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SEO or Google Ads – what to choose?

Google Ads and SEO are two forms of internet marketing that allow you to effectively promote your online business. Many entrepreneurs wonder whether to choose SEO activities or Google Ads search campaigns. Let’s check what are the differences between SEO and Google Ads, which form to choose and … is it even necessary and worth choosing between them?

SEO and Google Ads – what are they and how are they different?

Both SEO and Google Ads are forms of internet marketing in the search engine (SEM – Search Engine Marketing). Their goal is to promote the company on the market, gain traffic and sell products or services. However, they differ in the way they are presented in the search results, as well as in the methods of operation. What are positioning and Google Ads campaigns?

SEO is a series of activities aimed at obtaining high rankings for keywords related to the offer in organic, i.e. organic, search results. The visibility of the page depends on many elements (there are over 200 ranking factors), and the key ones are:
– the presence of keywords,
– profile of links leading to the site,
– technical optimization of the website,
– the presence of valuable content,
– the way the website works (speed, the presence of an SSL certificate, etc., internal link structure).

Google Ads campaigns are paid promotional activities on the Internet. The address of a specific website will appear in the search results or on a site belonging to the Google advertising network only if the advertiser declares payment of a certain amount in return for the user’s action (clicking on a link, making a conversion, viewing a video material). These campaigns, if well optimized, give quick results, but also generate quite high costs. Check how long you have to wait for the effects of Google Ads campaigns. While SEO activities are directed primarily at the organic search results of Google and Google Maps, Google Ads can be displayed not only on the search network, but also on websites cooperating with Google in the display network, on Google maps, YouTube and Gmail. which gives a long range. For Search campaigns, the results are tagged with “Ad” and appear above, below, or next to the organic results.

SEO advantages and disadvantages

Both store and page SEO and Google Ads have their pros and cons. SEO:
– it is effective and cheaper, but requires patience – SEO effects may appear after a few months, but also after 2 years, as we wrote about in the article “Is it profitable to wait for SEO results?”,
– requires comprehensive knowledge – without experience and skills, you can do more harm to your website than help,
– allows you to obtain long-term results – the longer you invest, the higher the return on investment and the lower the cost of acquiring a single client,
– builds brand trust and credibility,
– generates constant and even movement.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a Google Ads campaign?

– They give quick but short-term effects.
– Require payment for user action that keeps growing.
– They require constant optimization and verification by a specialist in terms of effectiveness.
– Provide great opportunities for targeting audiences, locations, etc.
– They are useful for short-term campaigns, such as pre-holiday campaigns, when the advertiser wants to quickly build visibility, traffic and sales.
– They reach a large number of recipients.

Google Ads or SEO – which one to choose?

In certain situations, SEO campaigns or Google Ads campaigns may be more effective. Below you will find some common situations and information on which actions to choose.

SEO vs Ads, when you count on quick results

Do you care about quick results, building visibility and traffic in a few weeks or months? Then an investment in Google Ads campaigns on the search network will be a better solution. A well-optimized campaign can immediately display key phrases and generate clicks (traffic) and sales. In the case of positioning, you have to wait for the effects, so this strategy will not work for short-term campaigns. If you want to use SEO for your holiday campaigns, you need to plan your activities at least six months, preferably one year in advance.

SEO or Ads and building brand authority

Your main goal is to build an expert image and brand authority? In this case, you should focus on marketing activities that will give permanent and long-term effects. Therefore, positioning will be more effective to build the image and authority. While campaigns on the Google Display Network can also be focused on building awareness, their effectiveness is low (except for remarketing).

Google Ads or SEO and audience targeting

If your goal is to precisely target your marketing efforts to your audience, a Google Ads ad will be a better choice. In the process of preparing and optimizing a campaign, you can target your ads:
– on the user’s location (understood both as the place where the user stays permanently or temporarily),
– devices (desktops and laptops, tablets and televisions),
– by demographic data (gender, age),
– according to the interests of users.

High targeting opportunities ensure that your ads will reach recipients who are really interested in your services or products. In the case of positioning, you also reach interested recipients (who entered a specific keyword), but the targeting possibilities are smaller.

Building credibility with SEO or Google Ads?

Your long-term goal is to build credibility with your users? You can combine positioning with Google Ads campaigns, but put more emphasis on SEO. Advertising may seem intrusive to many users, while organic results appear more natural and credible. All because many users realize that PPC advertising has to be paid for, while the high position in the free results is based on brand authority, high-quality content and a long-term strategy of building trust on the Internet.

Scalability – better in SEO or Google Ads?

Are you taking your first steps in an online business, but want to be able to continuously develop your marketing activities within the optimal budget? Choose positioning. While SEO activities each month bring a better return on investment and allow you to attract more customers within the same budget, Google Ads campaigns will need higher budgets for better results, because Google wants to earn money from advertising. To even better use the advantages of positioning, create evergreen content that, even a few years after publication, can generate valuable traffic and constitute a source of valuable knowledge for users.

Google Ads or SEO and cost optimization

Do you want to invest in online marketing, but within an optimal budget? In this situation, you should also choose positioning of the website or online store. Why is positioning cheaper than Google Ads? Because:
– within a certain budget, you are able to acquire more and more customers and build more traffic – acquiring one customer is getting cheaper,
– you can start with cheaper local positioning,
– Google Ads ads are becoming more and more expensive not only due to high competition, but also increasing rates,
– SEO allows you to increase profits in the long run,
– the same effects in Google Ads will require a much larger budget than SEO activities.

SEO and Google Ads – synergy of actions

SEO and Google Ads campaigns are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary – in order to maximize the effects – visibility, traffic and sales – it is worth combining Google ads and SEO activities. Why is it worth it and how to do it? Let’s check.

Why should SEO and Google Ads work together?

There are at least a few reasons why you should combine SEO and Google Ads campaigns. You will find them below.

1. Get better visibility on Google by combining Ads and SEO campaigns

The combination of SEO and Google Ads means that a link to your website can appear in up to three places in Google search results – organic results, in a Shopping ad and in Google Ads text ads for the same keyword. In this way, you increase the chance that the user will click on your link several times and go to your website. The very positioning for the same keyword allows you to display usually one, and a maximum of two links from the same website on the user’s query.

2. Invest in SEO and Google Ads to get more keyword data

Optimizing SEO and Google Ads activities allows you to collect more data on the effectiveness of individual keywords. SEO and Google Ads specialists taking care of one site can collaborate, exchange experiences and share knowledge about the effectiveness of activities, and use it for further optimization.

3. Combine SEO and Ads and you will get more data on the effectiveness of your content

When you conduct Google Ads activities, you know which ad copy and headlines are most effective. You can use this knowledge to optimize the metadata title and description in SEO. Why is it worth it? Because in the case of Google Ads you get information on effectiveness quickly, while in SEO you have to wait for the effects. Without the information from Google Ads, you could lose several valuable months.

4. Thanks to the synergy of SEO and Ads, you can achieve various business goals

Both SEO and Google Ads are designed to promote your company on the Internet, but they carry out this task in a different way. While SEO activities assume long-term effects and are not suitable for short-term promotions, you can use Google Ads to promote a discount offer that you plan to organize in 2 weeks. This is how SEO and Ads complement each other. You don’t need to run Google Ads activities at all if you’re on a budget. It is worth focusing on permanent positioning and launching Google Ads campaigns from time to time, for example during a hot sales period – during holidays and in the high season for your products or services.

5. Thanks to Google Ads you will maximize your SEO effects

SEO brings you a lot of traffic, but many customers do not fulfill their order in the store or choose not to use the service? You can remind them of yourself and maximize SEO effects through Google Ads remarketing ads. Prepare a remarketing campaign for abandoned carts. You can use both traditional remarketing and dynamic remarketing, which displays an ad to the user of the exact product they previously viewed in the store.

How to use the potential of Google Ads and SEO?

We already know that it is worth combining SEO and Google Ads, and not choosing between two channels. Below we will present how to combine strategies to get the best marketing and sales results.

1. Dominate your results on branded keywords

Is your website displayed in organic results for brand phrases? It’s almost obvious. In this case, however, it is worth supplementing the organic results by launching a campaign for brand keywords. This way, your business’s advertisement and not your competitors’ advertisement will be displayed in the paid results, which can strengthen customer confidence in your business and increase traffic. This strategy will not be expensive, because the rates for branded phrases are usually not high, and it can bring satisfactory results and dominate brand results on Google. Larry Kim recommends spending 15% of your Google Ads budget on branded slogans.

2. Use the data from the internal search engine to optimize SEO and Ads campaigns

A lot of users use the internal search engine on your site? This is a signal that you should improve your navigation. On the other hand, it is worth using the phrases entered by users on your website to optimize SEO activities and Google Ads. There is a high probability that users will enter the same phrases in the Google search engine. Include them in your SEO and Google Ads strategies.

3. Use data from Google Search Console to optimize Google Ads campaigns

Have you been doing SEO for a long time and want to invest in Google Ads? You can improve your ad campaign by taking advantage of Google Search Console’s content performance data. Go to the performance report and the “Inquiries” tab. Filter the phrases according to the number of views and clicks. These are keywords that users are already using to find your business. You can use them for Google Ads campaigns.


Google Ads and SEO campaigns do not affect each other, but they work well together. If you have a large marketing budget, it’s a good idea to combine them to maximize traffic and sales. If you have a small budget, focus on positioning and occasionally invest in Google Ads, such as Shopping advertising, during periods of high traffic. However, do not give up on positioning, because it is a long-term action that will bring the expected results, provided that you are patient.

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