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What is the Difference Between Google Ads and SEO?

Although both serve similar purposes, these two are completely different. It is true, both channels can help your brand get more online presence and reach potential customers, and both of them can help enhance your overall visibility in search engines. But each of them works differently, it’s like comparing apples to oranges! And instead of having to choose which one to use for your business, both can work together to maximize the online potential of your brand. Let’s talk about the main differences.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s the organic way to get your website to rank in search engines like Google and Yahoo through the use of different techniques, strategies and practices.

What are Google Ads?

This is another marketing solution also known as “Pay Per Click” advertising. It is literally what it sounds like: an ad that shows up after a keyword search in Google.

So, what are the main differences?

1. Search Engines: Google ads, as the name says, can only show up on Google and websites that are owned by the same company. SEO strategies, on the other hand, are more global and work on all search engines including Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

2. Timing: For SEO, it might take a few months to start seeing results, even if you’re working with full force. Patience and vision are key for this kind of strategy. But with Google Ads, you can see results instantly as soon as you start paying.

3. Results: Because of their timing, the results are also different. SEO is more of a long-term strategy which can continue to generate traffic into your website long after a campaign. Google Ads creates instantaneous bursts of traffic, which means it works on a short-term basis and will stop working as soon as you stop paying.

4. ROI: With Google Ads, every time a user clicks on your ad, you pay a particular amount. But SEO targets organic traffic, which means that the user is already looking for a specific product or service.

In a few words, SEO is more about consistency, maintenance, and improvement which helps you create a loyal audience and will bring you long-term results, while with Google Ads, you pay a specific amount per click, which will immediately impact your numbers but will only last for as long as you continue to pay. You can see Google Ads as an optional, but valuable part of your SEO strategy. For example, you can invest in SEO to help boost your organic ranking and bring overall improvement on your site, and use Google Ads to help you boost traffic instantly to get the word out.

However, we know that everyone’s budget is different, and if yours does not allow you to use both for now, what’s your best option right now?

You know your business better than we do, so the answer is completely up to you. However, we see SEO as a win-win, not only because of the long term results but also because you will also learn a lot in the process! Because, as we mentioned, SEO requires constant work and improvement, you will learn great techniques and strategies that will stay with you for life and will benefit your brand, such as creating good content, writing blogs, and just understanding how search engines work overall. It requires you to constantly educate yourself and keep up to date with the ever-changing trends that dominate the online world. Instead of just putting down your money and sitting around waiting for results, you will actively acquire useful knowledge and practices.

Understanding the differences between SEO and Google Ads, and the benefits each one offers is extremely important for every business owner so they can use them either separately or together to their advantage.

SEO is one of the main services we offer here at Norris Design, so we can help you get started! Call us today for a free consultation on how to craft a personalized SEO strategy that will help your business succeed in the long term!


If you wish to learn more, check out our blogs What is On-Page SEO? and What is Off-Page SEO? They provide a lot of useful information!

Kimberly Norris | |


Marketing Blog, Graphic Design, Branding, Advertising Rogers, AR, Marketing Rogers, AR, Branding Rogers, AR, Brand Strategy, Brand Consulting

A Note From the Author

As a business owner, brand strategist, and graphic designer I run in to questions and ideas every day.

As the owner of Norris Design, I started out wanting to solely be a designer, but education changed the way I thought, the way I viewed business and the way I viewed my role in helping other's businesses.  

Graphic design will always be my original love, but as I grew in knowledge, I realized the small view of design for the sake of something beautiful was such a disservice to businesses.

Businesses needed much more than just graphic design.  They needed to see the bigger picture of their businesses from the perspective of a designer.  Once I realized that branding had a huge role in large businesses that see amazing success but very few small businesses even think about branding or brand strategy, I realized that if I could offer a brand strategy view as a consultant rather than just an order taker graphic designer, I could actually move the needle in their businesses.

This is the beginning of where I started to fall in love with business, marketing, branding, brand strategy, consulting and brand building. 

It all started with education after college.

I obsessively read articles, listened to podcasts, watched videos, read books, and took classes.  This was to fulfill this desire to be more involved in the businesses side of design rather than just design alone.

So, this is why I wright. I appreciate other people's perspective and I hope that one day, mine can help someone else.

Kimberly Norris

Brand Strategy

We create a results-based brand strategy for all aspects of your company to foster customer trust and build brand acknowledgment over time.

Logo/Brand Design

Creating brand identities is our passion. We believe it takes insight into your business, your customers, and your hopes for your business to build the best logo possible. And we’re willing to take the time to do this.

Brand Consultation

We’re happy to meet with you on a consulting basis about your brand strategy. As your Brand Consultant, I’ll periodically check-in after the initial strategy session, on a continual basis, to make any adjustments or revisions to keep your brand and messaging on track. 

Print Marketing

Think of us as your one-stop-shop for printed marketing materials. We create thoughtful designs and take care of the printing for you. This can save you time and money. Our printing services include business cards, brochures, flyers, and more.

Website Design

Your website is crucial to your business, We design custom websites that are responsive to all platforms, are easy to navigate, and present your company professionally and clearly.

Search Engine Optimization

We offer affordable SEO that actually gets results.  This service includes on-page and off page SEO.  We offer local, regional, and national SEO Services with not long-term contracts.

Our Services

Let's talk!

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