Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click marketing, are two of the most popular digital marketing techniques. They are both ways in which you can get more traffic to a website and increase the sites online visibility. There can often be confusion between the two, as the have similar aims/goals. But there are key differences that set them both apart.
The traffic you gain from SEO is said to be ‘organic’ as opposed to traffic gained by PPC. This is because you don’t pay for any SEO traffic. Whereas you have to pay every time someone clicks on your site when using PPC. Though PPC is not ‘organic’ your site will show up in the sponsored links section above ‘organic’ search results. So in theory, people will see your site before they scroll down to ‘organic’ results. The downside of this is that consumers know it’s a sponsored link and can be reluctant to click it. In which case, an improved search rank through SEO can be more beneficial.
Both SEO and PPC utilize keywords in order to work. But there is a difference in how they do it. PPC marketing looks at bidding for certain keywords to appear higher up on sponsored results. On the other hand, SEO looks for popular keywords that a relevant to the site and use a few of them for the website. Each page of a site will have meta-tags with popular keywords for good SEO.
This is possibly the biggest difference between the two. In theory, it is possible to use SEO without paying anything at all. But, you can hire an SEO company to help you with keyword research and site analytics. It may cost money, but you’re likely to see better results – unless you’re an SEO expert yourself. With PPC, you are going to be constantly paying money every time someone clicks on your site. So you’re likely to pay small sums of money over a longer period. Usually, the benefit of getting traffic via PPC outways the cost you pay. The big cost difference between the two is that there’s no way to use PPC for free, you have to pay.
Both these marketing methods have different periods of longevity. SEO can last longer, the keywords you use can be effective for a longer time period. With PPC, it lasts for as long as the keyword you’ve bid for, remains popular. Also, PPC can only last for as long as you have the money to pay for it. Although SEO can last for longer, PPC will guarantee you a search result in the sponsored links section. So, it will always remain above ‘organic’ results. Even if you have good SEO, you could still slip a couple of places on the first page of results.
Both SEO and PPC are great techniques to improve the stats of your website. It’s important you understand the key components of a good SEO/PPC campaign. You can find an article here on the fundamentals of SEO. And a piece here on PPC mistakes that could ruin your campaign.