Google Ads vs SEO for B2B Companies: The Pros and Cons – Triad B2B Agency
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Google Ads vs SEO for B2B Companies: The Pros and Cons

Every company hopes to secure the coveted #1 spot in Google. It’s the digital sweet spot that guarantees a steady stream of potential customers keen on exploring your products or services. When it comes to showing up at the top of the search engines, B2B companies have two main options: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In this post, we’ll dive into the practical advantages and disadvantages of both PPC and SEO, giving you a clear picture of when to use each.

But first, some important terminology:

PPC = Pay-Per-Click: a digital ad campaign where the payment structure is to pay for each click an ad nets

CPC = Cost-Per-Click: the dollar amount a company pays for each ad click

SEO = Search Engine Optimization: the process of strategically improving a website in order to rank higher in search engines and bring in more organic traffic

SERPs = Search Engine Results Pages: the list of websites you see after searching a term or question in a search engine

Advantages of Google Ads for B2B Companies

1. Targeted Advertising

With Google Ads, you have a good amount of control over who will see your ads. You can target by keyword, being as broad or specific as you would like. You can add negative keywords to ensure people outside your target don’t see your ads, making it less likely to incur costs from the “wrong” people clicking on the ad. Demographics, location, and ad scheduling can be layered in to further ensure your ads are shown to the right people at the right time.

2. Immediate Results

Once you create your paid ads, you may be at the top of the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) within a day. There is a short review and approval process in which Google ensures that you are complying with their rules, but most B2B companies are unlikely to encounter any issues. If your goal is to show up for a search term for which your website does not yet rank, Google Ads can be a very effective way to speed up the process.

3. Comprehensive Reporting

The Google Ads platform allows you to monitor performance on many levels – from ad group, to ad, to individual keyword. Some of the most helpful information includes click count, click-through rate, cost-per-click, conversion count, conversion rate, cost-per-conversion, and bounce rate. With enough data, you’ll be able to make decisions on which ads and keywords are performing well and should be kept, as well as which are performing poorly and should be tweaked or paused.

Disadvantages of Google Ads

1. Cost

The cost is undoubtedly the largest disadvantage of using Google Ads.  Depending on your industry, the ad competition (and therefore your cost-per-click) can be high. We have seen CPCs range anywhere from $0.50 to $20 for B2B companies. It can be frustrating to pour money into an ad program daily, especially if you are not seeing the results you expected.

2. Requires Monitoring

Google Ads should not be seen as a “set it and forget it” marketing strategy. It requires a close and keen eye, especially at the outset. You need to watch for search queries that do not align with your product or service and add negative keywords accordingly. You will also need to use the click and conversion data to optimize your keywords and ads. While the initial setup of the account can be fairly straightforward, running a Google Ads program does require someone skilled and trained in ad optimization to ensure you are seeing a good return on investment.

3. Ad Blindness

Even if you craft the perfect ad, it may go unnoticed by your target market. We are constantly bombarded by digital advertising, which has given most people the ability to tune out paid ads. Some studies show that up to 80% of people ignore PPC ads and focus on organic listings1. There may still be reason enough to use ads, though. Studies also show that search queries with a buying intent are more likely to lead to a paid ad click. And it is believed that those who do click on an ad are 50% more likely to convert than those who click on an organic listing2. It can be difficult to break through the digital clutter, but with the right targeting and ad copy, it can also be rewarding.

Advantages of SEO for B2B Companies

1. Long-Term Payoff

With Google Ads, your spot in the search results is completely dependent upon your continued payment. But with SEO, every page on your site has the potential to live for free in Google’s search results. A brand new site, or one that is not optimized, may live far down in the rankings where people cannot see it. But once you engage a comprehensive SEO strategy for the pages on your site, they will rise in the rankings, maintaining their spots for months or even years.

2. Cost-Effective

Search Engine Optimization allows your website to live in a prominent place in the SERPs without paying Google for that spot. While there is cost involved in creating and executing an SEO strategy, it is generally a predictable investment, and can lead to many permanent improvements for the website.

Disadvantages of SEO

1. Results are Slow

Search Engine Optimization is not a quick fix. It can take a very long time, often months, to get your website to budge in the rankings. This can feel frustrating, but it is important to remember that SEO is an investment, and it can benefit you for years to come.

2. Requires Someone Trained in SEO

SEO is a skill that takes people years to hone. And SEO is an ever-changing game. Search engine optimizers are constantly learning, testing, and adapting to Google’s changes. For most B2B companies, that run only one website, it is not feasible to have a dedicated SEO expert on staff. Paying a monthly fee to an agency, which may have multiple website developers and SEO personnel on staff, is often the best way to effectively run search engine optimization programs.

There is no denying that online visibility is a huge factor in generating leads for B2B companies. Even if your business model runs on securing deals face-to-face, the initial connection with your prospects often hinges on them discovering your business online.

As you consider the right strategy for your website, the ideas presented in this post should steer you in the right direction, whether it’s through paid ads, organic SEO, or a tactical blend of both. If you would like to discuss this further, we would love to talk with you. Contact us any time to discuss your digital strategy.




By: Callie Beard, Digital Strategist

Triad B2B Agency is a specialized advertising and public relations agency, with services tailored to meet the unique requirements of the B2B marketer. We provide a full range of marketing services, creating solutions that advance your brand while delivering positive support for your sales efforts.