Google Ad Words or SEO – where to invest?

When looking to boost your Google ranking, the lines between SEO and Google Ads can blur, making it difficult to know where to invest your resources. They both affect traffic to your website, and both need some attention, but they’re actually very different; so how do you know where to focus? Here we’re having a look at the differences between the two options, and weighing up the pros and cons of each.

Google Ads

What is it? In a nutshell, you can pay Google a fee and select keywords relevant to your business, then when those words are searched, your website can appear as an ‘Ad’. For example, if you run a boutique hotel in Cornwall and you pay Google Ads for those keywords, this is what will appear, with the word Ad in bold next to the paid for search results:

However, as you can see in this example, there are other ads there, too. By paying for Google Ads, you are entering an auction, and the auction price is determined by the competition. If you’re paying for keywords such as ‘Plumber South London’, there’s going to be a lot of competition, and a higher cost to pay for the ad.

Alongside paying for the service, you also pay for every click (you may have heard of Pay Per Click or PPC). This means that every time that ad is clicked, you pay a fee. This fee varies, and can range from a few pounds upwards for every click. And remember, this may get more traffic to your website, but it doesn’t mean conversions or sales are guaranteed.


What is it?

We shared a separate post all about SEO, but essentially it means that the strength of your website drives visitors to you organically via Google. If someone searches ‘Dog grooming Brockley’, and you’re a dog groomer in Brockley, the strength of your SEO can mean you’re on the first page of the Google search results.

SEO is all about appearing in the organic search results, not the paid for ads. This is a long term game that might seem slower, but if you rank well and your website is up-to-date and relevant, you can stay on page one of search results for years.

Let’s have a look at the boutique hotel in Cornwall again:

SEO: Getting your website to page 1 of Google

There are more than 4 million results there! If you are showing Google that you have the best pages, the best user experience, and your site has regular traffic, Google will respond by thinking your site is the best match to present to those searching, meaning you bump up the search results. Do this consistently and professionally, and there’s no reason you can’t be on page one, and stay there.

Which to go for?

Let’s balance up the pros and cons of each.

Google Ads Pros

  • Good for a quick fix
  • You can set your budget
  • Can be an effective means to an end if e.g. you need a quick injection of enquiries
  • Anyone can do it so it’s a good DIY optionCons
  • You can invest a lot of money, but if your website isn’t designed well, that money is down the drain
  • The effectiveness depends on the product or service and competition
  • Can be very expensive
  • You are at the mercy of Google and your competitors SEO Pros
  • If you do it right, you can appear regularly on page 1, so it’s very cost effective
  • It’s a tried and tested process
  • SEO doesn’t need a huge investment to start with, making it better for cash flow
  • It’s a better long term strategyCons
  • It can take longer to see results
  • If your website isn’t built well in the first place, there may be work to do behind the scenes before being able to optimise your site for Google
  • To do it well, you should consult a SEO expert….and that’s where we come in! If you would like to find out more, we offer a FREE audit of your website’s SEO. If you’d like to get that booked in or if you have any questions, please click here.

    Interested in finding out a bit more about SEO? Click here to read our post SEO: Getting your website to page 1 of Google



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