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SEO and PPC: Which is Better for Small Businesses in Nigeria

Grace Odofin

WSI, Social Media Executive
SEO and PPC for businesses

Grace Odofin

WSI, Social Media Executive

The ongoing debate between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) rages on, with small businesses caught in the middle. However, they cannot afford to miss out on potential customers by not appearing at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). On the other, they also cannot risk blowing their budget on a campaign that may not yield results.

So, what is a small business in Nigeria to do? The answer lies in understanding the difference between SEO and PPC and making an informed decision based on your business needs.

Both SEO and PPC can be effective in driving traffic to your website. Let’s inspect these digital marketing strategies to see which one is better for small businesses in Nigeria.

Definition of SEO and PPC

SEO is optimizing a website to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) for free. 

PPC involves paid advertisements displayed on search engines or other platforms, where businesses pay a fee when users click on their ads.

Importance of Online Presence for Small Businesses in Nigeria

Businesses in Nigeria must have an online presence to compete in the global marketplace. An online presence is essential for any small business that wants to succeed in today’s global economy to reach all your potential customers in Nigeria and worldwide. Several methods are available, including social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization. You can attract a larger audience by creating a website and using digital marketing techniques.

Understanding SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital in improving a website’s visibility and organic traffic. According to Neil Patel, SEO is a long-term investment that can provide a high return on investment if done correctly. It involves various techniques to optimize web pages to rank higher on search engine results, such as Google and Bing.

How SEO Works

SEO operates on the principle of search engines evaluating websites based on relevance and quality to display the most relevant results to users. It encompasses on-page, off-page, and technical optimization techniques to enhance a website’s visibility. 

SEO and PPC

SEO Techniques for Small Businesses in Nigeria

With the help of SEO, small businesses can implement the following techniques:

  1. Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant keywords and phrases that potential customers are searching for. Optimize website content, including titles, headings, and meta descriptions, with these targeted keywords.
  2. On-Page Optimization: Optimize web pages by creating high-quality, unique content, using appropriate headings and subheadings, incorporating relevant keywords, and optimizing images and multimedia elements.
  3. Link Building: Develop a strong network of backlinks from reputable and relevant websites. Quality backlinks signal to search engines that the website is trustworthy and authoritative.
  4. Local SEO: Small businesses targeting a specific location must implement local SEO techniques. Earning positive customer reviews and optimizing Google My Business listings are part of this process.
  5. Mobile Optimization: With the increasing use of mobile devices, optimizing websites for mobile responsiveness and fast loading times is essential for ranking higher in search results.

Understanding PPC

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an advertising model where businesses pay for each click on their ads. These ads are displayed on search engine results pages or other online platforms.

How PPC Works

PPC operates on a bidding system where businesses bid on specific keywords or phrases relevant to their products or services. When a user searches for those keywords, the search engine displays ads based on the highest bidders and other relevant factors, such as ad quality and relevance.

SEO and PPC

PPC Strategies for Small Businesses in Nigeria

For PPC advertising to be most effective, small businesses can implement the following strategies:

  1. Keyword Research and Selection: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the most relevant and effective keywords for the PPC campaign. Consider long-tail keywords that have lower competition and higher conversion potential.
  2. Compelling Ad Copy: Create engaging and persuasive ad copies that show the business’s unique selling propositions (USPs). Use headlines, clear calls-to-action, and relevant keywords to capture the attention and encourage clicks.
  3. Landing Page Optimization: Ensure that the landing pages users go to after clicking on the ads are highly relevant, informative, and optimized for conversions. Use clear and concise content, persuasive visuals, and prominent calls to action.
  4. Ad Campaign Monitoring and Optimization: Regularly monitor the performance of PPC campaigns and make necessary adjustments to optimize results. It includes adjusting keyword bids, optimizing ad targeting settings, testing different ad variations, and refining the campaign based on the performance data.
  5. Ad Extensions: Take advantage of ad extensions to provide additional information and increase the visibility of your ads. Call, location, and site links can improve click-through rates and enhance the ad experience.

SEO vs. PPC: Pros and Cons

SEO and PPC have their advantages and disadvantages for small businesses in Nigeria. Understanding these factors can help companies determine which strategy to prioritize.

Advantages of SEO

  • Cost-Effective Marketing: Unlike PPC, which involves paying for every click on an advertisement, SEO requires time and effort to implement it is a cost-effective strategy in the long run. According to a study by electriq marketing, organic searches are 8.5x more likely to be clicked while paid search results are 1.5x more likely to be converted through the search engine.
  • Builds Trust and Credibility: Ranking organically in search results helps businesses build trust and credibility among potential customers. Users trust websites that appear in the top positions of search results, leading to higher click-through rates and conversions.
  • Increased Organic Visibility: Small business websites can improve their rankings on search engine result pages, resulting in greater visibility among potential customers.
  • Targeted Traffic: SEO allows businesses to attract highly targeted traffic, as users who search for specific keywords or phrases relevant to the company are more likely to convert, and the audience will engage with the brand’s products or services.
  • Long-term Results: SEO efforts, when done effectively, can yield visibility and organic traffic. Once a website establishes its authority and rankings, it can generate organic traffic without additional costs.

Disadvantages of SEO

  • Time-Consuming: SEO is not a quick fix. Achieving desired results requires consistent effort, time, and ongoing optimization. It can take months or even longer to see significant improvements in organic rankings.
  • Competition: SEO is highly competitive, especially for popular keywords and industries. Small businesses may also find it challenging to outrank well-established competitors with larger budgets and a more extensive online presence.

Advantages of PPC

  • Immediate Visibility: PPC offers instant visibility, allowing businesses to appear at the top of search results as soon as the campaign goes live. It can be beneficial for time-sensitive promotions or new product launches.
  • Targeted Reach: PPC allows businesses to target specific demographics, locations, and keywords, ensuring their ads get seen by the most relevant audience. This precise targeting increases the likelihood of conversions and maximizes the return on investment (ROI).
  • Measurable Results: PPC campaigns provide detailed metrics and data, allowing businesses to measure the success of their ads. This data-driven approach enables companies to make informed decisions and optimize their campaigns for better results.

Disadvantages of PPC

  • Cost: PPC advertising involves costs for each click, and the budget can quickly add up, especially for competitive keywords. Small businesses with limited budgets may find it challenging to sustain long-term PPC campaigns.
  • Dependency on Paid Advertising: Unlike SEO, which generates organic traffic, PPC relies on continuous investment. Once a business stops funding its PPC campaigns, the visibility and traffic from ads will cease.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between SEO and PPC

When deciding between SEO and PPC, small businesses in Nigeria should consider the following factors:

Budget

Evaluate your budget and determine how much you can allocate to online marketing. SEO requires ongoing efforts and investment in content creation, link building, and website optimization. PPC involves paying for every click, so businesses need to set aside a budget for ad spend.

Business Goals

Consider your business goals and objectives. Are you looking for long-term visibility and organic traffic, or do you need immediate results and conversions? SEO is a better option for long-term growth, while PPC can deliver immediate visibility and targeted traffic.

Industry Competition

Assess the level of competition in your industry. If you operate in a highly competitive market with well-established competitors, achieving organic rankings through SEO alone may be challenging. PPC also can help you gain initial visibility and compete effectively.

Timeframe

Consider the timeframe within which you want to see results. SEO is a long-term strategy that requires time to see significant results. SEO can be a suitable option if you are willing to invest in long-term growth. However, if you need immediate visibility and quick results, PPC instantly enhances your online presence.

Measuring Success

Define how you will measure the success of your online marketing efforts through improvements in organic rankings, organic traffic, and conversions. PPC’s success is click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS).

Integrating SEO and PPC for Small Businesses in Nigeria

Instead of choosing between them, small businesses in Nigeria can benefit from integrating both strategies to maximize their online presence and results.

Combining SEO and PPC Strategies

By combining the two strategies, businesses can achieve a synergistic effect:

  • Keyword Insights: PPC campaigns can provide valuable keyword insights to optimize SEO strategies. Analyze the performance of PPC keywords to identify high-converting keywords to target in your SEO efforts.
  • Testing Ground: PPC can serve as a testing ground for keyword effectiveness and conversion rates. Test many keywords and ad variations through PPC and apply the findings to your SEO strategy.
  • Enhanced Visibility: Integrating SEO and PPC allows businesses to appear in organic search results and paid ads, increasing their visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs). This double exposure can reinforce brand presence and increase the chances of user engagement.

Read also: 5 Must-Have SEO Strategies for Fintech Companies in Nigeria

Best Practices for Integrating SEO and PPC

To effectively integrate SEO and PPC strategies, consider the following best practices:

  • Keyword Collaboration: Ensure that the keywords targeted in SEO and PPC align. This synergy can create a consistent brand message and enhance overall search visibility.
  • Landing Page Optimization: Optimize landing pages for both SEO and PPC. A well-optimized landing page can improve the quality score of PPC ads and provide a seamless user experience for organic visitors.
  • Data Sharing: Share data and insights between SEO and PPC teams. Collaborate on keyword performance, conversion data, and user behaviour to refine strategies and achieve better results.
  • Remarketing: Use PPC remarketing campaigns to target users who have previously visited your website. It can increase brand recall, engagement, and conversions.

In conclusion

With choosing between SEO and PPC for small businesses in Nigeria, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both strategies offer unique benefits and considerations based on individual business goals, budget, competition, and timeframe.

SEO provides long-term visibility, cost-effectiveness, and credibility. It requires consistent effort, time, and optimization but can cause sustainable organic traffic and higher trust among potential customers. However, PPC offers immediate visibility, precise targeting, and measurable results. It allows businesses to generate traffic and reach a specific audience, but it comes with a cost per click and dependency on continuous investment.

If you are unsure which strategy is right for your business, book a free consultation to speak to our expert.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

SEO focuses on organic optimization for search engine rankings, while PPC involves paid advertisements where businesses pay for each click.

Is Paid Search the same as SEO?

No, Paid Search is not the same as SEO. While both are strategies used to increase visibility and traffic to a website, they differ in their approach and execution.

Paid Search, also known as PPC (Pay-Per-Click) or SEM (Search Engine Marketing), involves paying for advertisements to appear on search engine results pages. Advertisers bid on keywords relevant to their business, and when users search for those keywords, the ads are displayed. Additionally, advertisers pay a fee each time someone clicks on their ad, hence the name “Pay-Per-Click.”

Meanwhile, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) focuses on improving a website’s organic (non-paid) visibility in search engine results. It involves optimizing various elements of a website, such as its content, meta tags, and structure, to make it more search engine-friendly. The goal of SEO is to improve the website’s ranking in organic search results, driving more traffic without directly paying for clicks.

Which one is more effective for small businesses in Nigeria?

The effectiveness of SEO and PPC depends on various factors, including business goals, budget, competition, and timeframe. Both strategies can be effective when used strategically.

How much does SEO cost for small businesses in Nigeria?

The cost of SEO can vary based on factors such as ‌work, keyword competitiveness, and service provider. However, Investing in quality SEO services that align with your goals is crucial.

How much does PPC cost for small businesses in Nigeria?

PPC costs vary based on keyword competition, target audience, and bidding. However, setting a daily budget and continuously monitoring and optimizing ads helps control costs.

Can SEO and PPC be used together?

Absolutely! Integrating SEO and PPC can enhance online marketing efforts, increase visibility, and drive targeted traffic to your website. The synergy between the two strategies can yield better overall results.

How long does it take to see results from SEO?

The timeframe for seeing significant SEO results can vary depending on factors such as website age, competition, and the extent of optimization efforts. It can take several months.

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Oti is a vastly experienced digital media and marketing professional with over 10 years of industry experience. He has worked across Agency, Brand, Publisher and Marketing Technology sides of the industry in various capacities.


Driven by a strong commitment to continuous innovation, Oti has managed so many successful digital projects across Africa and Europe for brands like Coca-Cola, Nestle, Guinness, Kellogg’s, EA Games, Sony Entertainment, etc., and advises senior management of global brands on data-driven marketing and digital transformation.

Consumer insights in marketing: Oti

Oti currently heads Product at Terragon Group, Africa’s leading data aggregation, enrichment, and activation company, where he is responsible for developing innovative data-driven marketing solutions for SMBs and Enterprises across Africa.


Oti is the current President of Association of Digital Marketing Professionals (ADMARP), the foremost professional body for digital marketing practitioners in Nigeria. He is also a communications consultant to the African Union in areas of youth engagement and digital interactions. A known public speaker, teacher and trainer, Oti has facilitated several conferences and digital events, and was recognized by Marketing Edge Magazine as an Outstanding Digital Marketing Personality of the year 2021.