Google AdWords vs. SEO: What’s the Difference?

Google AdWords vs. SEO-

When it comes to SEO and Google AdWords, people often use the terms interchangeably. Although booth SEO and AdWords allow marketers to target certain keyword phrases and drive more sales, they are very different when it comes to how they do online marketing. Read on to learn more about the difference between the two and how you can use a mixture of both to improve your digital marketing strategy.


SEO (Search Engine Optimizing) is the process of moving through content and optimizing it in a way that makes it easier for search engines to find and index and for people to read and love. SEO allows marketers to use keywords to optimize web content and allows search engines to “Read” content, match it to Google user’s queries, and pair interested parties with relevant content. In this way, good SEO produces more organic search results and helps a page rank well in Google’s search indexes.


Like SEO, Google AdWords incorporates keywords, but it’s an entirely different species of a marketing tool. As opposed to SEO, AdWords allows users to target variations around certain keywords and to utilize advertisements placed in the top or right-hand space of the SERPs.  It also allows users of AdWords to specify a search query they want to target, and then to display their ad when searchers type in that query. One of the great benefits of AdWords is that, since AdWords is active and visible as soon as a user builds an ad campaign, it allows users to generate sales and leads quickly. If a Google user clicks on the ad, the person will be taken directly to the marketer’s site and the marketer will pay for each click their advertisement gets.

AdWords vs. SEO

When it comes to which is better – there isn’t a simple answer. Both tools are effective in their own right and they’re both very different. Most marketers use a mixture of SEO and AdWords, which allows marketers to cover all aspects of a business page and ensure that the site is as visible as possible for people who want to find it.  That said, knowing how AdWords and SEO work differently can help you make decisions about which tool to use and when.

Compare and Contrast: AdWords and SEO 


While SEO is an effective way to rank well for organic search terms and target highly searched-for keywords that appear throughout your content, it is more of a long-term game than AdWords and can take longer to get rankings than AdWords. Additionally, if a marketer stops SEO, there is nothing to keep a website’s ranking from decreasing over time. Additionally, while AdWords can be turned on and off instantly, SEO takes an extended effort to make a difference in search rankings. Since AdWords is an effective way to draw traffic and attention instantly, it is a great tool for new products or seasonal products that need high levels of visibility fast. On that same token, there is no pay-per-click charge for SEO and the expenses associated with good SEO may be significantly less than they would be with AdWords, depending upon your marketing budget.


AdWords assures that your company’s ad is being displayed prominently in SERPs. Additionally, since AdWords advertisements appear at the top of a user’s screen, it may be all the user sees on certain devices like smartphones or tablets. This enhanced visibility can go a long way toward earning you more clicks and traffic. SEO, on the other hand, doesn’t do this.

No matter how good your SEO tactics are, SEO ranking is dependent upon a whole host of moving targets, such as Google’s ranking factors and most recent algorithm updates, most of which people don’t even hear about until after they’ve been rolled-out for months. While most of these updates penalize the same things (scraped, duplicate, or poorly written content) and reward the same things (high-quality original content, good keyword usage, great links), it can still be hard to predict what the next big thing in SEO will be and that can make it hard to earn a position in those coveted top 3 spots that earn more than 36% of all clicks. With that said, SEO does allow marketers to optimize for both the quantity and the quality of incoming links and contributes to a website that is overall higher quality and easier to read and enjoy than a site that uses AdWords and AdWords alone.


AdWords and SEO are both important pieces of great website ranking and increased traffic numbers. Essentially, AdWords and SEO are different tools that lead to the same results: traffic, sales, and visits. By using a combination of these two tools, marketers can ensure that their site gets high-quality traffic and appears prominently to people who may be searching for similar services. These tools aside, however, do not forget that content is still king and the best way to ensure great placements is to write high-quality content that readers will love.

To learn more about optimizing your content effectively, contact Bigfoot Media. Bigfoot Media is here for all of your digital marketing needs and would love to help your business create a game-winning strategy.

Call us today for a FREE consultation or shoot us a quick email to learn more. 

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