AdWords vs. SEO: What’s the Difference?

AdWords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are commonly agreed upon as two of the most important components of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for most companies, and are two of the most valuable online resources for auto repair shops. It’s important for our customers to understand the similarities and differences between them, and why we recommend each of them to help achieve your business goals.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is an advertising platform that is owned and operated by Google. Business owners use this advertising platform to position their ads on a Google search results page. You can target specific search queries that you want to gain website traffic for, such as “tires” or “auto repair” – keywords associated with your business goals. When a user clicks on your ad, they’re directed to your website for more information. When this happen, the advertiser is charged for the cost of the keyword searched, which is predetermined by Google.

There are a lot of benefits to running a Google AdWords campaign. Results are highly measurable through the AdWords platform. It’s very cost effective in that the advertiser determines how much you’d like to spend on a daily basis. The ads are also highly targeted – you can target your ads by region, device being used, specific times during the day, etc.

How is it different from SEO?

SEO is a marketing strategy that focuses on making your website content relevant to search engines, which enables your website to rank higher on Google’s organic search results for the search terms most important to your business. By achieving a higher ranking on Google, you’re giving yourself a greater advantage for gaining website traffic.

Now that you have a general idea of what AdWords and SEO are, we can discuss how they compare to one another.

1. The most glaring difference between the two is that you pay for website traffic through AdWords, and you don’t through SEO.

2. More often than not, it takes a longer period of time to see results from SEO than with AdWords. You can create campaigns through AdWords that can be turned on and off instantaneously, while SEO takes a lot more time (especially for brand new websites and businesses) to build your authority with Google and earn a top ranking.

3. AdWords can target a plethora of keywords at a time, while SEO needs to focus on a select few for best results.

4. When you turn AdWords on and off, you’re essentially turning your website traffic on and off. With SEO, organic ranking is gained over time, and your ranking will maintain itself long term.

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So, which is the best use of my marketing dollars?

Both! It’s generally recommended that you employ a mixture of AdWords and SEO to maintain a healthy online presence, and ensure complete coverage of your business on the web. As a new business, or a business advertising on the web for the first time, AdWords is your best bet to “turn on” website traffic and get the phone ringing. However, you must make sure you’re using AdWords properly and responsibly in order to control spending and see an ROI on the program.

While AdWords will increase your website traffic quickly, you still need SEO for long term sustainability online. AdWords and SEO are not competitors, but rather two powerful tools that you need to increase your visibility online!

Written by Jessica Lucas

Jessica is the Senior Communications Specialist at Autoshop Solutions. When she’s not engaging in social media, she is out exploring the world (or the nearest beach). Singing and dancing her way through life, Jessica is a lover of traveling, cooking and fashion. She’s quick to jump in the car and drive anywhere and always ready for an adventure!

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