Last update : 14 October 2020
One question that often comes up when it comes to implementing a SEO strategy is the choice between “organic” SEO and paid listings (including advertising on Google AdWords).
I’ll detail in separate articles the advantages and disadvantages of each method and then explain how you can make the right choice (the overall conclusion will be in the second article).
You should know, however, that advertising on Google AdWords influence (indirectly) SEO since it is a source of traffic and therefore will be considered by Google to evaluate the quality of your website. So do not see these two modes of SEO solutions as opposed but rather as complementary because each method has its own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s start with advertising on Google AdWords:
The advantages of advertising on Google AdWords (paid listing)
First, I would say that the most important advantage of paid search is the unrivaled speed at which you can position yourself on the first page of Google. Indeed, once you have created your Google AdWords account and advertising campaigns (which can be done in a few hours), you just have to wait for your advertisements to be validated (which generally happens very fast if you follow the rules of Google AdWords) and you are in the top 4 of Google results!
The other major advantage of paid search is the unlimited number of keywords on which you can position yourself. Indeed, there is no limit imposed by Google AdWords advertisers to position the keywords of their choice. I want to clarify that there is also no limit regarding SEO but you will see later in this article that the main limitations are time (the more keywords you choose, the more it takes time) and inspiration in the choice of articles subjects (again, we’ll see more details below).
The third big advantage of advertising on Google AdWords compared to natural SEO is the flexibility you have to change your ad (= what appears in Google results when typing a certain keyword). While it is unadvisable to make too many changes to your ‘natural’ results, Google AdWords will tend to favor advertisers who regularly update their listings. So you can do all the tests you want, without fear of a real downgrade in the search results.
Disadvantages of advertising Google AdWords
As you can imagine, if there were only advantages associated to paid listings, it would be too good to be true. The main disadvantage of paid listings is found in its name: you have to pay. It can be very expensive to put your ads on the search results of Google especially if you rely on a lot of keywords and if those keywords are highly competitive (= other advertisers rely on the same keywords you). It is therefore important to set up a budget because you will quickly spend all your money in the space of a month.
The second disadvantage of paid listings on Google is that Google AdWords is not easy to tame. In fact, this tool is very comprehensive. You have the option to set your campaigns at all levels (geographic, hours and days of release, campaign specific budget, keyword specific bid, excluded keywords, combined queries etc.). So it is very easy to get lost and mismanage your account (which can have disastrous consequences on your results). You can get help from a Google AdWords specialist but you will again pay for the benefit this services (its up to you to determine if the advice of the expert is a good investment for best results).
The third major disadvantage of advertising on Google is that the price of keywords is largely influenced by the competition. Even if the criteria of relevance of your ad in relation to the chosen keyword and landing page influence your cost per click (amount you pay each time someone clicks on your ad), the “competition” factor has a significant weight on the CPC.
If an advertiser with a much larger budget than you decide to increase the bid on the keywords that you yourself use, you are going to have to increase your budget if you want to keep your position on Google’s search results. This escalation has reached amounts so high that sometimes in certain industries (Business Law and Finance in particular), the cost per click can be $25! Can you imagine? The advertiser pays $ 25 every time someone clicks on their advertisement! For companies with small budgets, it is of more interest to opt for a strategy to improve your SEO rather than fighting against big advertisers on Google AdWords.
A little conclusion before moving on
As you can see, the benefits of advertising on Google are not negligible but the disadvantages are even less! If you have a limited budget to invest in advertising, I suggest you to choose your keywords well (and as precisely as possible), analyze your results regularly and invest initially in basic training with a Google AdWords expert. The Google AdWords expert will share their experience and will give you the necessary instructions to obtain good performance and avoid losing all your money because of a wrong setting or campaign configuration. If you wish to be trained by one of our experts, email us at email@example.com or call us at 514 572 7758.
Ready to move on? Here is the second part of the study: The Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO