Search engine optimization (SEO) can take a long time to produce positive results. Some of the alternatives to SEO include PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns and social media marketing. These alternatives can definitely produce results quicker, but are they better?

Alternatives to SEO


Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is one way of getting traffic to your website. It is often the one most recommended and heralded by the slick YouTube ads you see with a guy holding a wad of money. This method is no doubt faster than SEO, but you are essentially paying for advertising to get visitors to come to your site. You will have to convert like mad to establish a profitable ratio so that you make more than the cost of the advertising.

PPC has a reputation for being easier than SEO. But PPC campaigns are not set it and forget it endeavors. You will need to invest time ensuring that your campaigns are optimized. Just because a campaign works today doesn’t mean that it will work tomorrow. PPC campaigns must be continuously improved if they are going to offer long-term results. If your campaigns are not optimized effectively, the money invested in the campaign will be wasted. This can be very expensive, especially when you consider that there is a skill required to carry out a successful PPC campaign.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is pervasive in our society. So, it makes sense that one might think it would be a good place to market your business. There are a few problems with this line of thinking, however.

Users of social media are not a buying audience. When you look at all the major social media platforms, with the arguable exception of LinkedIn, you will find that none of them were built for business. People go on social media to have fun and to interact with their friends. So, they are wary of other users who have nothing to offer them but ads or sales pitches.

If you are a well-known brand or have penetrated pop culture, you may get some followers just out of an amusement factor. Once you have followers, you could carry out skillful campaigns of giveaways, contests, and even email marketing that might grow your social media audience. But it is rare to have this level of social media following. Successful social media marketing can be quite expensive and require constant engagement with your followers. ROI with social media marketing is one of the lowest of all online marketing strategies.

Why is SEO Better than the Alternatives?

SEO can take up to a year to drive significant traffic to your website. So, when compared to quicker options like pay-per-click and social media, why would you want to bother with it?

If you look at the platforms above, social media is used by people trying to have a good time and interact with their friends and pay-per-click advertising typically appears in various places throughout the Web, whether on a web page, in an app, or a game we’re playing. However, SEO is optimized to attract those who are using a search engine like Google or Bing. People who are searching in a search engine are looking to solve a problem. In other words, they are trying to find what you have to offer. And if their problem is something that they might be willing to pay money to solve, we are immediately dealing with a buying audience.

SEO is a long-term investment that can take time to pay off. But once we have established ourselves in the search engines as an authority for a certain keyword or topic, this organic influence is much more valuable than the influence we would gain by buying ads or using social media strategies.


SEO gets a bad rap because it is out of sync with today’s penchant for instant gratification. SEO does require a lot of effort, time, and patience. But if you are willing to do the work necessary to make it onto the search engine result pages (SERPs), you will be much better off than if you had stuck with PPC or social media marketing exclusively.