There are many ways to advertise online. However, the two “big guns” are to be PPC (pay per click) and article marketing. In fact, the battle for supremacy between these two methods has heated the Internet ether for some time now. PPC is “paid marketing” while article marketing is a form of natural search engine optimization – usually combined with other link-building activities. Is there a clear-cut winner here yet? Which one is better? Does one offer you better ROI than the other?

A quick glance through search results on the questions above will give you some rather conflicting information. It seems that some tout PPC as the single best way to go, while others side with article marketing and natural SEO as the most advantageous solution for everyone. To really get to the truth behind these disparities, you need to consider a few things, starting with the source of the information.

For instance, quite a bit of store is set by both the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and ComScore. However, these two entities are not exactly what you would call objective – the sponsors of the various studies conducted by these companies influence the results to a tremendous degree. You can count on studies sponsored by PPC companies to be favorable to PPC, to the exclusion of all else.

To really get to the bottom of the situation, you need to consider several factors. Both article marketing and PPC work – there’s no question of that. However, determining which is best can be a bit difficult. Let’s dig a little deeper into the question.

In order to make an informed decision between article marketing and PPC, you need to understand the criteria on which such a decision should be made. There are three main factors here: click-through rates, cost-effectiveness and the conversion ratio offered by the marketing method.

When a consumer uses a search engine to query for information, products or services, they’re presented with ten search results immediately. There are fewer PPC listings than there are natural search results. This alone might be enough to keep that person from clicking on a PPC ad – if there are enough “real” results, then there’s no need to take a chance by clicking on an advertisement. However, for a website to rank high enough in search engine standings to be in the top 10 results for a specific keyword, the content of the site has to be relevant to the query. In addition, there has to be relevant internal HTML code, which takes knowledge and expertise to implement.

Natural search results are just that. They’re natural – there is no fee paid to be listed. PPC ads are the reverse. The company that has the highest bid will get top placement, whether their site is relevant to the consumer’s search or not. Article marketing ensures that the best (highest relevancy) website is provided for the customer.

The crux of this issue is that PPC ads may or may not be what consumers want to find. Increasingly, consumers are learning this, as well. It only takes a few instances for a searcher to stop clicking on PPC ads at all. Current research shows that customers are searching for natural results more frequently. You’ll even find that those who are heartily in favor of PPC admit that there is very little substance to them. They are short ads that use a few words to capture the searcher’s attention. Often, those words are misleading, dishonest or downright false. When a user clicks the ad, they’re taken to a sales page, which can immediately offend people, particularly those looking for real, viable information so they can make up their own minds.

Article marketing, on the other hand, is not a short-form method of marketing. In fact, it is an ideal way to present real information for consumers, so that they can make an informed decision regarding their needs. It’s not necessarily about selling, but about informing and teaching. Article marketing gives consumers a full article chock-full of data, details and vital points. PPC ads don’t say much of anything. While someone in a hurry might click on a PPC ad simply to save time (and often find they’re actually wasting time), those who really want to make a good decision will always go with natural search results over advertisements.

As you can see, the question is not necessarily which one is better. It’s more a question of what type of customer your business needs. Do you need to take advantage of those with little time to conduct a thorough search? Do you want customers who have the information they need to make a solid decision?

Of course, there are some things to be gained with PPC marketing methods. Below, you’ll see some high points for both PPC and article marketing.

PPC Marketing

To get a real idea of the situation here, you need to know a few of the advantages offered by PPC advertising. The most significant benefit here is that you are able to generate instant results with PPC advertising. This is important, because natural SEO takes time to provide results – time that you might not be able to afford. In fact, a well-placed ad can bring in a tremendous flood of visitors.