PPC or SEO: Whats Best For Singapore Websites?


Torn between PPC and SEO? Two parts of the same coin – paying for search engine visibility or going the organic way?

It’s one goal (improving your online visibility), two different paths (the dilemma of choosing between paying for it, or toiling hard to get rewarded for it ).

Try listening to the uninitiated, and they’ll be quick to advise you to ditch SEO in favour of PPC, after rationalising how SEO is no longer tenable. What a perfect way to be right and wrong at the same time.

Before we delve further into the topic, we’d like to remind you that both PPC and SEO work. Done correctly, and they’ll both help to improve your online visibility and drive an insane amount of traffic to your website.


What’s PPC, and why does it Work?

PPC stands for pay per click, and it’s a marketing model where advertisers pay search engines every time someone clicks on their ad. With this model, you’re only charged when users interact with your search engine listing, and not charged a penny when they see it and hop past it without taking any action.

With this method, advertisers bid on a list of search terms relevant to the market they’re targeting. Depending on their bid and a few other factors, search engines will then rank these links at the top of their result pages.

Paid links bear the “ad” marker before them, which serves to differentiate them from organic ones.

The amount you pay to secure the topmost spot in the results pages through PPC may vary depending on your search volume and the bid placed by your competitors.

For organisations whose domain authority isn’t good enough to organically rank it on search engines, they may be required to turn to PPC to stay competitive in their market and maintain their place in front of the market they’re targeting. This is, however, an expensive venture, considering you have to outbid all the people you’re competing with to maintain the top position.

Why PPC Works

  • On average, brands can make about $3 for every $1.60 they spend on Google Ads.
  • PPC improves your ranks almost immediately. Unlike SEO, you don’t have to wait for (I don’t know how long) for your effort to pay off. With PPC results are almost immediate.
  • The traffic you get through PPC will be highly targeted. This allows you to reach a very specific segment of consumers that you’re sure has an interest in your offering.
  • It’s easy to increase conversion. All you have to do is target highly commercial keywords where you’re running a buyer-oriented campaign.
  • PPC allows you to scale up quickly. You have the option to bid higher and propel your position a notch higher in the SERPs.

What’s SEO and Why Does it Work?

SEO refers to the process of increasing your search engine visibility organically. It refers to the process of increasing your chances of being found when users search for things that relate to your products and services online.

Building your organic search engine presence is the cornerstone of your online success. By increasing your rank in the SERPs, that means you’d have improved two things – your online visibility and domain authority.

To work on SEO, you have to begin by building up your site’s content and optimising relevant keywords to rank for them. That includes working on the three different facets of SEO – technical SEO, on-site SEO, and Off-Site SEO.

And then there’s the issue of local SEO, which demands that you publish your NAP (Your Name, address, and Telephone Number).

The more Google and other search engines perceive your site to be more relevant with regards to what a particular user queried with them, the more they’ll be compelled to push your link up on the keyword’s result page.

Why SEO Works

  • SEO works because it’s what you use to build your online credibility and establish your authority.
  • SEO also helps with increasing brand awareness.
  • SEO is good for driving sustainable traffic.
  • 82% of marketers have reported to have realised the benefits of SEO. After working on it, they were able to rank their sites, and their profit margins improved significantly.
  • SEO is responsible for more than 25% of the organic traffic that you’re likely to get online.
  • SEO could earn you 15 times as many clicks as those you get from PPC.

SEO Vs. PPC Statistics

  • 46% of all the clicks that happen on search engines go to the top 3 paid advertising slots in the SERPs. According to the latest traffic report from Power Traffick, the top three links that feature atop search engine result pages capture close to half of the traffic that you’re likely to get.

Meaning, for your PPC method to be more effective, you have to make sure you’re buying space to be among the top 3 reserved spots. Failure to do this will lead to you losing a tremendous chunk of clicks to the competitors that outbid you.

  • Businesses that invest in PPC make about S$4.07 for every S$ 2.17 they spend on their AdWords Campaign. This makes PPC a relatively reasonable way to experiment with, adjust your campaign money where your ad spend isn’t doing you any justice.
  • About 615 million users have been reported to use AdBlock. While AdBlock help to enhance the lives of consumers and let them carry out their online operations uninterrupted. To a marketer, that could mean a staggering number of potential customers will never see your ads. These statistical facts get even scary when you consider the fact that the number of people using AdBlocker has been increasing at the rate of 15% to 30% over the last four years.
  • PPC is one of the most effective ways to boost brand awareness. Stats indicate that it can build brand awareness by a cool 80%, notwithstanding the popularity of AdBlocker. Even with users not clicking on your link, the fact that it’s up there listed with other brands shows that more and more people will eventually get to know about your business.
  • Google updates only affect SEO, not PPC. This is one fact that’s often ignored in the search engine marketing community.

This is not a stat, but it’s a huge benefit knowing your PPC campaign is immune to Google’s algorithmic updates.

With SEO, you have to keep on adjusting your campaign strategy with every Google update that occurs. For PPC, you don’t have to adjust anything in the face of a Google update.

  • 63% of users have no problem clicking on AdWords. These are some really interesting stats when you consider the fact that Click-Through Rate is what drives both PPC and SEO goals. When someone clicks through your links, that means they’re checking you out and contemplating on whether or not to buy.
  • 75% of online users admit ads make things a lot easier to find. It saves them the trouble of having to open so many pages to find what they’re looking for. To a marketer, PPC gives you a competitive edge over your rivals by making your site visible to potential users, not your rival’s.

However, for a user, that means they’ll have an easy time connecting to a site they want – a win-win situation for both the user and marketer.


  • About 80% of online users are averse to PPC ads. They ignore them in favour of their organic counterparts.

The same stat also goes on to point out that about 70% of all the clicks that happen in the search engine result pages are organic.

  • Search engines are the leading drivers of organic traffic. They stand second to none, including social media, which comes second.
  • 30% of all the traffic that businesses get online, as well as 20% of all the revenue that they generate, comes from SEO. SEO is also one of the few online marketing strategies whose ROI accumulates over time to increase your online visibility and establish you as an authority figure.

Once your SEO starts to peak up, it’s an upward trajectory provided you never gave in to black hat SEO strategies.

Also ensures that people can view your site a couple of times before they’re able to make up their mind and consider going through with a purchase. In other words, it’s possible to take your users through a sales funnel.

  • 2 of user recognise paid links and skip them without giving it a second thought. However, for the majority of the users, they can’t even differentiate between a paid link and organic one.

Half of the search can’t correctly tell if a link is paid for or ranked organically, let alone understand the difference between the two.

However, despite all this, consumers naturally prefer organic links. They can instinctively sense the commercial intent in a paid link and opt to skip it.

  • 88% of all searches that happen via mobile device locally in Singapore either make a point to visit the physical store or call within 24 hours. Local SEO is the way to go if you’re looking for a way to drive sales with utmost surety.

It turns out; local searches have increased by a cool 900% over the last two years. All you have to do is optimise your content for the local audience, and you’re in for remarkable results.

  • You have even more reason to go ham on SEO. Stats reveal that 1 out of 10 blogs that you’re likely to come across online are compounding on it. They’re strongly investing in their search results, preparing their sites for long term success.

Their traffic is likely to increase over time, as they continue aggregating the number of visitors that their site attracts. Historically, content sits at the centre of SEO and a solid customer acquisition strategy.

  • Overall, SEO is thought to be about 5.66 times better than PPC. That’s what the majority of marketers at least think.

There you have it – all the statistical facts surrounding PPC and SEO. What you choose after that depends on your mission, budget, and business needs. Often, organisations choose to invest in both as they try to weigh on the strategy that works for them better or puts them in a proper position to grow or scale up their businesses.

Pros and Cons of SEO and PPC

Now that you know all the interesting stat findings surrounding SEO and PPC, how about we look at the strengths and weaknesses of each? Let’s find out what makes SEO a better choice than PPC, and vice versa.

Advantages of SEO

SEO is the broadest segment of search marketing. It’s a long-term marketing strategy, whose results are never going to show up until later on (mostly after 6 to 12 months).

SEO is like growing crops. You plant a seed and then sit down for the results to show up in the future. In the meantime, you have to keep on weeding and applying fertilisers and pesticides on them to ensure they grow in good shape and that they’re not affected by any natural calamity.

How much you gain from all that also depends on the weather conditions. You can’t predict if it’s going to rain – save for the few that have invested in irrigation schemes.

It’s the same story with SEO. You have your digital land to plough and grow seeds in the form of optimised content. You’re growing now, but you have to wait far into the future for yields.

In between, there’s Google updates and competitors to watch, each of which will be, in one way or another, affecting the results you get.

As you read this, keep in mind that it takes a whole lot more than setting up WordPress and churning out quality to win it big with SEO. Other variables do come into play, more so where you’re concerned about speeding up the whole process.

  • It’s free: It’s possible to rank your site at absolutely zero cost still. Just find a way to write your own content and learn to take advantage of Google Analytics and a series of other available free SEO tools, and you’re good to go.
  • Gradual Learning Curve: Running an effective SEO campaign is a skill that you have to learn and perfect. But that doesn’t mean that there’s absolutely nothing that you can do to improve your SEO score even if you’re completely green on matters of SEO and all the elements involved.

You can start by just writing content and optimising your site on the keywords suggested by Google as you gradually improve by studying and learning the intricacies of running an even more effective SEO campaign.

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  • The Best ROI You’ll Ever Find: Whether you’re paying for it or doing everything yourself, SEO has the best returns you’ll ever find. This is especially true with local SEO, where the competition is a bit harsh. With a good strategy, your competitors won’t even realise the cards you’re pulling under the table until it’s already late. And when they finally notice the game you pulled, all they’ll be doing is playing catch up, with only one room left – and that’s to play second after you.

You can fool your competitors with PPC by making it seems like that’s all you’re doing when there’s more to your game plan than they can allow themselves to see.

  • Long term results: With SEO, the results you get will be lasting you for years. You only drop when your competitors outdo you or when your site falls victim to a Google update. Otherwise, you’ll be reaping the benefits of your SEO work for years.

Plus, you have the option of updating your content constantly to maintain your spot. Make it a habit to revisit the posts you published earlier on and edit them, polishing where necessary and making sure that they’re still relevant, and there’ll be no way you’ll be losing your search engine ranks unless something really catastrophic happens.

It’s also important that you never stop sharing your content. Share your content around and make sure you’re getting enough quality backlinks, and there’ll be nothing left to worry about your organic search engine ranks.

Good for Improving brand Awareness: The more your site links appear in the SERPs the more people get to know about your business.

Come to look at it; customers are always searching for something. As a marketer, it’s your job to wear their mind and use SEO to position yourself everywhere search engines land them. Online customers depend on search engines for reviews, guides, and all the relevant information they’re interested in on a product or service.

It’s through SEO that you’re able to position yourself as an authority voice or their main source of information.

The trick is simple, try to cover as much content as it’s humanly possible, and search engines will respond by making sure your site is exposed to as many eyeballs as possible. In so doing, many people get to learn about your brand and to respect you even more.

More Control Over What You Can Rank for: There’s no limit as to what you can rank for. For all we know, it’s possible to rank for virtually everything.

Things get a little different for Google Ads. Sending your site visitors to a wrong page could land you in trouble and even get your account revoked. Things are however not the same with SEO, as such restrictions are not rife.

The Longevity of Organic Traffic

The best thing about organic traffic is that it is consistent as long as you rank high in search results. With paid traffic, the numbers drop when you stop paying the money. This is one of the primary reasons why most marketers prefer starting an SEO campaign in Singapore over investing in paid search.


Another advantage of SEO over PPC is cost-effectiveness. Both cost money, but SEO only requires an in initial investment while PPC needs continual investment. After a year or so, you do not need to pump money to fund your Singapore SEO, while the same cannot be said for PPC.

SEO Cons

  • Results Don’t Show up Immediately: With SEO, you have to wait for months before the results show. It’s a long-term marketing strategy that’s going to work for you 6 to 12 months later.

If you’re looking for something whose results are going to show up the next minute, then perhaps you should consider investing in PPC instead.

Postponing SEO means you have to wait for another 6 to 12 months to hear the same story again.

  • SEO is Pretty Hard to Master: There’s more to learn about SEO than you can afford to absorb in a few sittings. If anything, you have thousands of materials and books to digest, and they’re scattered all over – with some even contradicting themselves. It’s a long process that’s going to take you months, sometimes years, to attain proficiency.

At some point, you may be required to take a dive into the world of coding and master basic programming skills – particularly HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. You need to learn all this to understand the technical aspect of SEO, which also demands that you study a great deal about UX/UI, and learn how to align them with your SEO goals.

And it doesn’t just end there because you have various content management systems to study and familiarise yourself with. Next, you want to dig into the various SEO plugins, starting with Yoast, Ahref, Google Analytics, and dozens of other plugins that further steepen the learning curve.

Mind you, everything we’ve mentioned doesn’t cover half of the list of things that you’re supposed to learn to attain expert status. You’ve yet to master sitemaps, redirects, indexing, URLs, and multiple language issues that may affect your overall SEO performance as time goes.

How Much Content Syndication Affects SEO

It’s a steep learning curve that’s going to take you years to perfect, sometimes requiring you to combine the effort of other people to make your campaign a successful one.

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And lastly, there’s the issue of writing itself. Regardless of how skilled you’re at handling the technical aspect of SEO, there isn’t much to gain from it if your writing skills aren’t perfect enough.

Hard to Scale: SEO is a lot of work. If you’re operating as a one-person army, just remember you can only do so much in 24 hours. How many posts can you churn in one day? Do you have the time to analyse your campaign, spy on your competitors, go through your previous posts and find out if they’re still generating any SEO juice, or if they could do with some minor polishing?

To scale means getting help, which may prove to be costly. To effectively compete with the bigwigs in the industry, then you must bring different talents on board, and that’s where PPC beats it in another round.

High Levels of Uncertainties: With SEO, you can never be sure about anything. For a start, you have the capricious, almost unpredictable search engine algorithms to deal with.

Nothing you do comes with a full-proof guarantee – and that’s at best. If lightning strikes at your door, don’t be surprised when all your online marketing effort come dwindling when Google slaps you with a penalty you didn’t even know affected you.

Less Buyer Oriented: Another thing with SEO is that it’s not focused on getting you sales but establishing you as an authority. In most cases, sales are treated as an afterthought. Also, most of the users you attract most of the time check your site with no intention to buy.

This means you have to figure out other ways to reel them in, and continue nurturing their interest until it’s warm enough to make them consider taking action.

Hard, almost Impossible to A/B Test: You have total control over the content you create, but there isn’t a direct way to test the content you produce. Plus, Google has some strong policies against duplicate content that you might want to look into.

You can use canonical tags to fix this, but they do come with their share of risks that make them quite unsafe to use.

You may be tempted to think that switching a page and reverting it is going to work in your favour. But what you’re forgetting is any attempt to switch a page puts you at risk of either increasing or decreasing your rank in the SERPs.

And believe me, this is the last risk you’d want to take after you’ve succeeded in pushing your link a few steps up – because you just never know how far down search engines will be throwing you this time around.

Summary of Disadvantages of SEO

Here are some of the reasons that discourage marketers from implementing SEO in Singapore.

It takes Time

According to Ahrefs, only a paltry 5.7% of websites rank in the top 10 for a specific keyword within the first year of publishing. If you want to become an instant hit, you should not rely on an SEO campaign in Singapore.

It Requires Unique and Authoritative Content

You have to be an expert to perform rank high on search results. The problem with this is that hiring experts can be too costly for startups and SMEs with a limited budget.








You can run it for ‘free’



Results take long to show



Gradual Learning Curve



Not easy to master/Steep Learning Curve



Good ROI (the best one in fact)



Hard to Scale (too costly to scale)



Long-term results



Marred with uncertainties



Helps with brand awareness



Less buy-oriented (You have to integrate it with another marketing strategy to grow your customers’ interest and nurture their buying intent



Give you more control over the content you create (no rife with restrictions that prevent you from promoting a certain type of content or products.



Hard to A/B Test



When Should you Choose SEO?

Unless you have reasons to hide from search engines – to put it quite simply, SEO is for everyone. It’s a marketing strategy that you’d want to start as soon as possible since its results take time to show.

More accurately, SEO is something you begin working on even before you think of setting up a website. It starts with the idea, the UX, the UI, the development process, all the way to optimisation process – everything you do must align with your SEO goals if you want your effort to pay big.

Advantages of PPC

I like to think of PPC as a combination of regular advertising and SEO. It’s advertising because you’re paying for it and because it’s on so many levels structured as an ad. And it is SEO because a keyword search drives it, with an aim of securing a prime spot in the SERPs.

It’s even more than an ad when you consider that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Meaning you get to enjoy the free display in the SERPs in the meantime – until that time when an online user will click through the link to check your site out.

Results are Instant: With PPC, you don’t have to wait for results. After you’re done setting up your site, you can open a separate tab and try running a search query using the keywords you used. Your ad should be up there, depending on your bid amount.

It’s common sense here. The stiffer the competition, the higher your bid amount. Things aren’t that black and white though. Other factors do come in play – like the quality of your content and the titles you choose.

Easier to Master: Compared to SEO, PPC is a lot easier to master. That’s not to say that you can master it in a day or two, but compared to SEO, its learning curve isn’t that steep.

There are a lot of things to learn and experiment with along the way. But unlike SEO, you’ll be burning a lot of money in the process of learning.

But once you succeed in setting your campaign right and optimising it for a couple of months, you’re good to go. You also have the option of reaching out to Google’s support team for support just in case you’re stuck, a luxury you can’t enjoy with SEO.

It’s also a lot easier to come by a freelancer or agency that can execute a solid PPC campaign than finding one that can implement an effective SEO campaign.

Easy to Scale-up: Scaling up with PPC is easy. Just outbid your competitors, and you’ll be up a few places, and continue doing so to keep moving up.

Another way you can scale up in PPC is by targeting more keywords. This will allow your site to rank on so many relevant keywords, giving you an edge on almost every search term that your users query into the search bar.

No Uncertainty: With PPC, you don’t have to lose your sleep over Google updates. If Google makes updates that that will affect your PPC campaign, then rest assured they won’t make it a secret. They’ll be upfront with it. Plus, you only need 5 to 10 minutes to reset everything up and getting them running again. Plus, you have Google itself to turn to just in case things don’t seem right with you.

Buyer Oriented: PPC ads are created with commercial intent. Those who click on your ads don’t necessarily have to be customers, but these ads do register high conversion rates most of the time.

Compared to Facebook ads and SEO, PPC ads have a much higher conversion rate, considering they mostly tend to attract buyers with a higher buying intent.

Easy A/B Testing: PPC makes it a whole lot easier for you to A/B Test your campaign. Just set two ads and let them run simultaneously. Whichever ad ends with the most CTR, that’s the ad you should running.








Results are fast



You for each click you get



Relatively easier to master



Steep learning Curve (but less steeper compared to SEO)



Easy to Scale



Lower ROI (Better for a short-term strategy)



No uncertainty



Growth is tied to the budget have



Buyer oriented



Less control over your content



East to A/B Test



Restrictions on what you can promote



As you can see, you need both PPC and SEO to market your products and services effectively. You need SEO for long term results and PPC for the keywords you wish to rank almost immediately. PPC is also a good marketing strategy if your site is relatively new and you’re, therefore, still in the process of optimising it.

Suffice it to say that you need to learn to mix them to get the best results.

SEO And SEM: Which Should The Singapore Marketer Choose?

There are many Singapore business owners who consider SEO and SEM to be almost identical. And to be fair, they do achieve a lot of the same goals. However, what many don’t realize is that each requires vastly different actions and incorporates different marketing elements.

So, the real question is, what’s the difference between the two? And more importantly, how do they relate to each other? If you own a Singapore business and would like to get a better grasp on each of these concepts, then stick around. We’ll discuss and discover the role that both SEO and SEM play today digital marketing today.

SEO Overview

Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, is a fundamental part of an online marketing strategy. No matter what area you specialize in, you need to know the basics of SEO. When discussing SEO, most marketers tend to refer mainly to Google, and with good reason.

While other search engines have 7% of the global search traffic, Google has 79% of it. According to Internet Live Stats, there are currently well over 66,000 searches per second on Google every day. Sure, Bing and Yahoo still matter, but when it comes to the numbers, Google’s policies, opinions, and views are the most important to this form of marketing. This is especially the case when it comes to SEO.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO refers to the process of search engines “crawling” your content to figure out how effectively it will be able to attract website traffic. There are a number of things that search engines will assess about your website. This list of factors includes tags, keywords, and link titles.

Crawlers want to know the quality of your content. They tend to favour websites that offer valuable content because this signals that you offer services and products that are legitimate. They can often determine the quality of your content based on how many other sites link to it as well as the combination of keywords that you use.

Crawlers want to know the quality of your user experience. They tend to favour websites that offer a seamless experience for visitors. They can often determine if you offer a great user experienced based on how fast your site is, how easy it is to navigate, and how easily customers can make a purchase.

Crawlers also want to know the quality of your link patterns. They tend to favour websites that have authoritative websites linking to them. They can determine the quality of your link patterns by examining the sites that your links are coming from.

When you take the time to learn the basics of SEO, anyone can use it as apart of their campaign. In fact, if you have the technical knowledge, then you’re bound to get more traffic. However, it does take time to see results from SEO. This is why a lot Singapore businesses choose to hire an SEO expert. They are the most experienced at generating sales and conversions.

SEM Overview

Search Engine Marketing, better known as SEM, is a term that describes various kinds of paid search advertising. SEM usually results in a Google ad and, in the best cases, is placed at the top of the search results. This process requires special knowledge of keyword placement.

Those who use SEM-based advertising create targeted ad campaigns, write copy using carefully selected keywords, ensure that advertising falls within the designated budget, and apply KPIs, or key performance indicators, such as cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through-rates (CTR), to advertising activities. The best and most profitable ads are well-targeted.

One of the benefits of SEM is that it helps with brand recognition because you get a lot of visibility at the top of the search results. It’s also an excellent way to attract targeted traffic to your site. But perhaps the biggest benefit is that you can easily understand your ROI based on the information available to you. This information will also help you to monitor your traffic and create other successful campaigns.

This isn’t to say that SEM is without its flaws. For instance, this form of marketing requires that you possess special knowledge and tools, such as Google AdSense. Without them, then it’s basically trial and error. Luckily, you can enlist the help of an SEM company to guide you through the process.

How are SEO and SEM Different?

SEO and SEM are just different approaches to advertising. Some experts include SEM under the umbrella of SEO, but it’s important to keep in mind that SEM is strictly referring to paid advertising. So, while SEO is focused on getting, monitoring, and analysing unpaid (organic) traffic, SEM is concerned with getting, monitoring, and analysing paid traffic from paid ads. SEO basically means optimization of website page content and visibility to get the natural page listing on the search engine results page while SEM men’s promoting websites to increase traffic and visibility in search engine results page.

Another significant difference between SEO and SEM is in terms of cost incurred. Each time an online user clicks on an SEO result, you don’t pay anything. You will not be charged when users click on an organic search result. You don’t need to pay anyone to appear on the search results.

On the other side, you will pay every time an online user gets to click on an SEM result. SEM requires you to continually have a budget to show your brands SEM ads by use of this type of PPC lead generation. SEM is simply paid placement google Ads which you will need to pay for every time a user clicks on the result. The traffic volume of SEM is controllable as it depends on the amount of cash you can pay. In Search engine optimisation, you cannot predict the traffic.

SEO and SEM have differences in search appearance results. Search results as a result of SEO or SEM appear different on the search engine results page with SEM search placements including an ‘Ad’ designation icon that appears next to the placement while SEO does not. Paid advertisements placed through SEM tactics are recognized as an ad while search results appearing as a result of SEO are not marked as an ad. More so, SEO search results seem to have featured snippets while SEM search results contain ad extensions. SEM search results feature ad extension which adds on things such as phone numbers, additional links, and callouts while SEO does not.

Every business brand gets into search engine optimisation or search engine marketing to reach a target audience. However, there exists a difference in the audience targeted depending on whether you use SEM or SEO. SEO does not enable you to specify or choose the target audience that will see your search results. On the contrary, SEM results appear to a specific selected target audience. This type of paid search is agile and precise. You will get the searchers you want, but you pay for it. Through SEM You can choose the audience that you want to see your search results through assigning filters in terms of location, age, habits, and income. You can’t do that on SEO.

engage google ppc agency ad

SEO is long term while SEM is short term. Search engine optimization requires business brands to be patient as results take time to show. This is not the same case with SEM. While SEO takes time, SEM gives you an immediate impact. Paid SEM ads display your results to your target audiences with only a few clicks. Your ads will start to appear on the search engine results page immediately you launch your campaign.

You can also turn the ads on at any time for increased visibility or turn them off to stop displaying. For SEO, this is something that brings results over time. It may require months or even years of implementing an SEO strategy before your business brand starts to gain position gradually on the google search engines and other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. It is said that when a website is new, Google does not take you seriously for about six months. Regardless of your good previous work, it will take time for your brand to appear on the first page. It is known as Google ‘sandbox’.

The basics of JavaScript framework SEO

As stated earlier, it is easy to turn on and off SEM. This makes SEM better in testing the ideal marketing strategy than SEO. Through SEM, it is easy and quick for you to target new audiences, revise your ad copy, and edit landing page content for testing new marketing strategies. This way, you will be able to see the differences in your tactics in a short time. This is very difficult with SEO as it will take you a lot of time to initiate changes and monitor the differences in your results.

search engine marketing in Singapore

Another unique difference between SEO and SEM is in terms of value addition. In this view, search engine optimization seems to be better. SEO increases the value of your business brand over time while SEM does not. SEM remains active as long as you are paying for your results to show on the search engine results page. You SEM strategy ends as soon as you turn off your advertisements. SEO is the opposite of SEM. SEO grows over time and compounds to leave lasting results.

Search engine optimization is great but on one condition, if you can get to the top of the first page. If your SEO strategy can get you to the top page, you will be able to get a higher click-through rate than SEM. This because the first top organic search results get to have the highest click-through rates. You are hence more likely to outperform SEM ads if you get to the top. However, if you appear on the second search engine results page, you will probably generate more clicks through SEM.

Now that we have compared SEO and SEM, which strategy among them is better? There are a lot of factors involved when comparing SEO vs. SEM. There is no simple answer or a quick formula. Some of the brands may decide to focus on SEM while others may choose to concentrate on SEO.

The correct strategy sometimes may be a combination of both SEO and SEM. What matters most is your unique company goals and budget. Now that you are aware of the differences between SEM and SEO, you are better positioned to make decisions on how each strategy can help your business achieve its goals. If you are starting up your business, you most likely won’t have plenty of money for SEM paid search while if your company has plenty of cash and a narrowly defined target audience, PPC search may be beneficial.

How do SEO and SEM Complement Each Other?

What SEO and SEM have in common is that they both rely heavily rely on the use of keywords? These terms and phrases are what help them to drive traffic to the sites. Sure, the techniques may be completely different, but the main goal is to encourage a nice flow of traffic. And they both require marketers to know how certain marketing activities relate to an increase or decrease in traffic.

Research shows that before users make any purchase, they search online. And ultimately, users can use the search engines to find what they’re looking for by organic or paid results. What this means is that it’s very important that you have a strong presence in search and that the ideal solution is to use a strategic combination of both SEO and SEM. In this way, you can get a long-term boost in visibility.

You should use SEO for organic traffic. This will cost you nothing to list. You should also use SEM because it will allow you to better target your customers. The key is to make sure that your site SEO-friendly as this will ensure that your SEM has the highest level of success. This is what gives you credibility in the eyes of Google. However, if your site is new, you should prioritise PPC as SEO can take some time.

The Future of SEO and SEM

Google is constantly making tweaks and changes to its algorithm. This means that SEO and SEM will change along with it. So, it’s difficult to predict exactly what the future will look like in these cases. However, what we do know is that user experience will continue to be an important factor in SEO.

Inevitably this will affect the popularity of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Project (AMP) because more business owners will want to create quick and easy mobile-friendly sites. Artificial intelligence will become even more involved in the process of SEO and will eventually change the nature of search by allowing brands to create more targeted ads for their SEM campaigns. Also, things will become more data-focused and easier to create campaigns that are targeted and personalized. However, all of these changes will lead to an increase in the user’s concern about their privacy.

Understanding SEO and SEM for Your Business in Singapore

SEO and SEM are crucial aspects for driving traffic to your site, but they are worlds. Singapore brands know that they need to apply them into their marketing campaigns, but unfortunately, most of them do not know how.

psg digital marketing

Where Do You Start?

Despite being different, they can be leveraged to work together for better results of your digital marketing campaigns. With that said, the secret to getting SEO and SEM right is to know the differences and how they work together to bring about a holistic digital marketing symbiosis.

Since they are different, you need to figure out how your SEO and SEM strategies can work together to optimise your website. For example, if you already have a live website, you could start by adding search engine optimised content that incorporates keywords, CTAs, and links.

We have seen many businesses ask which of the two is better. For starters, SEO is all about optimising your website for better a better site ranking on the search results page. SEM, on the other hand, goes beyond this, and it gives you an opportunity to appear on the first page for your chosen keywords even when your website is not ranking on the first page.

Since they serve different purposes in a digital marketing campaign, they can only be used together to maximise the return on your investment.

Which One Do I Choose For My Business?

As with everything on earth, SEO and SEM both have their pros and cons. We have outlined them below to help you get a deeper understanding of these two crucial aspects of digital marketing in Singapore

Additional SEO Pros and Cons

With voice search taking centre stage, SEO remains as relevant today as it were a couple of years ago. These are the pros and cons associated with SEO


  • SEO provides long lasting results at least until your competition starts doing better SEO than you or the next Google algorithm update
  • The results from an SEO campaign are trustworthy in that many of the users trust the organic results over the paid ads associated with SEM
  • A properly optimised website will move up the ranks quickly and coupled with valuable and relevant content, you will be doing much good to the searchers


  • You must be willing to wait more or less 4 to 6 months before you see positive results
  • SEO does not have guaranteed success especially if you are doing it yourself; even a professional SEO agency cannot guarantee that your website will rank in the first position
  • You need to know your audience and their preferences; otherwise, you can optimise the wrong keywords and waste not only time but also money and effort

Additional SEM Pros and Cons

Much like SEO, SEM also has its pros and cons. This is despite the fact the search engine is the fastest way for potential customers to eye and engage with your brand.


  • SEM has quick results, and when done correctly, you can get one to the first page the same day you start
  • It is an avenue of collecting data from the people interested in your brand
  • Through the advertising via search engines, you will be able to A/B test your ad copy and thus improve its quality score


  • While SEM will give you instant results compared to SEO, the results are not long lasting. The results will stop coming once your monthly budget is exhausted
  • SEM requires a lot of effort in that you need to keep on tweaking and to refine your PPC ads
  • It is a high-cost venture and depending on your industry and keyword choice. The costs will only make sense if you are getting valuable leads that convert

Impact of Search Terms on SEO and SEM

Search terms are the driving force behind both SEO and SEM and businesses in Singapore has spent millions if not billions trying to get them right. With that said, digital marketers continue to face gruelling frustrations over the limits of how much assumptions and predictions are associated with search terms.

Sufficient to say, one word when used in different searches will show different meanings and results. For this reason, SEO and SEM professionals have to create speculative conclusions on the most effective terms or words in their campaigns.

search engine marketing in Singapore

Due to the textual nature of the data used in online search, deducing content preferences from search queries could bring about a horde of challenges for your SEO and SEM inspired digital marketing campaigns in Singapore. These challenges include

  • The search terms are ambiguous in that the searcher could use the same word or term for different searches
  • Searchers use a wide variety of keywords, which significantly increases the number of possible keywords
  • Most searches have a maximum of five words

To resolve these challenges, in an article in the November 2018 issue of the INFORMS journal Marketing Science authored by Jia Lung and Olivier Toubia suggests that digital marketers use a ‘Topic Model.’

The model helps to combine the information from multiple search queries and the associated search results to quantify the mapping between the queries and the results. The model uses a learning algorithm that cites the topics from the text in the query based on the text’s occurrence.

Moreover, the model’s design is structured in a way that it can establish context where one term semantically relates to another word. The bottom line is that the topic model will provide the system with context for the use of the word.

Summary of SEO vs PPC: Which Should You Use?

As a marketer, one of the biggest dilemma you will ever experience is choosing between PPC and SEO in Singapore. While both strategies work to increase the visibility of a website, the approaches are entirely different.

PPC, also known as paid search, involves the payment of money to an advertising platform so that your website ranks high on them. On the other hand, SEO refers to the adjustments you make to your website so that you get more organic traffic from Google and other search engines.

It is vital to understand the difference between the two before choosing what to implement in your business.


Search engine optimisation is the process of optimising your website and its contents to obtain a higher ranking on search results.

If you want to run a successful SEO campaign in Singapore, you need to understand what Google and other search engines consider necessary. Such websites have algorithms that crawl your website, assess its contents, and rank it according to the relevance, value and quality of experience it affords to users.


Pay-per-click advertising, also known as PPC, is a marketing strategy where you pay advertisement platforms for every click on your ad listing. The best platform if you want to run a PPC campaign in Singapore is Google Ads. Alternatively, you can advertise on Facebook, Twitter and Quora.

Advantages of PPC

Here are the benefits of running a PPC campaign in Singapore.

It is fast

If you want results, you should hire a company that specialises in Singapore PPC services. It will not take months to attain a high ranking in search, as is the case with SEO.

It Supports Targeting

Another advantage of PPC over SEO in Singapore is that it supports targeting. You can target audiences based on parameters such as age, gender, income level, and location, and so on.

It Allows for Quick Experimentation

With PPC, you can run quick tests and identify what strategies are working and those that are unproductive. In stark contrast, it is challenging to identify what is causing your Singapore SEO to fail.

Disadvantages of PPC

Here are some factors that can discourage you from investing in a PPC campaign in Singapore.

It is Expensive

As mentioned earlier, PPC requires continual investment. If your business is a highly competitive niche, you might end up paying too much money for clicks without getting a positive ROI.

It Can Lose Effectiveness

PPPC campaigns are easy to scale, but they become more challenging as they become bigger. People will get used to your ads, making them less effective. You have to create new ads regularly to maintain the same level of productivity.

It Needs Money

You need money to hire a Singapore PPC services company. You also need expertise to ensure that you bid on the right keywords.

Which is better – PPC or SEO?

If you are wondering whether to invest in PPC or SEO in Singapore, the answer is that both are beneficial to your business. The situation you are in determines which of the two marketing strategies you should implement.

Here are four case studies showing the ideal use cases for SEO and PPC.

Launching New Products

If you are launching a new product, it is likely that no one is searching for it on Google. In such a case, PPC is better than SEO, as it allows you to create awareness quickly.

Preparing a One-time Offer

If you are planning to launch a one-time offer, it makes sense to invest in PPC over SEO in Singapore. The alter takes Time, meaning that your event might be over before you rank on search engine result pages.

Promoting Commercial Content

PPC triumphs over SEO when it comes to promoting commercial content.  The targeting features supported by paid search ensure that your ads reach people who are interested in your content, making it the better way of promoting such content.

Building a Site to Sell

Website flipping refers to the practice of building websites, growing them and then selling then later at a profit. In this case, it is better to invest in SEO in Singapore because it does not require active monitoring. Once a site ranks on the first page of SERPs, its value will only continue to increase as it gets more traffic.

Contrarily, PPC requires continuous investment. If you stop paying, the traffic will reduce, and the website will lose its value.

How to Identify What Suits Your Business

If you are not in any of the scenarios mentioned above, you can use the steps below to choose between SEO and PPC.

Think of Your Potential Traction Channels

You should know the preferences of your target audience. For instance, if you deal will with professional services, you should advertise on LinkedIn.

Test Your Ideas

Once you identify a channel, test before investing your money. You do not want a platform that needs investment without generating an ROI.

Invest in the Best Channel

After testing, allocate more resources to the channels that generate the highest ROI.

How to Implement SEO and PPC Simultaneously

As seen above, both SEO and PPC are beneficial to a business. It is advisable to practice both if you have the resources.

Here is how you can implement PPC and SEO in Singapore concurrently.

Use Facebook Ads to Create Awareness

Facebook is the most popular social network. You can leverage its popularity to get new content to a broad audience within a short time.


Retargeting is where you target your ads to people who visited your site previously but left without completing the desired action. The majority of PPC platforms support retargeting.

Bid on the Keywords Used By Competing Businesses

You should research the keywords that your rivals are bidding on, and then use either PPC or SEO to create better content.


Although they work to increase the visibility of a website on search engines, PPC and SEO in Singapore are vastly different.  Ensure that you have both to increase the success of your marketing campaigns.

When done correctly, SEM and SEO will provide exceptional results for your digital marketing campaigns. However, the topic model is a plausible solution to the cons, and the challenges facing SEO and SEM centred digital marketing campaigns.

With that said, both SEO and SEM require that you tweak and refine the processes in order to get the right combination for a winning campaign. However, doing it yourself can be daunting and with the rapidly changing trends in Singapore, only a professional agency is equipped to handle the SEM and SEO for maximum ROI.

If you’re interested in a digital marketing career, not only should know how SEM and SEO function but also how both of these forms of advertising will change as people begin to rely more heavily on technology. In this way, you’ll be able to create a campaign for almost any industry online.

Let’s talk about your experience with SEO and PPC. Which one have you been working with? Or which one between the two would you want us to help you with? Talk to us, and we’ll connect you with one of the SEO or PPC experts at MediaOne so that they can help you out with your project.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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