SEO vs PPC in South Africa

Search Engine Optimisation versus Pay-Per-Click

Have you been pondering whether your business would benefit more from paid or organic search?

When meeting with clients, after discussing an integrated marketing approach, I get this question often, “is SEO or PPC the better practice?” In my opinion, there is no definitive answer. It all depends on your industry, where you stand relative to your competitors, how well your website has been built (and whether it has rank or not) and so much more. There is definitely a place and a time for both SEO and PPC.

There are a lot of South African Digital Marketing agencies who don’t implement good SEO practice. If done right, organic search delivers more results at a better cost per acquisition than paid search (PPC).

As Google has developed over the years and has become a very competitive search engine to rank in the top positions for, new businesses (or new websites with little authority) can have a hard time getting started with SEO, and paid search can offer a fast track to search marketing when done correctly.

For me, this all comes back to your digital marketing strategy. Understanding your prospective customers and how they use the web is key to determining whether paid search, organic search or a combination of both is the best approach for your business or situation.

seo vs ppc


It’s not as simple as SEO or PPC – that’s for me! We have to take the unique situation of a given business into consideration.

A local business with little competition and requires perhaps just a few leads per month could likely develop good visibility in the local and organic search results with little spend on SEO.

Whereas, a new e-commerce store that is competing with a pile up of results from industry leading competitors is likely going to struggle in organic search marketing.

Ask yourself this question to start, “Do you need leads now?”. You have to look at the long game with SEO and PPC. Does your site boast domain authority? What is the competition like in organic search? What is the cost per click in paid search for the keyword you want to target?

Let me help define your clear short-term and long-term goals that are essential in making the decision of going with an integrated marketing approach or standalone SEO or PPC.


The best case scenario is that we would make use of both SEO and PPC. SEO and PPC both have pros and cons and work best when supporting each other concurrently. Where you can get SEO and PPC working together, you will be able to gain results that are greater than using either tool alone.

Benefits of running SEO and PPC together:

  • Keyword and conversion data from PPC can be fed into organic search (SEO).
  • The total volume of traffic can be increased by targeting clicks in paid and organic for high-performing keywords.
  • High-cost keywords, high-volume or low-converting (yet still important) keywords can be moved from PPC to organic search.
  • A/B testing of ad copy and landing pages can be fed into your organic listing and landing pages.
  • Remarketing allows you to stay in front of visitors after an initial touch via organic search and customize messaging around their engagement with your site.
  • Test your keyword strategy in PPC before committing to long-term SEO strategies.
  • Target users at all stages of the customer journey from research to comparison to purchase with commercial keywords.
  • Increase confidence and awareness by having both strong organic and paid visibility.

In our experience with hundreds of businesses, an integrated search strategy that looks at both SEO and PPC is the optimal approach. Results are improved in each channel by utilizing both paid and organic. This will not be right for every business, but for high-growth, aggressive marketing, you will want to develop a holistic search engine strategy rather than look at SEO or PPC in isolation

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.