The Difference Between SEO and PPC



Two of the most commonly applied Internet Marketing methods are SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (Per Per Click). But while both methods involve driving traffic to your site through search engines, the two are very different.

The key difference is that SEO aims to enhance your site’s position in what is referred to as the “organic” or “natural,” listings, while PPC is about the “sponsored ads,” within the search engines. Let’s use Google and a search for “loans,” as an example.

If you search “loans,” in Google, you will be presented with this results page:

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The image above illustrates which results are organic and which are PPC. But how does each of these work?

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

SEO aims to enhance your website’s listing in organic results for certain keywords related to your products or services – that is to say the results that Google “˜naturally’ considers to be the most relevant and highest quality for those searches.

If someone clicks on your website after finding it “˜organically,’ through search, it does not cost you.

SEO uses varied strategies to increase your site’s relevance for the appropriate searches, thus generate traffic through search engines.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

The sponsored ads featured in the Google results pages are there because the site owners are running Adwords PPC. Essentially, they “bid,” to be positioned as highly up in the sponsored listings as possible. They stipulate how much they would be prepared to pay for a click and a combination of this bid amount and other factors dictates where on the page their ad will be displayed. Every single time someone clicks on their advertisement, they will pay anything up to the maximum amount they specified they would pay. While in some areas this may only be pennies, in more competitive industries, this can go up to £40 for a single click, with no guarantees that the clicker will convert to a lead.

That’s the main difference between SEO and PPC. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages – which we’ll go into more detail about in later posts.

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Tecmark Author Stacey MacNaught

About the Author

Stacey MacNaught: Search Director

Stacey joined us in 2009 as a junior copywriter; now she's a recognised figure on the global speaking circuit, having wowed audiences in the UK, Europe and US - including at MozCon 2014. She leads our search team and works with clients to deliver high-level campaign strategies.

Visit Stacey's Page
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