SEO vs PPC – What’s the Difference?


How PPC and SEO can Help your Online Visibility

SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay per click) both fall within the realms of search engine marketing and involve maximising visibility on Google’s search engine results pages(SERPs) to increase click through rates to your webpages. But what’s the difference? We look at PPC vs SEO to give you an understanding of both.

The Difference Between PPC and SEO

The fundamental difference when looking at PPC vs SEO, is the fact that one is a free marketing channeland the other is not.

Whilst both use a keyword targeting strategy to attract users looking for a specific topic, the way this is implemented is very different.

PPC (pay per click), as the name implies, is an ad based service where marketers pay for the ad. Rather than a fixed ad cost you’d expect to find in a display ad model, advertisers pay each time the ad is clicked.

How much depends on how competitive the keyword might be but you can bid for a keywording Google AdWords  for an ad placement in Google’s sponsored links and set a budget so you only spend what you can afford.

SEO (search engine optimisation)is sometimes referred to as organic search and involves marketers naturally improving the rankings in the SERPs with a range of technical and content based actions.

Many of these actions are simple to implement, whereas others are more difficult.

Google uses complex algorithms to crawl and sort relevant websites into an order of best quality. Marketers can improve their chances of gaining high rankings by following Google’s best practices.

search results

Source: Google

PPC spots and successfully performing organic spots often appear closely together on the search engine results pages. PPC placements however, appear at the very top of the SERPs and have ‘Ad’ next to them, whereas the organic spots are listed underneath and are ordered according to how well optimised Google feels your site is.

The Benefits of PPC

PPC is a highly-targeted form of search engine marketing. Ads are placed with specific keywords for users with the right search intent (for example users in ‘buying mode’ for ecommerce sites).

Placements are fixed at the top of the SERPs and do not change. Click through can therefore be very high so it’s important that your landing page is highly relevant and solves the user need quickly. 

Granted, PPC is a little like buying traffic, however it can prove to be a very successful channel in your online marketing strategy.

The Benefits of SEO

SEO provides a lower risk option to PPC. No budget is required as such, other than for the resources spent optimising your site, which makes it a fundamental part of your online search campaign.

There are many ways of improving SEO with different techniques, which gives the marketer a broad understanding of the online marketing space.

Unlike PPC where traffic is bought, organic traffic is earned. This means a harder slog, but it has more longevity than PPC. If you can achieve one of the top 5 positions, you can expect to have a continuous flow of traffic 24×7 without having to pay a bean.

Is PPC or SEO Best for Me

The answer really depends on what your objectives are for your business.

Whilst PPC might generate more clicks, this equates to a higher cost to your business.

Some businesses like to run PPC and SEO campaigns simultaneously. But word of caution, if your site is performing well from an SEO angle (on the first page of Google), there is no need to spend money on a PPC campaign, so monitor your page performance closely!

Need help with your PPC or SEO campaigns? Why not give us a call on 01303 720288. We are a Kent-based Marketing agency, with deep experience in search engine marketing.