Are you unsure whether your recruitment agency would benefit more from PPC or SEO? Our Digital Marketing Executive, Ella Stringer, breaks them both down for you so you can decide which best fits your Recruitment Marketing strategy.

A question recruitment agencies often ask is, “Which is more beneficial: PPC or SEO?” This is not a question with an easy answer as it truly depends on your current situation, the web habits of your clients and candidates and your current objectives; be that candidate or client attraction or attracting passive candidates. 

At Bristow & Hardy, we are fans of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). When done well, organic search can deliver a bigger number of clicks at a better cost per click than paid search. However, start-up recruitment agencies can often struggle to come to terms with the longevity of SEO, and paid search can offer a fast track to the top of Google and co. when done correctly. 


There are two key distinctions when considering both. The first is that, no matter what, paid ads will always appear at the top of the page above the organic listings benefitted from SEO. The second is cost. As the name would suggest, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) has a cost for each click through to your recruitment website; SEO is free. 

SEO: Organic traffic to your website

First, we will look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of using SEO to drive traffic to your recruitment website: 

Brand Awareness 

Targeted keywords can put your recruitment agency at the top of Google and the rest, improving both brand awareness as well as trust and credibility. Users tend to skip over the ads and trust organic search results. Climbing higher on search engines can impact your credibility when a candidate or client is looking for a recruitment expert in a particular industry. 


Traffic obtained from SEO is free. Developing a well-run SEO campaign doesn’t come without initial costs and it certainly won’t happen overnight but there is no direct charge for each impression or click meaning you won’t run in to any budget restraints. 


If done correctly, SEO can leave your recruitment agency at the top of search engines for a long time, unlike paid search which will disappear once you stop investing. 

Whilst SEO may seem like a no-brainer, in many cases it can be a slow process that takes a lot of time and effort. Not all companies will have the resources available in-house and processes such as back-linking can be difficult and may require expert advice, (View our Recruitment Marketing Services here). If you are a relatively new recruitment agency, keywords for your industry may already be dominated by your competitors and you may look to PPC for a faster return of investment.

PPC: Pay your way to the top

With cost stacked in favour of SEO. Here is what paid search has to offer: 

Page position 

With paid search, you are always on top. No matter how well you run an SEO campaign, paid ads will always sit at the top of the page. A desktop or laptop usually contains four ads whilst a mobile holds three. Even if the user decides to scroll past them, they will always see the paid ads first before reaching the organic listings. 


A PPC campaign can be up and running within a matter of days whilst SEO can take a while before it is showing any return. This may play to your advantage if you have a vacancy that needs filling urgently or operate within an industry that has a high turnover rate. 

Specific targeting 

PPC provides a precision targeted way of getting seen by potential clients or candidates. Your PPC ads can target potential users based on search keywords, location and more. In comparison, SEO is vague. 

The problem with paid search is, as the name would suggest, cost. PPC requires a constant stream of investment; stop investing in to PPC and your ads will quickly go away, and lead generation will dry up. Further, if you are recruiting across the country or internationally then a sizeable campaign can be expensive to run. 

What do Bristow & Hardy suggest? 

Both. In a perfect scenario, you should be using both SEO and PPC. The two both have their positive and negative aspects, but they work best when supporting each other. When the two are put together, you will drive stronger leads, hit a higher volume of traffic to your website and increase awareness and credibility by appearing in both paid ads and organic search. 

Are you thinking of running a SEO or PPC campaign? If you have any further questions or need any advice, Bristow & Hardy can help.


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