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What is The Difference Between PPC and SEO?

If you ever feel spun about by all of the letters involved in having a website, you are certainly not alone! Everything seems to be abbreviated and, at first, it can seem a little confusing. In order to demystify some of the key techy terms you’re probably encountering, we’re going to clear up not only what PPC and SEO stand for, but what the difference is between the two. If you have not come across these terms already, then now is the time to get to know them, because when it comes to achieving business success online, there may be no two greater allies!

What Is PPC?

Let us jump straight in at the deep end by starting with the fact that PPC and SEO are both forms of SEM, or Search Engine Marketing. Tackling PPC first, this one stands for Pay Per Click, and it describes a form of online advertising that sees you bid for advertising real estate, and then only pay for it when a search engine user actually clicks on your advert. As the heavy weight of search engines, Google’s own Google Ads is the most used PPC service on the internet.

Next time you use the search engine, depending on what you type into the search bar, you may find that paid adverts appear in several different forms. You may see products appear at the top of your SERPs – that’s Search Engine Results Pages – or you might see one or two search results listed at the top of the page with small lettering saying “Ad” beside them. Those two little letters let you know that the website in question paid to boost their content to the top of search results, based on keywords relevant to your search.

And SEO Is…?

Underneath those Google search results that have “Ad” written beside them are organic search results. These results are presented not because someone paid to place them there, but because Google deems them the most relevant to your web search – that’s why we all love using Google: because they usually find us the results we want! Smart website owners harness SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation practices to make sure that Google will rate their websites higher, and for the right search queries.

Now, this makes SEO sound pretty simple, but in fact it comprises a broad variety of different practices. Keywords are also heavily involved, but there is quite a bit more to it than that – Google is always getting smarter in terms of what it’s looking for, and increasingly particular as time goes on! The more competition you have in your niche market area, the more on-point your SEO will need to be, to push your website to the top of SERPs. If your rivals are on their game, your website may not place where you want it to right away. Building a sturdy SEO foundation can take time, but in the long run it is without doubt an effort well worth making.

So, The Difference Is This:

Both PPC and SEO are valuable methods for driving traffic to your website, but fundamentally, the difference is this: Traffic arriving courtesy of your SEO (otherwise known as organic traffic) is free. Traffic arriving via your PPC advertising campaigns comes at a cost – specifically, a cost each time someone clicks through and lands on one of your pages. Speaking of cost, it’s important to recognise that while SEO driven traffic is free at the point it arrives, great SEO usually represents an investment made – either in terms of time put into implementing and maintaining SEO, or in terms of money spent hiring a top-notch SEO expert to do this for you.

At this point, you might be scratching your head thinking “Well, if both forms of SEM come at a cost, and only PPC guarantees placement on the first page of search results, why bother with SEO at all?” The answer to this question is simple, and vitally important. PPC is great, but when you stop paying, traffic stops dead. However, in the case of SEO, fantastic implementation on your website will mean that the traffic keeps flowing 24/7, whether you pay for it or not. In that sense, you can liken SEO to creating a passive form of income – SEO just keeps working away in the background, allowing you to focus on other things. That said, just as markets are always evolving, keeping up with the SEO competition always requires a little attention!

Which Is The One To Focus On?

In certain cases, putting more energy into one or the other may make more sense. However, for most businesses, a harmonious application of both of these forms of digital marketing can work wonders for your bottom line. PPC is fantastic when you have a high converting product to showcase – those clicking on your advert are very likely to want what’s on offer. Visitor for visitor, SEO may not offer quite the same percentage of conversions as PPC, but it will help you build a kick-ass brand identity and generate valuable leads. Experimenting with PPC campaigns, noticing which keywords get the biggest response, and then incorporating them into your SEO can be an excellent starting point – especially as you get your SEO fired up in other areas.

Unsure where to start?

The team at Teapot Creative love nothing more than securing virtual wins for businesses just like yours. We can advise on which types of SEM you should be focusing on – including what is already going strong, and what might be letting the side down. Our team are always on hand to help you up your digital marketing game. Whether your needs are large or small, you can always count on the fact that our ambition will be sky high on your behalf.

Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you!

About Amy

I handle all things SEO related here at Teapot, from competitor analysis' to creating effective and successful marketing campaigns for a range of clients. When I’m not analysing people's websites you’ll find me binge-watching the latest crime series or getting creative with colourful makeup!

Give us a call on 01460 281865 or email us to see how we can help you!