SEO vs Google Ads: The Great Debate

For many in the Digital Marketing space, this is the ultimate question when it comes to determining the value of SEO (organic search rankings) and even Local SEO (Google Maps / Google local search results) vs. Google Ads.

From my experience the answer is simple (and yet complex)…

Disparity: Google Ads will only reach approx. the 20th percentile of the search market

Pay To Play: Google Ads only show for as long as you are paying – stop paying and you disappear

The Disparity Question

With Google Ads only reaching the 20th percentile of the search market, this means the 80th percentile are by-passing the ads and looking only at the organic search results.

Google Ads, in this case, are sort of like TV commercials — people would rather get to the good stuff and by-pass the ads altogether.

So would you rather reach 20 out of 100, or 200 out of 1000, or 2000 out of 10,000 searchers and have to pay for each and every click?

Or would you rather reach 80 out of 100, 800 out of 1000, or even 8000 out of 10,000 and never have to pay for click?

The disparity between paid vs. organic traffic is the #1 leverage that puts SEO far ahead on the ROI spectrum for any business.

The Pay To Play Question

Again from my experience, businesses launch Google Ads with the hope of quickly bringing in new customers. However, this is typically not the case since Google Ads require optimization and adjustments in order to unlock the maximum value of a campaign.

As such, businesses end up turning off their ad campaigns after a few months.

And without any relevant presence in organic search results, when you shut off your ad campaign you basically disappear completely from the search results and revert back to where you were before you even launched your campaign.

However, achieving organic rankings and natural visibility in Google search, you not only DO NOT have to pay per click, but your lifespan of visibility is definitive far into the future… or at least until enough competitors up-end your SEO and end up outranking you.


These 2 factors are the biggest reasons why you should (in fact, need to) pursue organic SEO for your business.

When you achieve top rankings for your business, not only are you reaching the overwhelming majority of your prospective customer audience, but you are securing a long term presence to an unlimited volume of traffic from this high value audience.

A Second Conclusion

Of course…if you can afford to do both SEO and Google Ads, you should definitely do that as that would create both short and long term wins for your business.

I hope this was helpful!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Just drop me an email at with any questions or if you would like us to review your Online Visibility.