Everyone in the internet marketing business is on a constant quest to find the most inexpensive way to get traffic to their site so they can start making money. To that end, we constantly hear people asking which is more affordable: SEO or PPC? The answer, as you might expect, is more complicated than you really want it to be.
The problem is that ‘affordable’ means different things to different people. Let’s say, for example, that you came to the table prepared and you started your online business with $10,000 cash in the bank to get started with. You can easily spend $2000 on a high-quality website and another $1000 on content — but you’ve still got plenty left over to live on while you shell out another $1000 each month on killer SEO. You can afford to wait a little while for customers, but when your money runs out you’re going to need the best traffic-per-dollar that you can get.
You want to invest in SEO.
On the other hand, let’s say you’re doing online business on the side while you work a 9 to 5 job. You don’t have a lot of money up front, but you’ve set aside $150/week to spend developing your online business. You need your profits back right away or your expenses will outpace your ability to spend. You’re not as concerned with traffic-per-dollar, but you are definitely interested in a speedy return.
You want to invest in PPC — specifically, in a PPC management firm.
Of course, you may be in a position to do both, and there’s nothing wrong with that — SEO and PPC are perfectly good neighbors and they work well together. The PPC brings in immediate, consistent, targeted traffic while the SEO builds up to a point at which it can sustain your business, at which point you can drop the PPC in favor of your own natural, organic traffic.
But when the final analysis comes in, the question of SEO being more or less affordable than PPC depends entirely on your financial situation. Based on the market numbers (80% of the money spend on search engine marketing goes to PPC and only 20% to SEO), most companies are looking for that quick return, even if it’s more expensive up front than SEO.