SEO vs Google Adwords Advantages Disadvantages

SEO vs Google Adwords – Advantages and Disadvantages

Authors need websites for digital marketing. There, I said it. And once you have an author website, you will obviously want that gorgeous piece of (internet) real estate to bring your readers into your digital space. Here’s the reality when it comes to search results: Most people do not even bother going to the second page of search results. You want to actively get your website to rank high on search results pages. This is where you will be using tools such as SEO and Google Adwords. These two are not the same, but they do perform the same function. (And you’ll see the name “Google” in both of them. A LOT.) The major difference between SEO and Google Adwords can be summed up as…

Paid vs Organic Traffic

Glossary: “Traffic” here means visitors to your website. “Organic” means that you don’t pay to attract those visitors, and “paid” is the exact opposite.

Let’s break this process down a little further and explore SEO, Google Adwords, and their unique advantages and disadvantages.

The Definition Of SEO

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation. With SEO, you make your website smooth and sleek so that search engines can better promote it. This is especially true for Google. It wants their users to have the best customer experience that they can possibly offer. This means that they only want to promote websites that accurately and readily give answers to search queries. 

In short, SEO is how you tell Google that you can deliver on your end of the bargain. 

The bargain being that the end user is happy with what they found, and not frustrated with your website. Think “user-friendly.” 

How this looks in real-life:

  • Fast loading time. Nothing frustrates a website visitor more than endlessly waiting for a page to load.
  • Well-written content. I don’t know about you, but I get a little upset at typos and grammar problems on a website. We’re all human, and a few errors here and there are fine, but everywhere on a website?! It tells the visitor that you couldn’t care less about quality.
  • Value. This is the big one. Google brings a query to YOUR website, and it expects you to deliver on value. This means that the end user should get what they want out of the transaction. If you have an author website, chances are that your website will need to deliver on info about your books – current and upcoming – and who you are as the writer. (Fans can get very excited about these facts.)

Advantages Specific To SEO

  • According to Hubspot, “organic SEO is about 5.66 times better than paid search ads.” 
  • You show your website visitor that you value quality in everything that you do. This will let readers know that your books will also be of that same, schweet quality.
  • Technically, SEO is the free route. There is a learning curve, however, and you essentially pay with your time. You can hire someone to do the SEO for you, but if you are really strapped for cash, then DIY SEO is your option to get website visitors. (Hint: Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that makes SEO much easier.)

Disadvantages Of SEO

  • This is not a quick-fix marketing tool. You will not see results overnight. Not even in a week. Real results could take around six months to a year.
  • Setting up can take some amount of trial and error to start with. If you’re using the Yoast plugin and create a post, you might end up seeing a lot of red frowny faces in the Yoast panel. You could end up spending hours fiddling with your words until you achieve happy, green faces from Yoast. Of course, you will get faster with time. But that learning curve can be rather steep. (Not to deter you, of course! It’s well worth the time and effort.)
  • You will need to be incredibly niche. Trying to cater for everyone will hinder your SEO efforts. I’d highly recommend using SEO as a part of your digital marketing plan, not the only part. You will need to do keyword research, understand your audience, know what they will search online, and all of this is achieved with a digital marketing plan. Check out my blog post on coming up with your own
  • Google is in control here. If they make changes to their algorithm, you could be knocked off your perch. Chances are that they will always keep the end-user in mind, so the only advice I have here is to keep your website performing its best.

The Definition Of Google Adwords

This is where things get interesting. Google is a supermassive giant of industry that rakes in the dollars by the billions simply because they control the information market. According to this article by SEO Tribunal, Google owns “72.4% of the desktop and 91.82% of the mobile search engine market share.” 

This is where they make all of that money: Ads. Their ad platform is invaluable to marketers and this is due to their search engine market share. So then… what do these ads look like? Type in your Google bar: crochet baby blanket price (or whatever product you want to search.) See those image results at the top with “sponsored” on the top right? Those are paid-for by marketers. Ads like these will be clearly marked to protect the consumer, so have fun spotting the marketers paying for their ads. 

Advantages Of Google Adwords

  • Google Ads are the highest-ranked results on the very first page of Google. This is the place to be seen!
  • Where SEO is slower, Google Adwords is the faster way to get visitors to your website.
  • Follow your website visitors all over the internet. Google Ads are pretty ubiquitous, so you can remain front-of-mind and increase your brand awareness without people actually searching for you.
  • Target very specific people with your very clear message. You specify the demographics of the people you want to reach.

Disadvantages Of Google Adwords 

  • As said in the “Advantages of SEO” section, people click more frequently on organic search results. That being said, this Hubspot article tells us that “four times as many people are likely to click on a paid search ad on Google (63%) than on any other search engine — Amazon (15%), YouTube (9%), and Bing (6%).” 
  • Someone clicks on your ad and visits your website? Fantastic! But you do pay for that privilege with real money. 
  • Trial and error can be costly. If someone clicks on your ad, but your website doesn’t deliver on what you and your visitors want out of the transaction (the visitor buying your books and becoming a fan) then you’ve thrown money down the drain. This is again where a digital marketing plan is critical for your success.


SEO: free, but time-consuming.

Google Adwords: Paid for, but with faster results.

Would you believe that I haven’t even scratched the surface of SEO and Google Adwords with this article yet? I’ve been a content writer for a digital marketing company since 2016, and I’m highly aware that I’ve got a lot to learn myself. If there’s something specific that you’d love to learn about either SEO or Google Adwords, please let me know in the comments below. 

Special thanks to one of my NaNoWriMo friends for asking more info on this topic.

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