SEO and PPC: What’s the difference?

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difference between seo and ppc

If you are interested in digital marketing, or have been involved in developing a digital marketing strategy, then you will know that both Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) are big deals. But what is the actual difference?

SEO

Search Engine Optimization also called as SEO is essentially the techniques that you need to be using for people to find your site on Google. It is how you signal to the search engine that your page is relevant and people will want to look at it. In essence, SEO means “make Google like you” (other search engines as well, but unless you’re in China nobody uses those anyway).

Good SEO will improve your position in the search results for your chosen keywords. If you own a shoe shop in North Sydney, for example, you might try to rank for “shoes Sydney”, “Shoes North Sydney”, “high heels North Sydney” etc. This would mean that when somebody puts those terms into Google they will be more likely to see your website.

SEO (good SEO at least) is based on steadily increasing the rankings for your chosen keywords organically. Essentially this means making your website more interesting and user friendly, setting up active social media profiles linked to your business and link building. This all takes time, but it produces robust results.

Once you start to get more people visiting your page, your ranking will increase. This is especially true if they stay on your website for a while, rather than just scanning it and leaving. Ranking on the first page for your keywords will give your business a big boost.

PPC

Pay Per Click, as the name implies, is where you pay Google money every time someone clicks on the link to your website. This is a very fast way of making your business visible. On the surface it seems very simple, but in reality just as much effort goes into a PPC campaign as an SEO one.

Because you have to pay money each time someone clicks on your website, it is absolutely vital that your PPC keywords are as specific as possible. If people who are not looking for your exact product are clicking on your link, you are losing money.

Taking the shoe shop example above, you would probably not bother paying to be featured in “shoes Sydney” because this would cover such a broad area. If you only had a limited range – say only women’s shoes – you may not even bother with “shoes North Sydney”!

A better option would be to go for things like “women’s formal shoes North Sydney” and “stiletto’s North Sydney”. This would ensure that the people who see your ad want your product, so there is value for you in them clicking on it.

You will also need to think about your budget. Google Adwords (which is where you should start with PPC) allows you to set a monthly budget for your PPC, so that if something goes wrong you don’t lose too much money.

Initially you would probably start with lots of keywords and a low budget on each. Once you know which keywords generate the best ROI, you would end the campaign for most of the others and give the high-results campaigns a higher budget.

If multiple websites are trying to run a PPC campaign for the same keyword, you will have to bid to have yours be visible. The websites that offer the most money per click to Google will be the most visible (there’s more to the algorithm than that, but it’s generally how things go).

A well rounded digital marketing campaign run by a good agency will utilise both SEO and PPC. You will probably even use the same keywords for both, although the SEO campaign will use more of them. PPC can also be a help to your SEO, by bringing traffic to your website which will drive up search results.

Akash Singh

Fountainhead of Google SEO Trends. An SEO Expert, a WordPress Developer and a blogger by choice.

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