SEO or Adwords: Which is better?

Comparing SEO or Adwords is like comparing apples to oranges -- both help to get your brand on the SERP in front of prospective customers. SEO works to get your site higher in the organic rankings so that you rank for customers typing queries applicable to your content. Adwords allow you to target particular keyword phrases and then create an ad that promotes your site and content for those using those keywords.

Both of these channels can help enhance your overall visibility in Search, but it is important to remember that trying to determine which is more important is like comparing apples to oranges. A strong and lasting digital presence requires brands to use both channels and craft a strategy that can employ the two together to maximize the online potential of the brand.

What are the different roles of SEO and Adwords?

SEO and Adwords have unique but complementary roles. The discipline of SEO management revolves around making your site appealing for customers as well as creating content that addresses their needs and engages them. This not only involves the material you write or the videos and infographics you create, it also involves optimizing site layout and design to ensure that it is user-friendly, and easy to navigate, moving users through your site in a logical way.

seo adwords data visualizations

Adwords, on the other hand, is a form of online display advertising. It allows you pay each time a person clicks on an ad you create. This ad is displayed to users who type in particular keywords on the search engines, allowing you to target users interested in particular topics. Adwords, therefore, can help you gain the visibility you want for important keywords, even before you have the site reputation and SEO rankings needed to see results from your organic efforts.

Can SEO and Adwords work together?

When used properly, SEO and Adwords can work well together. Brands that accurately track their rankings and organic traffic can strategically use Adwords to increase visibility for important keywords, driving paid traffic where they do not have the organic ranking to get on Page 1. Adwords can also be used to test consumer response to particular keywords. For example, brands can take out ads for keywords that they are considering optimizing for. They can then track the customers who click on the ad and see how well they respond to the landing page and the rest of the site. Keywords that bring in visitors with higher conversion rates and more engagement will then take a higher priority to those that do not see as much success.

Similarly, keyword data from SEO efforts can also be used to find the right opportunities for Adwords. Uncovering keywords that have high search rates, but that also have high competition -- meaning that it will be difficult for a site to earn a slot on the front page of the SERP -- will likely be good candidates for Adwords campaigns. This refinement process can be done across both the major search engines as well as newer avenues for SEO work like vertical and native search engines.

As a brand builds a digital strategy, understanding the different roles of Adwords and SEO in building a web presence is critical to success. The better that companies can use these two different features together for their advantage, the better their potential results in Search.

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