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PPC & SEO - what’s the difference?

Published May 16, 2022 By Klim Lugovtsov

Humans are prone to binary thinking; ingrained in us from an early age, it’s a huge part of our culture and especially our working culture where an “or” is easier than an “and”. This strategy or that strategy. Results or no results. Working life tends to be fixated with the notion of opposites.

The same can be said about PPC and SEO marketing strategies. Many companies still struggle to move beyond binary thinking when it comes to these two terms. Sometimes, they are even seen as alternatives to one another, with organisations only investing in one at a time.

In this blog, we’ll run through the key differences between the two strategies and why it’s so important to move beyond binary thinking to understand the synthesis of SEO and PPC in effective marketing strategies.

Let’s start with some definitions.   

What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click and is a relatively new player in the digital marketing field. Unlike traditional advertising, whereby advertisers are charged to display an advert, PPC advertisers are only charged once a user clicks on their advert. PPC adverts are used to drive traffic to websites through placement on social media platforms or following an organic search for related content. Popular PPC platforms include GoogleAds, Microsoft Advertising, and popular social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

What is SEO? 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and defines the process of optimising a website so that it ranks organically on search engines like Google and Bing. As a result, SEO aims to increase the quality and quantity of organic traffic that a website or webpage receives. There are a variety of SEO techniques for improving rankings, including content creation, technical optimisation, link building and keyword optimisation.

What is the difference between SEO and PPC? 

Whilst both of these tactics are encompassed under the umbrella of digital marketing strategy, there are some key differences to note. The first major difference is that traffic generated from SEO is typically free and a result of organic content creation and promotion. PPC advertising, however, comes at a price and is focused on paying for traffic to reach your website.

Another difference is that organic listings influenced by SEO appear below the paid ads at the top of the page above the search results. PPC ads also appear under an ‘Ads’ label whereas search results appear as links separate from Google’s advertising programs.

With PPC, the results are usually fast and predictable, but return on investment is poor. SEO, however, is a much slower investment; the results are gradual and there is a much higher return on investment, though this can take several months to materialise.

organic vs paid google search screenshot
How do PPC and SEO work together?

People are usually interested in understanding the differences between SEO and PPC, but actually the two should work together. Close collaboration between PPC and SEO is critical to the success of PPC marketing.

This is because SEO impacts the visibility and ranking of PPC adverts, whilst links in PPC adverts work to increase website traffic. Utilising the two together can work to increase a brand’s search engine presence dramatically

It’s also beneficial for PPC and SEO to operate together as both are integral elements of any successful online campaign. Combining PPC and SEO efforts will provide added exposure on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for an optimised online marketing push.

What’s most important to note, however, is that both PPC and SEO have a shared vision of optimising search strategy and brand visibility. When users find your website, the chances are they used a search engine to get there. The higher your website ranks on search results, the more opportunities there are to be seen by users and to increase traffic to your website.

SEO and PPC are two digital marketing strategies that work to improve this process. Therefore, both strategies can be seen to aspire to the very same goal: driving quality traffic to a website. Combining SEO and effective PPC management ensures the completion of this goal.

So, for optimal results, don’t separate your strategies or play them against one another. Try combining your SEO and PPC strategies and getting them to work together effectively.

How can we help?

Novicell is a full-service digital agency with over 20 years’ experience within SEO strategy, PPC marketing, online advertising and PPC management. We provide technical, quality and international SEO and PPC services. If you’re looking for an integrated SEO/PPC agency, why not contact us or arrange a call to speak with one of our dedicated consultants who will be more than happy to help you.