The Difference Between SEO and PPC

It has come to our attention recently, that not everyone has been fully briefed on the differences between SEO and PPC. We will explain the differences so that at the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of both PPC and SEO.

Modern technology – the internet and mobiles – has meant behaviours have changed and this has caused a huge amount of change in the way we advertise and market our products and services, both online and offline. Change is great, it means we get to use new tools and methods to help us market ourselves and get more leads and sales. However there are downsides. Keeping track of it all!

We have assumed that everyone knows what PPC and SEO is and how it can help your business, but after many conversations and networking sessions, we have realised this isn’t the case and that we should help shed some light on the differences between SEO and PPC.

What is PPC? – PPC (also known as Pay-Per-Click) is an online advertising method which allows you to display text and image based ads on a range of search engine sites like Google and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. PPC is a process of displaying your advert with a message online and only paying for that advert once someone has clicked on your advert.

What is SEO? – SEO (also known as Search Engine Optimisation) is a long term marketing strategy in order to raise your organic search engine ranking. This means that the better the SEO, the higher you will appear on the Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines.  Since this is not an advertising method, you will not pay when someone has found your website through Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines.

The Difference Between SEO and PPC

Time Frame

SEO is a long term commitment. By making changes to your SEO today, you will not see any immediate changes; it requires a lot of commitment and time in order to make SEO work. And we all know time is money. SEO is not always as free as some marketers make it out to be. PPC works in real time. If I create an advert today, with the right keywords and location I will start getting impressions and hopefully clicks to my website within minutes.


PPC is a paid for online advertising method and you will be paying for each click on your advert. In comparison, SEO is free to click on so you might rather go down this route. I would agree with you, if you were planning on doing SEO yourself. When considering your agency choices, you will find that paying someone to look after your SEO will cost you roughly the same amount as if you had decided on doing PPC instead. This is due to the amount of work, commitment, research and monthly optimisation to your website in order to improve and maintain a high ranking. The cost for SEO will vary depending on how many pages you are looking to optimise. With PPC is doesn’t matter how many pages you have, we can select just one product or service to promote and control the budget through daily budget limits.

Big Competitors?

In certain sectors you will find that there are large amounts of major competitors, and getting onto the first page of any search engine is extremely difficult for smaller or newer companies. This is mostly due to the amount of history and page visits these major sites will be getting each day. Even if your SEO is as good as there’s you will not be able to get anywhere near them on the Google ranking without spending time developing unique content that other website owner’s want to link to. This is why PPC is great, as it enables small companies to be seen as equals with their competitors and you can sometimes be seen actually above your biggest competitor. It will take a lot of time and link building in order to achieve the high Google rank that you want, but there is never any guarantee with SEO. You may find that you have spent years optimising your website in order to increase your Google ranking and you are still on the second page. So even though with PPC you pay for the position on Google, at least you have a guarantee that you are being seen on the first page and can be seen alongside your main competitors.

There are of course many other differences that separate these two marketing methods, but we believe these three are the most important when considering whether you should pick SEO or PPC. In an ideal world, we would suggest that all our clients are using both PPC and SEO. This would ensure maximum impact and exposure to your customers.

We hope that we have managed to clear up the differences between PPC and SEO. If you have further questions that you would like to discuss with us regarding these two services, please feel free to call us on   0115 880 0211 or email us. We’ll be more than happy to discuss which marketing method is best suited to you.

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