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SEO vs PPC for E-Commerce brands - Which channel is beneficial? - bolt
e-commerce brands

SEO vs PPC for E-Commerce brands

Which is better for e-commerce brands – SEO or PPC? The answer depends on your objectives and goals. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a great way to achieve short-term goals. You could get loyal customers from a PPC campaign, however, you are limited by your budget. Once it has been spent for the month, you won’t be able to attract new customers unless you pay again for the next month.

If this money had been invested in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the results may take a little longer to be seen. However, they are a lot more valuable. You could have improved your organic results, created quality content for your target audience and attracted backlinks from relevant sites.

There are two key differences between PPC and SEO. PPC results can be found at the very top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). However, every click on your link will cost you. Whereas organic SEO results appear below but these clicks do not cost when clicked. If both are implemented with the right strategies, they can be work very well together.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO focuses on increasing organic traffic to your e-commerce website and can be very useful for your brand if done right.

Improved CTR

There are over 3.5 billion Google searches every day. People are more likely to click on the organic results over the paid ones so being nearer the top of these will pay off. As we saw in our blog about ‘Why is our website not ranking?‘, the click-through rate (CTR) drops significantly, the lower down you are in the SERPs. With a 34% CTR in the number 1 spot, this has already dropped to only 10% in the number 3 spot.

Cost per Click

As we have mentioned earlier, unlike with PPC, the click-throughs you receive from organic search results do not cost anything. The only downside is the time it takes. However, once your ranking improves and you are at the top, you are not having to pump in as much money as you would with PPC to keep attracting new customers.

Builds credibility

There is an increasing number of users who trust the organic search results over the paid ad results. Appearing nearer the top of the organic results will build credibility for your e-commerce brand, as well as seeing an increase of click-throughs to your website.

Creating awareness

With the right SEO strategy, you can target the most relevant keywords to your e-commerce brand and potential customers. By increasing your rankings in the SERPs, your website will be seen more by potential customers and can work in the same way as an advertisement to create brand awareness.

SEO has many advantages however there are also some cons to be aware of. For startup e-commerce brands, you need to carefully research the keywords you want to target. There is no point competing on keywords with the likes of Amazon and eBay as there is only going to be one winner.

Remember, you need to have patience to see the results.  If you are relying on SEO to provide you with quick sales and website traffic, you need to have a rethink.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Top of the page

One of the main advantages of PPC is that the paid search results appear at the top of the page, above the organic search results. Being at the top of the page, research has found that 46% of the clicks go to the top three paid ads on the SERPs.

Improved advertising

PPC allows you to improve your advertising as you are able to target your ads to your potential customers. You have control over the message you want to put out and can decide when and where you want the ads to appear, the keywords for the ads to appear, location of users and many more. You can also create enticing ads with sitelink, callout and call extensions.

Visual ads

Another great advantage for e-commerce brands using PPC is the ability to create product listing ads. This feature is not available in organic search results. These ads allow you to add your product and company logo and can boost your click-through rates compared to normal ads.


As we have already mentioned, one of the key differences between PPC and SEO is you have to pay for PPC ads. It is very important to stay on top of your budget. Decide how much you want to spend each day and set a limit. It’s always useful to regularly check how your budget is being spent so you can optimise and get the best results.


Another key difference between PPC and SEO is the speed of PPC ads. Once you have created a PPC campaign and put it live, it will then start appearing in the SERPs; as long as you have created enticing ads that can compete.

A/B Testing

Want to ensure your ads are fully optimised? PPC allows you to split-test your ads, call-to-actions and landing pages so you can see which works best to get the most out of your ads.

PPC can be very useful for e-commerce brands. It is important to remember that you shouldn’t just leave your ads to run on their own once you have created them. You should be regularly monitoring them to optimise them so that you can get the most out of your budget.

Written by: Thomas Coughlan
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