SEO vs Google Ads: A Complete Guide to What Should You Choose for Your Business?


5 Apr, 2024


The SEO vs Google Ads debate for supremacy does not seem to subside any time soon. The rivalry is still on and continues to leave experts around the globe divided and confused.

Nonetheless, both Google Ads and SEO still rule the kingdom. There is no doubt that they are two of the most popular digital marketing techniques that businesses often use to drive traffic and generate revenue.

SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). On the other hand, Google Ads, previously known as AdWords, is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform that enables businesses to display their ads at the top of SERPs. 

While SEO and AdWords aim to improve website visibility and attract potential customers, they operate differently. This guide will explore the differences between SEO and AdWords and help you determine which strategy might best fit your business. However, before we dive into the Google AdWords vs SEO rivalry one more time to see which approach can help you achieve your marketing goals, let us first understand what SEO is and its benefits, among other things. Here we go.

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SEO vs Google Ads: Understanding The Concept of SEO

According to a study by HubSpot, businesses that receive leads from SEO have a close rate of more than 14%. In addition, the same study suggests that 61% of marketers prioritize improving SEO and organic presence as their top inbound marketing priority.

From the statistics mentioned above, one thing is very clear: businesses rely much on SEO for their organic visibility on search engines. Let’s understand why.

In today's digital age, having a website is not enough. You must ensure your website ranks high on SERPs so potential customers can easily find you. This is where SEO comes in. In simple words, SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher on SERPs for relevant keywords and phrases.

Remember, Google ads and SEO are two different marketing techniques. We will cover Google Ads later in this guide.

What is SEO and Why Should You Invest in Search Engine Optimization?

Essentially, SEO is a digital marketing strategy that aims to improve the quality and quantity of organic traffic to a website. Organic traffic refers to the visitors visiting your website through non-paid search engine results. 

SEO Organic Results

SEO involves techniques such as keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and content creation, all of which work together to improve your website's search engine ranking. You can also hire an SEO company to help improve your website's search engine rankings.

SEO offers numerous benefits to businesses, both big and small. Let's take a closer look at some of these benefits:

1. Increased Website Traffic

Website Traffic Analysis

According to a recent study, organic search drives 53% of website traffic. Therefore, effective SEO strategies can improve your website's search engine ranking, driving more traffic.

2. Improved User Experience

SEO is not just about search engine rankings; it's also about providing a positive user experience. Optimizing your website for both search engines and users, you can ensure that your website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and provides valuable content.

3. Better Brand Credibility and Awareness

When your website appears at the top of search engine results pages, it gives the impression that you are a reputable and trustworthy brand. This can improve brand awareness and credibility, increasing conversions and sales.

4. Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy

Compared to other digital marketing strategies like Google Ads, SEO can be a more cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website. While significant upfront investment is involved in SEO, the ongoing maintenance costs are relatively low once you start seeing results.

5. Long-Term Results

SEO is a long-term strategy that can deliver results for months or even years after implementation. Unlike Google SEO Ads, which stop delivering results when you stop paying for them, SEO continues to work even when you're not optimizing your website.

Here are some relevant facts and statistics to better understand the power of SEO:

SEO Statistics

Search Engine Optimization Vs Google Adwords: Understanding The Concept Of Google Ads

In the digital age, advertising has become essential to any business strategy. With the rise of the internet, businesses have shifted their focus towards digital advertising as it provides a broader reach and an increased ROI. Google SEO Ads is one platform businesses can use to advertise their products and services.  We have already discussed that Google ads and SEO are completely different marketing techniques. Since we have discussed SEO already, it is time to understand Google Ads.

What Are Google Ads And The Benefits That Come Along

Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google. It allows businesses to create ads on Google's search engine and other websites on the Google Display Network. With Google Ads, businesses can reach potential customers searching for products or services similar to what they offer.Paid Search Results

There are several benefits of using Google SEO Ads for businesses. Let's take a look at some of them.

1. Increased Visibility

With Google Ads, businesses can increase their online visibility and reach potential customers actively searching for products or services similar to what they offer. This can help companies to get more leads and sales.

2. Increased ROI

Google Ads allows businesses to set a budget for their ads, and they only pay when someone clicks on them. This means businesses can track their ROI and adjust their ads to increase their returns.

3. Better Targeting

Google Ads allows businesses to target their ads based on keywords, location, language, device, and more. This ensures that businesses are reaching the right audience with their ads.

4. Measurable Results

Google SEO Ads provides businesses with detailed metrics that they can use to track the performance of their ads. This includes data on clicks, impressions, conversions, and more.

5. Integration with SEO

SEO and Google Ads work hand in hand to improve a business's online visibility. While SEO focuses on organic search results, Google Ads allows businesses to target keywords they may not be ranking for organically. This can help businesses increase their online presence and drive more traffic to their website.

Here are some interesting facts and statistics about Google Ads:

interesting facts and statistics about Google Ads

What is the Difference Between SEO and Google Adwords?

Google ads and SEO are two powerful digital marketing strategies that can help your business reach the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). While both approaches have pros and cons, understanding their differences can help you choose the best strategy for your business. So, let's dive in and explore the world of SEO and Google Ads to determine which will give your business the boost it needs to succeed.

1. Search Engine Presence

SEO and Google Ads aim to increase your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO focuses on improving your organic rankings, while Google Ads allows you to place paid ads at the top of the page. The difference is that SEO takes time and requires ongoing effort, whereas Google Ads can provide immediate results but requires continuous investment to keep the ads running. You can easily hire a Google ads agency to manage your online advertising campaigns.

2. Timing

SEO is a long-term strategy that requires time to see results. It can take anywhere from three to six months to start seeing improvements in your rankings. In contrast, Google Ads can provide immediate results. You can start receiving clicks and traffic once your ads are approved.

3. ROI

Both SEO and Google Ads can provide a positive return on investment (ROI), but the amount will vary depending on your industry, competition, and advertising budget. SEO has a higher potential for ROI over time, as it can generate long-term, organic traffic. Google Ads can provide immediate results, but the ROI will decrease once you stop running ads. The best Google ads agency will help you achieve maximum ROI on your advertising spend.

4. Result Measurement

Measuring the success of SEO can be challenging, as it's not always easy to attribute conversions directly to organic traffic. With Google Ads, you can easily track your ad's performance and see the number of clicks, impressions, and conversions.

5. Keyword Target

Google ads and SEO require targeting specific keywords to reach your target audience. However, SEO focuses on optimizing your website for specific keywords, while Google Ads allows you to bid on specific keywords to display your ads.

6. Traffic

SEO aims to increase organic traffic to your website, while Google Ads focuses on driving paid traffic. Organic traffic can generate higher-quality leads as people actively search for your products or services. Paid traffic can be less targeted, but it can provide immediate results. As a provider of Google AdWords services, we have the expertise to create effective ad campaigns for businesses of all sizes.

7. Ad Placement

With SEO Google ads, you can choose where your ads will be displayed, including search results pages, Google Maps, and websites within the Google Display Network. With SEO, your placement is determined by your organic rankings.

8. Cost for Clicking

SEO Google ads operate on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, where you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. The cost per click (CPC) can vary depending on the industry, competition, and ad quality. SEO is free, but the cost of implementing a strong SEO strategy can vary depending on the time and resources required.

Both SEO and Google Ads can be effective digital marketing strategies. SEO is a long-term investment that requires ongoing effort but has a higher potential for ROI over time. Google Ads can provide immediate results but requires continuous investment to maintain. The best approach for your business will depend on your goals, industry, competition, and advertising budget. By combining SEO and AdWords services, our clients have seen a significant increase in website traffic and conversions.

Adwords vs SEO: Which is Better?

Choosing between SEO and Google Ads can be a very challenging task. To determine which strategy is better, it's important to understand the marketing funnel concept and how it applies to your business.

1. The Marketing Funnel

The Marketing Funnel

The marketing funnel is a framework that outlines the different stages that a customer goes through before making a purchase. The funnel is divided into three stages: Top of the Funnel (TOFU), Middle of the Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU). In the TOFU stage, customers are in the initial stages of their buyer's journey and are searching for information. In the MOFU stage, customers consider different options and evaluate products or services. In the BOFU stage, customers are ready to make a purchase. Your business can benefit greatly from using Google ads services to reach a wider audience and generate leads.

2. SEO and TOFU


SEO is the better choice for businesses with customers in the initial marketing funnel stage (TOFU). SEO focuses on optimizing your website and content to appear in organic search results. By creating valuable and informative content that targets specific keywords and topics, businesses can attract potential customers in the early stages of their buyer's journey.

3. Google Ads and MOFU

Google Ads Funnel Strategy

Conversely, SEO Google ads are a better choice for businesses with customers in the MOFU or BOFU stages. Google Ads allows businesses to place targeted ads at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), which can attract customers who are already considering purchasing a product or service. Businesses can use targeted keywords and ad copy to create ads that appeal to customers later in their buyer's journey.

However, it's important to note that the choice between AdWords vs SEO isn't always clear. In highly competitive markets, both strategies can work together to create a comprehensive digital marketing approach reaching customers at all funnel stages. For example, a case study by Google found that a furniture retailer in Australia saw a 20% increase in organic traffic and an 80% increase in paid clicks by using both Google ads and SEO together.

Businesses Should Use Both SEO and Google Ads

The truth is that both SEO and Google Ads have their strengths and weaknesses, and businesses should consider using both to maximize their online visibility and traffic. Here are some reasons why:

Diversification: Relying solely on one strategy can be risky, especially since search engine algorithms and market conditions can change quickly. By using SEO and Google Ads, businesses can diversify their traffic sources and reduce reliance on any strategy.

Complementary benefits: SEO vs AdWords can complement each other's strengths. SEO can provide long-term, sustainable traffic, while Google Ads can drive immediate traffic and provide quick feedback on keyword effectiveness.

Better targeting: By using both strategies, businesses can reach a wider range of potential customers. SEO can attract users researching topics related to their business, while SEO Google ads can reach users actively searching for their products or services.

If you are looking for immediate results and have a higher budget, Google Ads can be a good option; however, if you want to build long-term organic traffic and have a limited budget.

Final Thoughts

It's important to recognize that SEO vs AdWords offers unique benefits, and there's no universal solution to determine which strategy is right for your business. Understanding the distinctions between these approaches is crucial as you decide which aligns best with your goals, budget, and industry. Investing in SEO can help enhance your website's overall performance and increase organic rankings while utilizing Google Ads can help drive traffic and promote new offers to a broader audience. By strategically using these tools, you can maximize your online presence and achieve your business objectives.

To identify the optimal strategy for your business, consulting with a reputable SEO agency may be beneficial. A competent team of SEO specialists can assist in reaching your business objectives through white hat SEO vs AdWords tactics designed to increase traffic and sales. Whether you need assistance optimizing your website content, building quality backlinks, or creating engaging ad copy, partnering with an experienced SEO and Google Ads, our Google ad specialists can help maximize your online presence and drive success.

Looking for Google Adwords Services?

  • Reach Potential Audience
  • Drive Customer Engagement
  • Generate more leads & Revenue


1. What is the difference between SEO and Google Ads?

SEO involves optimizing your website to rank higher in organic search results, while Google Ads involves creating and running paid ads on Google.

2. Which strategy is better for my business: SEO or Google Ads?

The answer depends on your business goals, budget, and industry. SEO can provide long-term results and organic traffic, while Google Ads can provide immediate and targeted traffic. Working with a digital marketing expert is recommended to determine the best strategy for your business.

3. How long does it take to see results with SEO?

SEO results can take 6-12 months, depending on your industry and competition level.

4. How much does Google Ads cost?

The cost of Google Ads varies depending on keyword competition, targeting, and ad format. Setting a budget and working with a digital marketing expert to optimize your campaigns for maximum ROI is recommended.

5. Can I use both SEO and Google Ads for my business?

Yes, combining both strategies can provide maximum impact and results. Working with a digital marketing expert is recommended to create a customized strategy that fits your business goals and budget.

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