SEO vs. PPC | SEO ROI Calculator

We show you the difference in SEO vs. PPC with our SEO ROI Calculator. Find out how much more you can get from investing in organic search optimisation over PPC 

SEO vs. PPC SEO ROI Calculator


Someone’s O has got to go. Yes it’s SEO vs. PPC and we are going to show you with our SEO ROI Calculator, quite what can happen when you allocate your pay per click budget into search engine optimisation services.

For many smaller businesses, it’s important to gauge where you will get most bang for your buck. While both methods are useful parts of a marketing plan, sometimes, one may need a bit more focus. The lure of ads being an immediate delivery of sales, means many forget about the value that comes from optimising for organic search.

To do this SEO vs. PPC challenge, we have put together an SEO ROI calculator but first let’s cover a few of the basic questions.


PPC means pay per click. Your ads, wherever you run them, if you are paying to get hits on your website, then you are using pay per click. It’s a broad term that covers pay per impression too, but at the end of the day, you are still paying to get clicks.
That’s what is PPC.

Briefly it is the action of improving your website, page performance, PR and content to make it tick a few more ranking factor boxes with search engines. You can do SEO for more than just Google, it’s used for Youtube videos, social media and any platform that has a search box. It is about giving yourself more chances to be found.

If we are looking at SEO vs. PPC in the lens of how long does it take to get traffic from paid ads, well in reality it’s almost immediate. SEO can yield some quick wins, but it’s dependent on a lot more factors relating to where you are currently. You may have a fast page load and some great content, but the words you’re targeting could do with a simple change.

Or you could have everything else great but an exceptionally slow website. Fix that and the SEO tap may well turn straight on.

Ultimately a successful PPC ads campaign is more than just traffic, it’s about what that traffic then does. If the traffic doesn’t lead to sales or leads, it was a wasted effort.

Some simple on-page changes to the text, can see a page appear in the results within weeks, while other work such as building high quality backlinks can take several months, even half a year to bear real fruit.

One classic mistake that many sites make, is the duplication of keywords across their site. While there is nothing wrong with using phrases more than once, if you are writing in depth about a topic multiple times in different locations on the site, you can make it harder for search engines to know which page to best rank. This results in you getting an underwhelming position. 

A recent client of ours with 80-100,000 organic traffic a month found merging two pages into one better page, saw their ranking position for a 12000 volume a month keyword, go from Page 7 to page 1 in about 2 weeks. Now this is the exception but it highlights that small changes can have profound impacts. How much would you value that advice that now produces close to 10,000 extra visits to their site a year? How much would paid ads cost to get the same result?

Ultimately if your measure of success is simply clicks to your site and fast, then in the SEO vs. PPC battle, paid ads will of course come out on top.

Of course though, you can’t pay your bills with just clicks and that’s why an SEO strategy focused on a great user experience, fast page load, and rich content helps even your paid ads convert more too.

One of the key differences when judging SEO vs. PPC is the efficiency of the pound or dollar you spend. With paid ads, what you pay is what you get. While the SEO ROI is often a little less clear. For every one great ranking blog post that brings traffic, it may be part of 8, where 7 don’t do much if anything. 

That might seem like a waste of money, but part of what search engine’s are looking for is the depth of content on a site. If you run a general topic website and contain an ‘as good’ blog post on how to fix a car engine, while I run an equivalent strength site on cars; the chances are, I have much more content on the site about car engines. This helps Google for example determine that my site is likely to be more relevant. So while the other posts may get no traffic, providing the pages are grouped together, they are still performing a silent job.

It’s important to understand this aspect as you determine SEO vs. PPC and accept that some posts won’t traffic well, but they may still need to be topics you have to cover to show a site’s general relevance. On the flipside, these pages may be seen after and help the buying process. Once you have paid for your written content it doesn’t need to be paid for again. So a blog post written 3 years ago, can still continue to yield organic traffic. 

Paid ads bring immediate traffic and if the page they land on is friendly, clear and effectively designed, can lead to quick sales. 

That’s a great benefit of PPC. Organic markteting takes a longer term approach to yield results

The ROI SEO wise can often seem a little less clear and it’s sometimes something that can only be mapped out after the work. This puts some people off and that’s understandable. As an example on one of our own sites, a blog post that cost less than £100 to put together, has brought us an average of 20 clicks a day for the last 2 years. That’s 7500 organic visitors, for a cost of around 2 pence per click. 

Finding that cost per click for targeted traffic using Google Ads just isn’t likely. So while we paid for content that may or may not have yielded this, comparing SEO vs. PPC on ROI and it’s clear a good piece of organic content does better than PPC.

If you produce content on your site that aims to do more than simply rank, but helps shoppers or visitors, at least if you don’t get traffic, you still get value from it too. This makes for a twin benefit of SEO work. See how powerful it can be with our SEO ROI calculator


What does SEO cover?

When looking at SEO vs. PPC you should know that a full SEO plan includes these key areas.

User Experience

What is your site like for those who use it?


From page load speed to good navigation

On-Page SEO

Competitor analysis and keyword research

Off-Page | PR

What quantity, quality sites link to you?

Using Our SEO ROI Calculator

Our SEO ROI calculator comes in two forms. First you can see the impact of SEO vs. PPC by inputting what you currently spend on ads each month, or are considering doing. Local businesses have a higher conversion rate over e-commerce and so it’s important to select which you describe yourself as. 

It’s important to note these are simply averages based on the broad data out there. A sale to one company may be worth far more to another, but in general terms when running an SEO vs. PPC SEO ROI calculator tool for guidance, these numbers will highlight the realities.

ROI of SEO with our 1-3 Year Calculator

See what happens with your ROI of SEO when you commit to a monthly budget for 1 year. The 3rd year result suggests no further investment past that first year, but still shows benefit.

If you have any questions on our SEO vs. PPC or SEO ROI calculator tools, drop us a message on the button below.

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