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SEO vs PPC For Your Chicago Business

Last updated April 2023

Finding and winning customers for your Chicago business can be a challenge, but the internet has unlocked many new possibilities. Instead of television and radio ads that are expensive, locked in ahead of time, and hard to track returns for, businesses have more options than ever. Pay-per-click digital ads and SEO are some of the best ways to win new customers, but businesses often have to make a choice when it comes to how to prioritize limited marketing funds. Here’s what you need to know about SEO vs PPC for your Chicago business.

What is pay-per-click advertising?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a form of digital ad where the advertiser pays for every click at ad receives. This means that it doesn’t matter how many times an ad is seen (unlike pay-per-impression ad models), the advertiser will only pay for the number of times people click on the advertisement. Pay-per-click advertising can be run through a third-party ad platform like Teads, Criteo, or MNTN, or it can be done directly through search engines like Google or Bing. 

Pay-per-click advertising generally takes on one of two shapes: display ads and search ads. Display ads can be thought of like the billboards of the internet. They show up on the top, bottom, and sides of websites, but you may or may not always notice or be aware of them. For this reason, display ads are charged per impression and are best used for retargeting past website visitors or as an inexpensive branding solution. Search ads are the ads at the top of search results and relate directly to the keywords or phrases in the search query.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the strategy of abiding by the best practices of search engines, primarily Google, to increase the likelihood that your website shows up at the top of the search results for organic (non-paid) search queries. Research has shown that 75% of searchers don’t look past the first page of results, a number that is only sure to increase as Google develops more search responses that don’t require people to leave Google at all. 

There are three different ways to approach SEO for your Chicago business. On-page SEO, the most commonly mentioned form of SEO, involves creating content like writing blog articles to increase the number and quality of keywords on your website in order to rank higher in organic searches. Off-page SEO involves creating more links from other websites to your website, either through backlink outreach or by establishing business listings on a variety of websites through a local business listing service. The last way to improve the SEO of your Chicago business website is to ensure that your technical SEO is flawless by having your WordPress website managed and updated regularly.


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When is PPC the best choice for business?

PPC is a quick-hit strategy for most businesses. This is especially true if you have a product or service with a short customer lifecycle. PPC ads can be started and stopped at a moment’s notice and updated just as quickly. This is a great solution for filling in a sales pipeline during slow times or when you have challenges involving product availability — simply change out or turn off ads as business dictates. PPC ads have robust reporting and reports can be linked to an existing Google Analytics account to help business owners quickly and easily determine the impact of their ads allowing them to make smart business decisions based on data.

What’s the downside of PPC ads?

PPC ads are only as effective as the website they support. If you don’t have a website that is built to convert, even the most compelling search ads will have lackluster results. Additionally, PPC ads will only work as long as money is being pumped into the ad system. No money = no ads = no residual effects.

What is the benefit of SEO for a Chicago business?

SEO is a long-term business strategy. It takes weeks and even months for even the best SEO strategies to show progress, especially in competitive keyword fields. The benefit of SEO, though, is that it can keep paying dividends long after the upfront investment is made. While Google makes thousands of algorithm changes per year, most of these changes have a limited effect on search engine result ranking. In some cases, these changes can actually help to promote quality content even more. According to 2021 Hubspot research, 60% of marketers invested in SEO during 2020, a figure which increase to 69% in 2021 and looks to continue to rise.

What’s the downside of SEO?

SEO is a labor-intensive process and it’s easy to be distracted by strategies that don’t work. A business looking at implementing a solid SEO strategy should conduct a thorough SEO review, create a keyword targeting plan, create content, and track results. Every part of this process requires specialized knowledge, resources, and time making in-house SEO services unfeasible for many small Chicago businesses.

PPC and SEO services for Chicago businesses

Neur has been providing quality digital advertising and SEO services to Chicago business owners for years. Contact us today to learn more or shop our online store to find the PPC advertising or SEO service option that’s right for your business and your budget.

Let's Discuss Your Digital Marketing Goals

A strong online presence allows your business to attract more clients, boost lead generation, increase brand awareness and recognition, and save on traditional marketing costs.

For digital marketing, call our team at Neur at (630) 557-6387 or contact us today.