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SEO vs Google Adwords

posted on Monday 10th November, 2014


Search engines are the lifeblood to a website. Even with the rise of social media, search is usually still the primary source of traffic (as well as the most productive one).

But what is best method for generating search traffic? The leading contenders are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Adwords.

SEO involves optimising your website based on 100s of implied factors which Google use to determine its rankings. Only the big ‘G’ knows these for certain but key ones are believed to include on-site optimisation, links to your website and social media presence.

Google Adwords are the ads that show to the top and right hand side of search results. This is largely run as an auction, although relevance is a factor in how much you pay.

So which one is better / cheaper? There’s only way to find out – fight!

  • RISK – Google Adwords can guarantee your website shows on the first page for any term of your choice (if you bid enough), whilst there are no guarantees with SEO as Google ultimately decides where you rank
  • VOLUME – More people tend to click on the natural search results and you are not restricted by budgets, so SEO is the winner here
  • TIMEFRAMES – With Google Adwords you can show on the first page within 24 hours, whilst it can take several months to achieve results with SEO
  • COST – There’s no clear winner but if SEO is successful it does offer better value for money longer term

In summary there is no definitive answer, with certain websites more suited to SEO, others Adwords. You may even find both methods being applicable, such as Student Grove whom are targeting ‘student accommodation newcastle’ and similar keywords.

Whilst their search engine rankings are slowly rising (#13 to date), Google Adwords gives them an immediate presence right at the top of the page. Also often different people click on the ads to the natural listings, so it’s win-win.

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