Understanding the differences between SEO and PPC

What’s the difference between SEO and PPC?

It’s easy to stay hidden online within the hundreds of thousands of websites and content produced that may be  similar to yours. How do you get your website and information to stand out? What makes a page rank really well on sites like Google and Bing? Knowing how to get in front of your digital audience means knowing which marketing strategy works best for your business.

Understanding SEO and PPC for Digital Marketing

Two great online marketing strategies to start with are Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click advertising. Both strategies are used to get your website to appear within the top rankings of a search engine results page (SERP), but they have different ways of getting there.

What is search engine optimization?

Example of Organic Search Results on Google for the term Vacation Packages
SEO example – Organic Google Search Results

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website via organic search results. In order to successfully achieve SEO, you need to understand the search engine’s ranking factors and how to best create content that best abides by those factors, and is also useful to your target audience, in order to appear higher in the search results.

Benefits of a Good SEO Strategy:

  • Builds authority and relevance in your industry, making your website the #1 choice for both user and search engine
  • Organic results outnumber any other kind on a SERP
  • Get a broader understanding of your audience and what they are searching for

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?

Example of Pay-Per-Click ads in Google Search for term Vacation Packages
PPC example – Google PPC ads in search results

Pay-per-click advertising is a form of online marketing in which an advertiser pays a fee every time a user clicks on the ad. The advertiser will bid on specific keywords in exchange for the ad’s appearance at the top of the search results page.

Benefits of PPC Advertising:

  • Higher positions on the SERP
  • See immediate results with the paid traffic that is directed to your site
  • Able to target the exact audience you’re aiming for
  • You can quickly make changes to ad campaigns

How To Decide Between SEO and PPC for Your Website

Consider Your Budget

You will want to know what you can expect to spend when starting with PPC ads in your industry. This can give you a general idea of what your PPC budget should be. If you don’t have the ppc ad budget, then focusing on SEO could be the better option. However, putting in efforts to rank organically isn’t free and it will take longer to drive traffic to your website. Whether you have an in-house SEO or work with a marketing agency, you’ll need the time, energy and resources that successful SEO strategy requires.

Consider Your Time

Achieving results from SEO takes time. While optimizing your content for the best organic listings is a great way to build authority and trust among the search engines, you do have to be patient before you can really see major differences. One benefit of PPC is that your content is instantly placed at the top of the search results, leading to an instant boost in traffic. However, you’ll still want to make sure your paid content is worthwhile. The search engine’s #1 priority is to provide meaningful, relevant and useful information to its users; you’ll need quality ad copy and a great webpage to match.

Consider Your End Goal

Are you trying to expedite the sale of a certain product? Promoting a sale or limited-time offer? PPC can quickly boost e-commerce sales by creating an ad that links to a specific product. PPC also comes in handy if your competition includes big name brands who have a “monopoly” on the search engine results.

Just wanting to establish more of a solid foundation for your website? Not every website needs instant traffic. Perhaps your website is informational and instant sales or leads are not necessary at this point. Focusing on SEO to build your website’s authority can help you establish better trust and credibility with both the user and search engine.

How SEO and PPC Can Work Together

Choosing whether to focus on SEO or PPC or both will depend on the type of growth you a looking for online, your website, and your industry. However, there are benefits to using both tactics simultaneously in order to really maximize your results.

It’s possible to appear in both an ad and the organic listings within in the same search query. If your ad places you at the top of the page and your SEO efforts result in a high ranking position, holding that dominant presence on the SERP is definitely beneficial.

Combining the keyword data from both campaigns can give you great insight to the needs of your target audience. In the end, you’ll have two dynamic sets of research and data for both campaigns. The goal once you’ve started SEO and PPC is to continue to increase the click through rate for those listings.

Getting Your Site and Content Ready for SEO and PPC

Ready to optimize your content for Google’s first page? Want to create a search engine ad? At WCN Digital, we specialize in both SEO and PPC, as well as other online marketing services to get your content out in front of your target audience. Let’s get started; give us a call toll-free at 317-222-1299 or fill out our contact form.