users to websites that can answer their queries. That’s why having lengthy and informative pieces of content will rank your site higher. But not only that! Quality content will also keep users on your website for much longer, which further enhances your site’s ranking because search engines love when users are engaged.

User security

Privacy and securing personal information is becoming increasingly important to users. Google is aware of this and so will always rank secure websites over non-secure ones. The easiest way to increase your ranking and provide security and privacy for users is to get a SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Its main aim is to protect customer information and make online transactions secure. Check with your hosting provider to see if your site already came with a SSL certificate. Platforms like Shopify usually have SSL included. Otherwise you will have to source a SSL certificate. We can help you get all your privacy and security needs sorted! On top of getting you a SSL certificate, we also make sure your site is PCI DSS compliant providing your users and business with ultimate security. Click here to get more info about our website support packages.

Page and site speed

Time is money and users want their information immediately. If you have a slow website, users will likely bounce and switch to a competitor. Google doesn’t like slow websites and therefore puts slow loading websites at the bottom of search results. You can check the performance of your website in many ways, for example with Google PageSpeed Insights or by analysing your bounce rate. However there are many other influencing factors on top of speed that could impact the performance of your site. Not sure why your website isn’t performing? Book in a FREE consultation and we will identify areas for improvement and look at any other issues you might be experiencing with your website.


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What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is an pay-per-click (PPC) advertising method that allows marketers to reach specific target audiences. An offer is displayed on Google right in front of users with buyer-intent, which are users that are looking to buy. The ads can take form in many ways:

Local Services Ads

Do you have a service-based local business? Then this type of PPC ad is just for you! Local service ads are great to increase local leads. They appear at the top of search results when users are looking for services “nearby”, “near me” or specify a specific location.
Snapshot of local service Google Ads
Source: Google

Shopping Ads

This type of ad is great if you run a product-based business. Shopping ads appear in a carousel format, which show an image of the product as well as the price. Like local service ads, they get displayed at the top of search results.
Snapshot of shopping Google Ads
Source: Google

Search Ads

These ads appear at the very top of a SERP. Although they look similar to organic listings, they have a distinctive tag in the top left corner so users can distinguish them from organic search results.
Snapshot of search Google Ads
Source: Google No matter which type of ad you are going for, you only pay for results. Simply said, you only pay when users click on your ad. You can set the maximum cost per click that you would like to pay, making Google Ads a much more cost-effective method than other marketing methods.

The Key Differences

As earlier touched on, SEO and Google Ads are both strategies that help you increase relevant traffic and gain more leads and conversions. Although they share the same goal of helping your business grow, they vary in many ways. Here’s a comparison that sums it all up:
Aspect SEO Google Ads
Time Takes longer to show results Fast results
Traffic Delivers continuous results Only delivers results for the set duration of the ad campaign
Placement Only in search results Ads are placed on top of search results and can also be put on Google partner websites
Cost No cost (beside the time and effort put into SEO content writing) You pay when a user clicks on your ad
Tracking Analytics and ROI takes time Instant analytics and ROI

Who Does It Better?

SEO or Google Ads, this decision depends entirely on your business goals. But to give you an idea, here’s a brief summary of which method is best for what type of business.


If you want to increase brand visibility and are looking for a steady inflow of leads, SEO is the way to go. It’s a great tool to achieve long-term results. One thing to keep in mind is that SEO isn’t a one-and-done exercise. Google constantly updates its algorithms in terms of what content they prefer. Competitors are likely to update their sites according to Google’s preferences and so must you if you want to stay ahead of the game. When doing SEO, it is important that you regularly monitor and update your SEO strategy for best results.

Google Ads

If you want more traffic and leads now, Google Ads should be your choice. The reason they work almost instantaneously is that PPC ads get placed right in front of users that are ready to purchase. Another reason you might prefer to do Google Ads is that you get immediate feedback as soon as you launch an ad campaign. This allows you to check the performance of your ad and adjust if necessary. Keep in mind that Google Ads are more for short-term results.

Should I Use Both At the Same Time?

We URGE you to use them both at the same time, yes! As they support one and another when it comes to lead generation and boosting conversions, a combination of both strategies will double your brand visibility and maximise chances of gaining relevant leads. Bringing you the greatest ROI.

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