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Traffic Jam: SEO Or PPC, Which Is Better For E-commerce?

Traffic Jam: SEO Or PPC, Which Is Better For E-commerce?

SEO has long been considered one of the most powerful ways to drive traffic to your e-commerce website and increase sales, but there are other options. From Google ads and PPC for e-commerce, there are several options available to online stores to improve brand awareness and increase sales.

In this piece, we’ll look at SEO for e-commerce, PPC, and the benefits of both options. You might be surprised by how well these strategies can be implemented into your digital marketing campaign – especially if you work with a professional team!

SEO vs. PPC

Whether you’re looking to implement SEO or PPC for small business operations or your large international web store, it’s important to know the differences before embarking on your new marketing campaign. There are substantial differences between these two online marketing strategies, and there are some similarities. Let’s start by explaining what they are.

WHAT IS SEO IN E-COMMERCE?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a practice that uses several tools and strategies to change an e-commerce website’s ranking in search engine results. At one point in time, it was based primarily on keywords used on a website to direct people searching for a specific topic to websites that contain the same words. Today, it depends on so much more.

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The amount of traffic a website receives, its trustworthiness, reviews, and so much more dictate whether a page is high or low in search rankings for specific keywords. When done right, it is a compelling way of directing traffic to your website, but it often requires professional assistance from digital marketing experts.

WHAT IS PPC IN E-COMMERCE?

PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, works differently. It is an advertising model whereby the advertiser pays only when a visitor clicks on that ad. It generates income for the sites that host the advertisement. It gives companies a chance to advertise their products on web pages that help them reach new customers cost-efficiently and effectively.

Many e-commerce operations are turning to PPC advertising as a way of building sales, and it works. Several things must be in place to make sure it works, however. For instance, the landing pages of your store must be relevant and attractive, and the ads must display a compelling message that gives a reason to click.

There are multiple kinds of PPC ads, but one of the most common is paid search advertising. This ad appears at the top of a search page when a person searches for a keyword relevant to the product being sold. It means that the first thing people see when they search for something they’re interested in buying is a product along with its price, a picture of what it looks like, and a link to buy it.

WHAT IS BETTER, PPC OR SEO?

The question “does SEO affect PPC”? is a complicated but also a prevalent one. The answer is yes…and no. SEO and PPC are different in that one is generated by an algorithm recommending the best search results, and the other is paid advertising.

The two can work together, however. SEO can impact how many clicks a PPC advertising might receive, for instance. If a website appears naturally in search engines, then it is less likely that their click-through rate on PPC ads will remain high. If you’re successful in search results naturally, your ad will appear less at the top of the page.

How to Choose Between SEO and PPC for Your e-сommerce Store

So, if the two strategies can affect one another, how do you choose between search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising? Hopefully, this analysis of the benefits of each strategy will help you decide.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION FOR E-COMMERCE

SEO is fantastic for increasing organic traffic to your website. Remember, though, that traffic is different from conversions. By improving your SEO rankings, you can improve your brand awareness and put your sight higher up in search listings, and create credibility and recognition for your brand.

And, while traffic isn’t the same as conversion, it increases your chances of sales simply by putting eyes on your website. Remember that a combination of a good website with great SEO turns visitors into customers. Experts can help you develop amazing websites that sell your vision and brand and give people a reason to want to contact you.

Your budget will vary depending on what you choose. Organic SEO can be improved using free tools on e-commerce and web hosting platforms, but the bigger your budget, the more professionals can do to get more eyes on your page and more people buying your products.

All in all, SEO has several advantages:

  • SEO is always working. Organic search is working for your business all the time, 24/7, 364 days a year. You don’t need to set up new campaigns or deal with additional advertising funds. Search results are your promotion.
  • SEO pays for itself. SEO doesn’t require a lot of money in the first place. Also, customers that found you through organic search and not ads are more likely to be invested in your business and stay with you for a long time.
  • SEO is a long-term solution. The benefits that SEO brings are not used, or sometimes even seen, in the first days, But over time you will steadily grow and rise in the ranks. SEO is not a sprint – it’s a marathon and a huge reward for spending your time on it will be gained later.

But, as it always is, there are a few disadvantages as well:

  • SEO takes time. This is the second side of a medal we talked about in the advantages. Yes, the reward will come, yes, results will show, but it will take time. And if you need improvements now then it is not the fastest way to reach them.
  • SEO needs to have drastic changes. Google likes to tweak its algorithm and you have to be ready to adjust for new changes.

PAY-PER-CLICK FOR E-COMMERCE

PPC is designed to be much more focused, directing advertisements to people specifically looking for your product or similar products. You pay for the ads, and they sit right at the top of the page, depending on the keywords you choose. It’s one of the first things people see when searching, meaning the people who click on your ad are more likely to buy your product…assuming your landing pages are compelling!

It’s more focused, it’s more visual, and it helps improve brand visibility significantly. You can also set a budget that works for your store. The more you spend, the more people will see your ad, but the fact that you can adjust your budget means it’s accessible for everyone. You can see results within hours or days, depending on how frequently people search for the items you sell.

If we are to summarize, what are the advantages of PPC?

  • Fast results. While it still takes time, PPC provides short-term results much faster than SEO. How it plays in the long term – is a different question. You can’t just forget about your PPC campaign. If you want results to stay you need to be constantly involved.
  • Good targeting. PPC is very flexible with who you can advertise to. You can run campaigns focused on specific locations, platforms, interests – almost anything you can think of.
  • A lot of data. PPC is a highly data-driven method of advertising, but the data it provides can be invaluable for the future development of your business.

And what are the disadvantages?

  • You have to invest money. All the things above are well and good, but if you don’t have enough capital to invest in a PPC campaign then you won’t get them. Unlike SEO, you can’t really save money. These are paid ads, and if you can’t pay there will be no ads.
  • PPC may just not work. There can be several reasons for that. First, AdBlock. More and more people prefer to block ads on platforms and search engines, and some platforms even include disabling of ads into their premium services, like YouTube. Second, there is such a phenomenon called banner blindness. With years of seeing internet ads people can just ignore yours, so you need to be imaginative and really catch their attention.

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Here’s What We Recommend

SEO vs. PPC isn’t as simple as choosing one or the other, but we have some recommendations.

If you have a small budget for digital marketing, SEO is a good way to go. You can do it yourself if you’re willing to learn, but we recommend you talk to SEO experts to understand the process truly.

If you want to start selling right away, we think PPC advertising is a great option. It doesn’t depend on algorithms, and there isn’t a long waiting time to see results. You can set up your PPC campaign or have a professional team do it, and within hours, your adverts will be out there and attracting people to your e-commerce website.

If you want long-term results, we encourage you to check out our web design and marketing services. We have more than a decade of experience and success driving sales to e-commerce businesses.

It would be best not to pit SEO vs. PPC in an ideal world but to have them working together for the best organic search results. An integrated digital marketing strategy that includes both SEO and PPC is the optimal approach. Positive results of one system can feed into the success of another.

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    Get in touch today, and we’ll talk about how to use both channels to generate more sales and revenue for your e-commerce store. Call us on (312) 625-0447 or reach out online. Even if you choose not to hire us, you’ll walk away with a solid foundational understanding of PPC and SEO that you can implement in your marketing campaign right away.

    About the Author
    Yuriy Skotarev

    Yuriy Skotarev

    Yuriy oversees Catapult Revenue’s marketing team, ensuring all SEO, PPC, analytics and development work is executed with precision.

    Expert in: ecommerce marketing campaign ecommerce marketing strategy ecommerce marketing services marketing for ecommerce business ecommerce digital marketing agency ecommerce marketing digital marketing for ecommerce
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