Google Ads vs. SEO – where do you invest?

Previously referred to as Google AdWords, Google Ads is a pay-per-click form of advertising that goes hand-in-hand with SEO or Search Engine Optimization. They are also components of Search Marketing, which creates visibility for your business online. So, how do you know in which of these you should be investing more of your marketing dollars?
You may have noticed that when you search for a product or service on Google, an ad pops up on the search results page that’s relevant to your search query. Coincidence? Not quite. Google Ads get your business in front of potential customers who are actively looking for your products or services. They can also help promote your business by generating brand awareness for those who may not yet be familiar with your company or product.

How does it work? A company will pay Google to run those ads while targeting specific audiences as a way to drive traffic to their website. For example, if you searched for “blue cat collars” on Google, you’ll see that this ad appears on the search results page. Chewy is a company that sells pet products and food supplies online. In the title of their ad, the words “cat” and “collars” are listed—targeting specific words or phrases that are relevant to your products or services. Using keyword and phrase match, Google Ads can maximize your reach with the appropriate audience. It’s also very important to ensure your landing page is relevant and has the appropriate content that ties back to the ad.

Pretty cool, right?




Like many individuals, we all look for ways to improve our visibility on the web and, in turn, we receive more traffic to a website, which can lead to a sale. So, if you don’t use a paid form of advertising, how does Google know where to place your website in search results? This is where SEO comes in.

Search engine optimization allows you to enhance your visibility on the web through what are called organic search results. Organic search results are categorized based on a variety of elements such as relevancy, fresh content, images tags, links to and from your website, meta information, etc.—nothing from paid ads. Think of online search results as a library. Librarians need to be able to simply read the title of a book or the classification system to know where it should be placed on the shelf and in what order. A search engine, like Google, needs to be able to read the information you’ve put out on the web in order to list where your website should appear in search results and on what pages.

If you search for “best cookbooks for beginners” on Google, you’ll see this result on the first page of search results. Notice it doesn’t mention “ad” like in the previous example, as this isn’t a paid advertisement. Google is simply indexing this result organically based on all of the SEO information it’s able to pull from this resource and determining if it’s relevant to your search query to give you the best result possible.




Remember to make sure your content is relevant and contains the appropriate links, image tags, seed keywords and descriptions that are specific to your products or services—your information shouldn’t be misleading…search engines can often tell. Follow best practices or consult your agency partner.

So, where should you be applying your marketing $$$ the most? When it comes to SEO, it’s important that your online content is optimized and updated on a regular basis. This will allow search engines to crawl your pages and determine how well your site will rank in search results. Whether you create your own SEO or hire a marketer to help with your needs, SEO implementation is a continuous effort that takes time so nurturing your content on a regular basis is key.

On the other hand, Google Ads are a fast and easy way to help drive traffic to your website where individuals can often see immediate results. It is a paid form of advertising, but you can set your budget and bid system so it works best for the type of visibility you want.

In the end, using best SEO practices and Google Ads together will streamline your online presence and help get you in front of the leads you’ve been looking for. The two often work well simultaneously, and it can benefit you to invest money into both of these strategies.

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