Top 5 Tips on Deciding When to Use SEO, PPC, SMO OR a Combination of All

SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Paid Marketing), and SMO (Social Media Optimization) are very effective
in bringing in traffic to your website. With the right strategy, not even the enterprise but even small and medium-sized businesses with limited budgets can seize the opportunities presented by these online marketing strategies.


But how do you decide which one to focus on? Do you have to pick just one, or should you do them all? Here are SEOValley’s 5 tips to help your decision.

Tip #1: Think About the Objective of Your Campaign

What is the goal of your campaign? Social Media Optimization or Social Media Marketing (SMO) is a good choice if your objective is to build your brand via different social channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and YouTube. By giving your brand a ‘face’ and a distinct ‘voice’ on social media, you can start to gain the trust of your potential customers and the general public.

Meanwhile, Pay Per Click (PPC) or Paid Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns are effective in conversions via direct sales or in improving the leads and enquiries.

PPC or paid marketing means buying ad space in search engines and popular social platforms so that the results page shows a link to your website when someone looks up keywords associated with your products or services or search for relevant information online. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

Because of how specific and targeted PPC marketing is, it is considered a crucial source of traffic by businesses that want to boost their overall sales online. A well-implemented PPC campaign can generate high-quality leads who are ‘ready to buy.’

The same is true for SEO. Once you have successfully optimized your website so that it’s shown on the first page of Google’s search results when someone searches for your products and services, you can expect to get targetted traffic.

Tip #2: Consider The Conversion Cost

Conversion cost refers to the average amount you’re spending to convert a visitor into a customer. SEO is more cost-effective than PPC in this regard. The actual conversion rate varies depending on the industry, but as you will see on the table below, SEO always wins.


Industry Average SEO Conversion Rate Average PPC Conversion Rate
Legal Services 7.50% 2.20%
HVAC Services 3.30% 1.80%
Medical Device 3.10% 0.90%
Manufacturing & Distribution 3.00% 1.00%
Real Estate 2.80% 0.80%
Solar Energy 2.70% 1.90%
PCB Design & Manufacturing 2.30% 1.40%
Financial Services 2.20% 0.30%
Industrial IOT 2.20% 0.90%
B2B SaaS 2.10% 1.00%
Addiction Treatment 2.10% 1.10%
Pharmaceutical 2.00% 1.40%
Construction 1.90% 1.90%
Biotech 1.80% 0.70%
Sales & Marketing 1.80% 1.30%
Commercial Insurance 1.70% 0.90%
Oil & Gas 1.70% 1.50%
E-commerce / Retail 1.60% 1.30%
Higher Education & College 1.40% 1.70%
Luxury Goods 1.10% 0.30%


Tip #3: How quickly do you want to see results?

As a general rule, PPC gets quicker results compared to both SEO and SMO. It works fast and can generate a lot of traffic right away.

For this reason, PPC is a good choice if you want to increase visibility instantly. It lets you customize ads based on factors like geographic location, so it’s possible to get highly-targeted visitors. However, PPC can also be risky if not used optimally. You may end up spending a lot of money on ads that don’t bring in sales.

In contrast, it takes about 4 to 6 months to see the results of an SEO campaign. SMO takes even longer at 6 to 12 months. But unlike PPC results, SEO and SMO results tend to build and grow over time.

Tip #4: Consider the size of your business—and your budget.

For small- and medium-sized companies with limited budgets, SEO and SMO are more cost-efficient compared to PPC.

SEO and SMO cost time and money, of course, but it’s still a lot cheaper than paid marketing in the long run. These long-term strategies continue to drive traffic and build your brand long after you’ve made the investment.

Tip #5: Think about your target audience.

PPC and SMO campaigns can be targeted towards a very niche target audience. For example, paid ads and social media posts can be designed so that only people in certain locations and age groups see them. They can even be targeted based on user interest.

While it’s possible to use SEO to become more visible in local search results, SEO campaigns in general are not as targeted as PPC and SMO. However, it delivers consistent results while increasing your website’s authority and value over the long term.

Choosing the right online marketing strategy

Now that you have a clear idea of when it’s best to use SEO, PPC, and SMO, you are probably asking: Should you focus on just one or use a combination of all three?

SEOValley can recommend the best method/s for your specific goals. We can help you decide on the optimum strategy based on your goals, target audience, time frame, and budget. We can also combine SEO, PPC, and SMO, making sure that all efforts align with each other.

Ready to start? Contact SEOValley today. [ Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 ]