There is a lot to be said regarding Paid Per Click Advertising and Link Popularity. I will briefly explain the two and the merit of each.
Paid Per Click Advertising, simply abbreviated as PPC Advertising, is performance based advertising where advertisers spend money for every visitors that go to their website, depending on their objectives. This is a new way of advertising pioneered by Google. With this kind of advertising, webmasters will be able to quantify their return on investment and adjust their marketing dollars accordingly.
Why do advertisers use PPC advertising? Quite simply, advertisers can get an idea on how much they spent and what they expect from it. If one click costs an advertiser $ 0.50, then he can expect certain number of visitors with certain budgets. Furthermore, PPC advertising is one of the fastest way of getting visitors to a website. Registration is simple and an ad campaign can be prepared for as little as 5 minutes. If a webmaster want to grow big and quickly and he has the means to do that, then PPC is probably the best way to go.
Link Popularity on the other hand is geared towards a long-term survival for a website. One of the drawback of link popularity is the time taken to receive considerable amount of links from other websites. It can take months or longer. On the other hand, link popularity is more permanent than PPC advertising. Once your budget is spent on PPC, your source of new visitors are gone. Link Popularity stays there. If you have 1000 backlinks and it draws 50 visitors per day, then the chance is you will get that much visitors for the foreseeable future.
Another nice feature of building link popularity is that it costs you nothing in term of money. All you have to do is writing more contents or submit your websites to free web directories widely available.
One of the biggest drawback of building link popularity is time. As you may know, time is money. You won't get lots of backlink in a short amount of period without spamming or buying a text link. Furthermore, you may not have much content and writing contents take time. This constraint can be solved if you have money to spend. You can spend money buying copyrighted articles for your websites' content. You can also buy some individuals who will then submit your websites to hundreds of directories.
It all goes back to you. If you are pressed for time, you need to spend money to speed up the process. But if i were to choose, I'd prefer spending money on building link popularity rather than PPC advertising. The reason is simple. In attracting constant new visitors, link popularity lasts longer than PPC advertising.