The Difference Between SEO And PPC

Whilst an increasing number of businesses are using SEO and PPC as a valued part of their online marketing programme, for some, whilst the acronyms may be more familiar, how and why they should/could be used remains a mystery.

Whilst both SEO (search engine optimising) and PPC (pay per click) can be used independently, a strategy incorporating both will have a huge impact on long and short term results.

You need to select keywords for both PPC and SEO. However, the difference is that with a PPC campaign you pay each time someone clicks through to a keyword whilst SEO helps you achieve high rankings in the results when your keyword is entered into a search engine.

If you had an unlimited budget, you could aim to outbid your competitors on every desired keyword or search term. This would definitely get you high on the Google rankings but, should a competitor outbid you, it’s almost as quick to fall back down the pecking order. SEO takes time to rise in the rankings but simultaneously builds trust within the search engines as the page has to be established before ranking even gets underway.

For some companies it is difficult to know which keywords are going to be the most effective and here both SEO and PPC can work together to provide some answers. Because individual keywords have to go through the SEO process to climb up the rankings, it’s really important to choose the right ones and, if you’re not sure then PPC is the perfect way to test them out.

If you find that the chosen keyword doesn’t have much response or doesn’t produce quality click-throughs, then you tweak the keyword until you find the one that gets the right results. It may take a little longer to start with but the end results are well worth the effort.

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After graduating from the University of Warwick, Rachel Cassidy began her career as a PPC Account Executive at Guava UK. Leaving Guava in 2008, Rachel worked in Malaysia before returning to the UK in August 2010 to further develop her career in search at Vertical Leap. Rachel is a Google AdWords certified professional and MSN Adexcellence. She is responsible for managing a wide range of PPC campaigns, with varying budget allocations, across all search and social media platforms, from initial account setup to matured, successful campaigns.

  • "SEO and PPC both are activities are fall under the umbrella of SEM (Search Engine Marketing) However, they are very different activities and its the smart marketer that makes a point of learning the difference but embracing both.

    If use SEO best practices to make sure that your website appears in the “organic search” results of a Google page.SEO is a method of using certain keywords in order to pull up the website of choice.

    PPC is good for companies who are just starting out and trying to build up their company name or brand. PPC are not the same as the organic listings, and are paid links. It is important when selecting a company to do your PPC campaign that they take the time and interest to design the program around the needs of the business advertising."

  • Hi John,

    Thanks for your comment. I totally agree about SEO and PPC being very different activities yet the true importance of embracing both for your website.

    I agree about PPC being highly beneficial for new companies or those without an established presence in the SERP's – implemented correctly for some sites, it is the main source of traffic.

    At Vertical Leap, we come across alot of PPC accounts which have not been built with the care, time and interest that they should have been and therefore aren't converting; just spending. I think although different ways of getting search traffic through, PPC can pave the way forward for SEO campaigns to determine which keywords work for the website and the volume of traffic and conversions they can bring.

    You're completely right – it is vitally important to ensure the PPC is build around the needs of the business advertising medium, and as a Account manager I encourage active involvement Client side in the campaigns, for no one knows your brand better then the company.


    Rachel Cassidy