The Crucial Differences Between SEO & PPC


If you are new to the subject then SEO and PPC might sound like similar things. The truth is that they are completely different ways of trying to attract more visitors to your site. This means that it is well worth looking at both methods and trying to work out which one is better for any given site.


What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is all about getting organic traffic to a site. This is done by targeting certain keywords or phrases that are relevant to the niche. If it is carried out well then when people search for those words or phrases the site that has had SEO carried out on it will rank highly in the search engine results page. This means that more people are like to come across it just by searching for terms related to it.

What Is PPC?

PPC is Pay Per Click. In this case the site owner is also trying to get more people to visit the site. However, the approach is very different. With PPC the site owner pays to get visitors directed to visit them. This is sometimes called a paid search engine listing, which is exactly what it is. The person running the campaign chooses the words or phrases they want to target and pay every time someone clicks on the paid links to their site.

The Cost

The way of calculating the cost of these different methods also varies greatly. When it comes to SEO it is free, to some extent. In real terms, unless it is a site in a not very competitive niche a lot of work is likely to be needed to get a good ranking. This means that the SEO is very often outsourced. The cost of doing this can vary a lot depending upon how much work is needed done and who does it. With PPC the cost comes down basically to how many people click on the paid links. The more people who click the more expensive the campaign will be.

The Potential Number of Visitors

Statistics show that sites that have earned a top 5 ranking due to SEO work on them tend to receive more traffic than those which are paying for a PPC campaign. This is because more people click on the top organic search results than on the paid listings. This is despite the fact the paid listings usually appear above or beside the top organic search results in the screen that the person doing the searching sees.

The Potential Conversions

In both cases, the number of conversions the site obtains comes down largely to the keywords and phrases that have been targeted. Certain phrases show an intent to do business, while other vaguer terms may be used by people just looking for general information. Most experts will tell you that PPC has a higher conversion rate than SEO. The main reason for this is that it is more tightly focussed. An SEO campaign will generally include a number of phrases and may even accidentally get the site rated on additional phrases which don’t show an intent to do business on the searcher’s part.


The truth is that both SEO and PPC are excellent tools for attracting more visitors to a site and trying to do business with them. This is why a lot of companies choose to carry out campaigns using both methods at the same time. In situations where just one of the two needs to be chosen the final decision will depend upon a number of factors, such as the competitiveness of the niche and how much work would be need to get a high ranking for organic searches.