In this article, I’ll answer the question,

Should you invest in search engine optimization (SEO) or paid advertising?”

I receive this question a lot and my answer is always the same. SEO and paid advertising are NOT mutually exclusive.  Regardless of your type of business, if prospects are searching for your product or service online, then I recommend you test BOTH SEO and paid advertising.


Why Invest In Both SEO and Paid Advertising?

A lot of business owners think SEO is the better option because the traffic is free. Why use paid advertising and pay for clicks when you can get traffic for free with SEO?

Well first you need to realize SEO is not totally free.  In order to keep ranking high in the search engines, you’ll need to invest time and money every month.  Otherwise your competition will eventually outrank you and over time you’ll lose your “free” traffic.  So if SEO is not free, then the real question to ask is,

Can you get a positive ROI from SEO or paid advertising?


The only way to answer that question is to test both and meticulously track your ROI.  So what if you get a 30% ROI from SEO and only a 10% ROI from paid advertising?  Does that mean you ditch paid advertising?

Absolutely not!

You’re still getting a positive return on your paid advertising so why stop?  As long as each marketing channel is profitably generating leads and sales then you don’t want to turn them off.


Diversity = Stability

Diversity in your marketing channels leads to business stability.

If you depend solely on SEO or solely on paid advertising, then your  business is extremely vulnerable.  With SEO, your rankings could suddenly (and with no warning) drop simply because Google made a change in their algorithm.  And with paid advertising, new competitors could start driving up your costs and erode your profitability.

The only way to be truly stable is to diversify your marketing channels so you’re not dependent on just one source of traffic.   Remember, if you can generate a positive ROI from both SEO and paid advertising, then use BOTH to make your business more stable over the long term.