Ecommerce SEO vs. PPC:
Guide To Choosing The Right Strategy


Marketing is an essential component of online entrepreneurship. With the rising and heightened sense of competition in the industry, it is important for online business owners to pay particular attention to their marketing campaigns and efforts.

Considering this, there are two digital marketing strategies that offer ecommerce businesses significant results in boosting online presence and generating leads. These are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Both are proven effective in improving online visibility, reaching audiences, and acquiring customers. 

However, these strategies are significantly different from one another. SEO and PPC have their fair share of perks, drawbacks, risks, and challenges. So, how do business owners choose the right digital marketing strategy for their business?

Here is a comprehensive overview and comparison of SEO and PPC advertising to give you a better idea. 


What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

To start, let’s define what search engine optimization is. SEO refers to the practice and process of optimizing a website to increase its perceived value and relevance based on search engine analytics. 

It is a complex process that involves creating high-quality content, improving technical design and configuration, and encouraging link building with other websites to rank at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, work by providing answers to a user’s search query. To do this, search engines run through and analyze the millions of websites online and rank their value and relevance in relation to a specific keyword or key phrase. 

Their algorithm aims to provide users with meaningful experiences by emphasizing the need to meet user intent through keyword research and strategies. With search engine optimization, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the like are able to help users find content relevant to their needs.

Basically, the better the SEO performance, the higher the website ranks on search engine results pages, as they are deemed relevant, valuable, and reliable sources of information. And the higher the ranking, the more visible a website becomes to users online.


Pros of Search Engine Optimization

SEO is one of the most popular marketing strategies in the ecommerce industry. In fact, 64% of digital marketers actively work with and invest in SEO marketing campaigns. But what exactly makes search engine optimization a powerful marketing tool? To give you a better idea, here’s an overview of the notable advantages of using SEO for ecommerce marketing.


Primary source of organic traffic

Google, a top-class search engine, is the most visited website online. With a monthly average of 83.9 billion visits and roughly 63,000 web searches occurring per second, it is one of the primary drivers of organic website traffic online. SEO takes advantage of the waves of search queries and directs traffic to top-performing websites. 

Considering this, SEO in ecommerce marketing is undoubtedly one of the best methods to lead organic to a specific website. Proper SEO strategies and practices can boost SEO ranking and place websites on the first page of search engine results pages.


Cost-effective long-term marketing strategy

Search engine optimization boasts a return on investment (ROI) ratio of 22:1. In addition to this, SEO campaigns enjoy a 14.6% conversion rate. Considering this, SEO marketing campaigns are especially effective in achieving their goals, whether it’s to drive organic traffic, boost online visibility, or generate and identify qualified leads.

But aside from that, another apparent benefit of using SEO for marketing is that campaigns run long-term. Search engine-optimized content can effectively draw and generate a steady stream of organic traffic over time. It can continuously rank and perform well as long as search engine algorithms deem the content relevant and valuable. 


Builds a sense of trust and credibility

Placing on the top of search engine results pages not only helps drive organic traffic but also contributes to websites establishing a sense of credibility and reliability. 

Considering that search engine algorithms accurately rank websites based on their content’s value and relevance, web users have the confidence that websites on the first page of SERPs have something of great meaning and value to offer. Furthermore, websites consistently ranking on search queries surrounding their industry or niche can further strengthen their reputation as a credible source of information. 


What Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)?

Now that you have a better understanding of what search engine optimization is and how it works as a marketing strategy, let’s jump into the realm of pay-per-click advertising.

In general, digital marketing campaigns can either run completely free or through paid advertisement programs. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a type of online advertising campaign that primarily involves digital marketers paying for every click or engagement generated through their platform. 

PPC ad campaigns typically run on search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, where advertisers would basically pay for a spot at the top of search results. However, the process is not as simple as that.

Pay-per-click advertising campaigns still have to deal with PPC campaigns from competition. In order to maintain quality user experiences, search engines conduct a validation process referred to as Ad Auction. This automatically processes the contents of PPC campaigns and gauges their value and relevance to a specific keyword or key phrase.

Here, digital marketers bid for key terms, words, or phrases that they want to serve as triggers for their PPC campaigns to start appearing on user’s SERPs. An example of this is an ecommerce business in the gardening industry bidding on relevant key terms such as gardening tools, plant seeds, and the like. 

Once a search query is submitted featuring such keywords, the search engine will conduct its calculations to determine which PPC campaigns to display, from whom, and in what order. 


Pros of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

PPC marketing is one of the most used methods of paid advertising. It can significantly boost online visibility and is particularly effective in promoting products and encouraging sales. However, pay-per-click advertising has a lot more perks to offer. To give you a better idea, here is a list of the benefits of PPC advertising to see if this marketing strategy is worth investing in.


Fast and immediate results

One of the primary benefits of PPC advertising is that digital marketers have the ability to launch their campaigns quickly and see results almost immediately.

Unlike other marketing campaigns that require some time to publish and even more time to gain traction, starting a PPC campaign is pretty straightforward. All it needs is the necessary ad text and its accompanying landing page, and it is good to go.

Not only can digital marketers start a PPC marketing strategy with ease, but pay-per-click advertising also offers fast and promising results. In fact, a recent survey found that 91% of mobile phone users tend to purchase digital products, goods, or services that they learned from a relevant ad. To add to this, 33% of web users click on paid advertisements to learn more about the displayed product or service.

Although PPC marketing only has an ROI ratio of 2:1, it has been proven effective in boosting online visibility, amplifying brand awareness, and increasing online sales. This has encouraged 80% of ecommerce businesses to focus their PPC campaigns on Google and to invest approximately 13.5% of their budgets in paid ads


Highly targeted marketing campaign 

Another perk of PPC advertising is that it allows digital marketers to set specific audiences. Aside from choosing trigger keywords and phrases, PPC campaigns allow users to set display criteria such as location, demographic, interests, and even their online activity. 

This, in turn, significantly improves click-through and conversion rates as paid ads are shown primarily to those with the most potential to complete a transaction and avail of a product or service. This is especially important in increasing sales and building relationships with qualified leads.


Offers more control 

A key element of paid advertising campaigns revolves around setting financial or budgetary limits. Pay-per-click campaigns allow users to control the advertising budget for a specific ad and set spending limits on a daily or monthly basis. 

This helps ensure that digital marketers do not go over their budget. Luckily, a part of the PPC campaign is that marketers only pay for ads that generate engagement, such as clicks, and are not based on the number of users who have seen the ad on search engine results pages. 

Aside from that, one other beauty of PPC marketing is that it provides an opportunity for digital marketers to conduct tests to optimize their campaigns. Most pay-per-click ad programs allow A/B testing on key elements such as the attached landing pages, targeting options, and ad creatives. This is crucial in ensuring the effectiveness and success of the paid marketing strategy. 


Factors To Consider When Choosing Between SEO and PPC

Source: Unsplash


Now that you have a better understanding of the process involved in both SEO and PPC marketing campaigns and the perks of either strategy, let’s look into the different factors digital marketers need to consider when choosing between search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.


Marketing Goals and Objectives

When conducting any marketing campaign online, it is important to set specific goals and objectives to meet or accomplish. 

One key difference between SEO and PPC marketing strategies is the duration the campaign is set to run. SEO is an ideal option for a sustainable and long-term marketing effort. On the other hand, pay-per-click advertising works best for fast turnaround and urgent campaigns with the goal of bringing attention to a product or service immediately.

Factors like this can help digital marketers determine which strategy to focus on depending on the current market trends and the needs of the business.



Another factor that digital marketers need to pay attention to revolves around the budget and resources allocated for marketing campaigns. Compared to PPC advertising, SEO marketing requires significantly fewer resources to launch and sustain for a long period of time. 

On the other hand, PPC campaigns can cost ecommerce businesses anywhere from $9000 to $10000 monthly for the best. Digital marketers need to bear this in mind and gauge if the investment needed to start a particular campaign is worth it.


Level of Competition

At the end of the day, one of the goals of digital marketing is to edge out the competition. With this in mind, another factor to consider when choosing between SEO and PPC is the level of competition surrounding the business’s industry or niche.

Generally, if there is tight competition among websites in a specific niche, driving organic traffic through SEO can be challenging as ranking at the top of search engine results pages would require more effort and resources.

Under this circumstance, pay-per-click campaigns can offer better results as it ensures visibility to qualified leads, which increases the likelihood of achieving sales. 



Digital marketing is a critical part of running an ecommerce business. Such campaigns and strategies can easily spell the difference between success and failure. 

When it comes to ecommerce marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are some of the top strategies utilized to boost online visibility and acquire customers. However, there are significant differences between these approaches.

Search engine optimization is a powerful marketing tool that can drive organic traffic to websites. However, it is typically a long-term strategy that may take a long period of time to deliver significant and tangible results.

Pay-per-click advertising is a viable alternative to SEO. However, it requires a hefty investment that some business owners are not ready to commit to. Regardless, PPC campaigns can deliver fast and amazing results that would most likely turn into successful sales. 


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