SEO is a longer term game and involves the correct set up of your website and online presence, ultimately to bring you more organic search and referral traffic. You don’t pay for this traffic, but you’ll pay with time and money getting it right.
SEO should always be an important element of your digital marketing mix, and it’s often overlooked and underestimated by both business and web developers.
Google AdWords is a fast way of bringing in targeted traffic to your website. It is fast to set up, and a far faster way to generate traffic than SEO (generally). Both are ongoing investments, but you’ll only pay for AdWords clicks when people are interested in your product (generally).
With SEO you have to invest before you get the traffic.
With Google AdWords, you generally only pay when people click through to your website.
Both are important. Certain SEO elements will help improve the quality of your AdWords campaigns.
It is important to understand that running paid advertising with Google will not make any difference to your organic search rankings, although it may improve the clickthrough rate of your organic listings (due to searchers subtly seeing your brand in an advert before scrolling down).