What’s more important, SEO or Google Advertising?

authorToni Becker dateJuly 28, 2020

Adwords and Search Engine Optimisation are the primary components of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and these tools are some of the most valuable tactics when it comes to running a successful digital marketing campaign.


Both of these tactics have differences as well as similarities, and some situations require one or the other, while some situations may require both. It all depends on your strategy, business and your overall marketing goals.

What is Google AdWords?

shutterstock_425180653Google AdWords, also known as Google Ads, is an advertising platform owned by Google. Marketers use this platform to help position brands and businesses in the Google Search Results Pages, Google product pages (Gmail, YouTube, etc) and to a myriad of other sites that participate in this program. 

As a marketer, you can choose to pay when someone clicks on your advert, this is known as Cost Per Click, or you can choose to pay when people view your advert, this is known as Cost per Thousand Impressions. 

Essentially, the AdWords system functions like an auction, where marketers compete for available advertising space. 

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

shutterstock_666163516Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), refers to the process of getting better rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). In order to gain high ranking in the search engine results, you need to make sure that your website is designed to be search engine friendly. 

This means that your web pages need to be optimised to search engine standards, and provide a good user experience for those who visit your website. 

AdWords Versus SEO

The above offers a very brief description of what AdWords and SEO are, and now we will unpack them further and learn how they compare in regards to digital marketing

  • AdWords only applies to Google and websites that make use of Google AdSense.  SEO applies to all search engines, from Google to Yahoo.
  • SEO directs traffic to your site for free, while AdWords traffic is paid for as mentioned above. 
  • By implementing an AdWords campaign, your ad will appear at the top of the Google search results. In order to rank organically at the top of the search results using SEO, you will have to put in a lot more strategic effort and work.
  • AdWords is an immediate solution as you can create your campaigns quickly and instantly begin directing traffic to your site. SEO takes more time, particularly when it comes to new websites. However, SEO is a long-term solution that can save your business thousands of dollars, while AdWords is designed for the short-term.
  • As soon as you stop your AdWords campaign, the traffic to your site will slow down or stop completely. However, as SEO is an organic process, your traffic will continue to increase as your SEO strategy develops and you begin to rise higher in the search results.
  • AdWords allows you to market your business on other websites that make use of Google Adsense, however the results you get from SEO will only come from the search results pages. 

Which will work best for your business? 

AdWords and your Business

As AdWords will get websites to appear at the top of the search engine results quickly, it is always a good idea for a new website or new business to begin by using this marketing tactic to get the ball rolling regarding traffic and brand awareness. As AdWords can generate results faster than SEO, it is the best solution for the short-term.

However, you will have to pay for each visit you receive from your AdWords campaign, so this may be something new businesses would be weary about. If your AdWords campaign is implemented by a professional digital agency, you will be able to see a great return on investment, as you drive more traffic through to your business page, you will be able to gather more leads and convert those leads into loyal, paying customers. 

AdWords is great for startups and new businesses that want to get targeted and high quality traffic to their website as soon as possible, for the purpose of finding new clients and making sales. This is only true if you use AdWords strategically and carefully, and it is vital you monitor your campaign and control tools to ensure you generate a profit. 

If you do not have the knowledge and experience to run an AdWords campaign, it is important to hire professionals who know how to use the tool to get the best results for your business

SEO for your business

While AdWords is faster and provides a sense of immediate gratification, SEO is vital for long term ranking and business success. 

SEO is one of the purest and most genuine forms of digital marketing, and it is also a science. Creating a strong presence on search engines takes a lot of work and time. You need to increase the technical quality of your website as well as the quality and volume of content contained on your website in order to be placed at the top of the search engine results. 

Technical SEO: This is the process of optimising your website and the main goal of technical SEO is to optimise the infrastructure and architecture of your website, making it appealing to search engines.

Content Marketing for SEO: Search engines are looking for pages that contain meaningful and relevant information related to the searchers query. Search engines want to make sure that they are directing their users to websites that can assist them and offer them exactly what they are searching for. This is why content marketing and SEO go hand in hand. You need to regularly add quality content to your website so that Google can know your page is legitimate, helpful and what the user is looking for in their search endeavor. 

The reason it is important to have a long term SEO strategy in place is that the average consumer will always turn to a search engine when they have an immediate requirement regarding a specific product or service. It is therefore important that your business is visible at all times, and at the moment a potential consumer is searching for a business such as yours.

AdWords will make your business present for a short period of time, or for however long your budget allows. While SEO will get your website ranking organically and provides a long term solution - helping you OWN the search engine results. 

In Conclusion

So, which marketing tool is better for your business? 

The answer is not as simple as it seems. AdWords is great to get started with, especially when you launch a new business, while SEO offers a long term solution. However, both tools can also work well together, especially if you are looking to promote a new product page on your already existing website. Using AdWords to promote that particular page, alongside a strong SEO strategy, could help you gain a much greater profit and return on investment.

It all comes down to your business goals, your industry, and the competition your website is up against.  

If you want to gain traffic fast, AdWords is the way to go, but you need to consider sustainable and long term online success - and this is where SEO comes into play.

If you are looking to implement AdWords and or SEO for your business, and you are looking to OWN the search results, Nexa is here to help.

Contact us today for all your digital marketing requirements and get ranking!