For new businesses and websites, it can take months to see results from SEO. This perceived “penalty” used to be referred to as the Google sandbox effect – people assumed Google was intentionally filtering new websites out of the results. More likely the problem is that competition is fierce and it takes time for a website to “prove” itself and earn authority and links.
AdWords is a great workaround for new businesses because you don’t have to wait around so long to see results. While working on your site’s SEO, you can put resources into an AdWords campaign and start getting impressions and clicks immediately. Because it’s so speedy, it’s also a good way to test whether a given keyword or audience is worth pursing via organic search – if it converts well in AdWords, you can deduce that it’s worth trying to rank for in SEO and build out your content in that area.