Should I Go for SEO or PPC (For Local Businesses)?

Digital Marketing
August 23, 2023
By Fahad Zahid

If you are a local business owner looking to grow your online presence and attract more customers, you might be wondering whether you should invest in SEO or PPC.

Both SEO and PPC have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for your business depends on your goals, budget, resources, and industry. 

In this blog post, we will explain the differences between SEO and PPC, the pros and cons of each method, and how to decide which is better for your local business.

What is SEO and How Does it Work?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it is a process of optimising your website’s content and structure to make it more relevant and user-friendly for both search engines and visitors.

Search engines use complex algorithms to crawl, index, and rank web pages based on various factors, such as:

  • Content Relevance: Ensuring that your web page accurately reflects the queries or intent of the searcher.
  • Content Quality: Providing value and informative content to the searcher.
  • Authority: Demonstrating trustworthiness and expertise in your industry.
  • User Experience: How well your web page performs and satisfies the searcher's needs.

Moreover, SEO is divided into four primary categories:

  • Technical SEO: This focuses on optimising your website’s technical aspects, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, indexability, and security.
  • On-page SEO: This involves optimising your website’s content and structure, such as title tags, meta descriptions, headings, content, images, and internal links.
  • Off-page SEO: This relates to external factors such as backlinks, social media presence, and reviews.
  • Local SEO: Specifically target at optimising your website for local search queries.

What is PPC and How Does it Work?

PPC stands for Pay Per Click, which involves paying a fee every time someone clicks on your advertisement. These ads are displayed on search engines, social media platforms, and other websites that are partnered with Google to show ads. The most common form of PPC ads are search ads, displayed above or below organic search results. Some other forms of Search Ads are Display Ads, Performance Max Ads, and Video Ads.

The position of your ad depends on several factors:

  • Bid Amount: The amount you are willing to pay for each click.
  • Quality Score: The relevance and usefulness of your ad and landing page.
  • Ad Rank: The performance of your ad compared to others.

PPC can help attract more qualified leads by targeting specific keywords and audiences. However, you need a budget and a strategy to make it profitable.

Comparing the Pros and Cons of SEO and PPC

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each approach is crucial.

Here's a summary:

Pros of SEO

  • Free Traffic: You don't have to pay for each click or impression.
  • Long-term Results: Once you rank high, you can enjoy consistent traffic that increases over time.
  • Trust and Credibility: People tend to trust organic results more than ads.

Cons of SEO

  • Time-consuming: Seeing results takes time, sometimes even more then a year. Learn more: How long does SEO take?
  • Highly Competitive: Staying on top 3 results requires constant effort and resources allocated into SEO.
  • Unpredictable: Search engine algorithms change frequently.
  • Difficult execution: SEO involves dozens if not hundreds of small actions and is very complex for beginners.

Pros of PPC

  • Fast Results: You can get traffic & leads immediately.
  • Targeted Traffic: Highly customisable targeting options.
  • Measurable: You can track every aspect of your campaign.

Cons of PPC

  • Costly: You pay for each click or impression.
  • Temporary Presence: Ads stop showing once you stop paying.
  • Highly Competitive: Staying visible requires continuous optimisation.

SEO vs. PPC: Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing between SEO and PPC depends on your goals, budget, competition, and industry. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

However, here are some general guidelines that can help you make a better decision:


New or Low-Authority Website

If you have a new or low-authority website, start with PPC to get some quick traffic and leads while you work on your SEO strategy. PPC can help you test your keywords, landing pages, offers, etc. and get some feedback from your target audience. You can also use PPC to target high-competition keywords that are hard to rank organically.

Established or High-Authority Website

If you have an established or high-authority website, you should focus on SEO to get more organic traffic and leads without paying for them. SEO can help you rank high for low-competition keywords with high business value. You can also use SEO to build trust and credibility with your potential customers and make them loyal to your brand.


Limited Budget or Tight Profit Margin

If you have a limited budget or a tight profit margin, go for SEO because it can help you save money and increase your ROI in the long run. SEO can help you get free traffic and leads without paying for each click or impression. However, you need to be patient and consistent with your SEO efforts because it takes time to see results.

Flexible Budget or High Profit Margin

If you have a flexible budget or a high profit margin, go for PPC because it can help you get results and scale your business quickly. PPC can help you get targeted traffic and leads by choosing which keywords and audiences you want to reach with your ads. However, you need to be strategic and careful with your PPC campaigns because they have a cost for each click or impression.


High Competition or A Saturated Market

If you have a lot of competition or a saturated market, go for PPC because it can help you stand out from the crowd and reach more potential customers. PPC can help you appear at the top of the platforms for your target keywords and attract more attention and clicks. However, you need to be competitive and creative with your PPC campaigns because they can be expensive and challenging.

Little Competition or Niche Market

If you have little competition or a niche market, go for SEO because it can help you dominate the organic results and get more traffic and leads. SEO can help you rank high for low-competition keywords with high business value. However, you need to be proactive and innovative with your SEO strategy because it can be unpredictable and dynamic.

These factors can help you choose between SEO and PPC based on your goals, budget, competition, and industry. However, the best way to decide is to test both SEO and PPC for your business and see which works better for you.

How to Use Both SEO and PPC Together for Maximum Results?

While choosing between SEO and PPC depends on your specific situation, the best option is often to use both SEO and PPC together for maximum results. By using both SEO and PPC together, you can:

  • Increase your online presence: Using SEO and PPC together, you can increase your online presence and visibility on the platforms. You can show up in both the organic results and the paid ads for your target keywords and reach more potential customers.
  • Increase your traffic: Using SEO and PPC together, you can increase your traffic from different sources. You can get free traffic from SEO and paid traffic from PPC. You can also use PPC to drive traffic to your SEO pages and vice versa.
  • Increase your conversions: Using SEO and PPC together, you can increase your conversions at different stages of the buyer’s journey. You can use SEO to attract people looking for information or solutions related to your business. You can use PPC to attract people ready to buy or take action.
  • Increase your ROI: Using SEO and PPC together can increase your ROI from different angles. You can use SEO to build long-term results and save money in the long run. You can use PPC to get fast results and scale your business quickly.

Make the Right Choice with Social Gravity

Deciding whether to go for SEO vs PPC (For Local Businesses) is a critical decision that can shape the future of your local business.

Whether you need an effective SEO strategy, a high-ROI PPC campaign, or a combination, our local marketing experts are here to help.

Contact Social Gravity today to get started with Search Engine Optimisation or Pay Per Click marketing. Simply fill out the form on our website and tell us more about your business, our marketing experts will then reach out to you & confirm whether we're the right fit for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to See Results from SEO?

SEO is a long-term strategy, generally taking around 4-6 months to start seeing results. However, this timeline can vary greatly depending on the competition and the current state of your website.

What is the Average Cost of PPC for Local Businesses?

The average cost of PPC can vary widely depending on the industry, keywords, and competition. The Cost Per Click (CPC) can range from as little as €1 per click to €30 or more for highly competitive keywords.

Can I Manage My PPC Campaigns?

While managing your own PPC campaigns is possible, it can be time-consuming and requires a learning curve. Hiring a digital marketing agency like Social Gravity can save you time and optimise your campaigns for the best results. Plus, you can avoid wasting ad spend if you hire a professional.

What is Google My Business, and How Does It Relate to Local SEO?

Google My Business is a free tool to manage how your local business appears on Google Search and Maps. It’s an essential component of local SEO as it helps your business appear in local search results and provides users with important information such as your address, phone number, and hours of operation.

Can I Do SEO Myself?

Yes, it’s possible to do SEO yourself. However, it’s a complex field that requires a significant time investment. Hiring a professional SEO service like Social Gravity’s will likely yield better results for most local business owners.

How Do I Track the Success of My SEO or PPC Campaigns?

There are various tools available for tracking the success of your campaigns such as SemRush, Ahrefs, Google Data Studio. Google Analytics is also a popular free choice for monitoring website traffic, and Google Ads provides detailed statistics for your PPC campaigns in its own dashboard.

Contact Social Gravity!

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Author Fahad Zahid
Co-Founder @ Social Gravity

As a passionate Digital Marketer & YouTuber, Fahad Zahid, co-founder of Social Gravity, is known for helping home service & construction companies shine on the web with Paid Advertisement & SEO.