Digital Marketing 101: The Difference Between SEO and PPC


Did you know that 51% of all website traffic comes from organic searches? This means at least half of the visitors you are getting are free… kind of.

When it comes to marketing campaigns focused on increasing traffic, SEO and PPC are two top choices. Instead of choosing which one to budget for, consider both in your strategy.

What is the difference between SEO and PPC? How can the two work together to provide you with more traffic? Keep reading to find out.

The Difference Between SEO and PPC

The main difference between SEO and PPC is that one is organic and the other is paid. Paid ads, or PPC ads, appear at the top of the page above organic SEO listings on search engines.

Traffic from organic SEO is free and PPC traffic requires a cost for each click. SEO and PPC work best when they are integrated into a marketing strategy and aligned.

SEO Pros and Cons

One of the main benefits of SEO is that it can improve your organic traffic. Other advantages of this strategy include building awareness, branding, credibility, and trust.

With all of these things, you organically improve website traffic. This drives more opportunities for your business.

Traffic from organic search is free, but developing visibility takes time and money. There is no direct charge for each impression or click. SEO is generally more cost-effective than other methods of marketing relevant to traffic.

Small business SEO is common because organic traffic is sustainable and can help grow a business even when marketing dollars are cut back.

SEO services can also benefit businesses through:

  • Return on investment
  • Improved click-through rate (CTR)
  • More clicks overall

Once you’ve established yourself in organic results, competitors won’t be able to buy their way past you. Organic search visibility is not a quick approach and will require time and effort.

PPC Pros and Cons

When it comes to SEO vs. PPC, PPC is more costly upfront and down the line. Yet, businesses look to paid search to reap the following benefits:

  • Position on pages
  • Improved ads
  • Visual product ads
  • Brand visibility
  • Precise targeting

Another one of the PPC benefits is that it is still a cost-effective marketing option despite being more costly than SEO. This is because PPC allows you to have tight control over your budget.

You can determine how much you want to spend each day and create a fixed amount. Paid search requires constant investment so if you stop paying, your ads go away, and your lead generation declines.

PPC campaigns are also a quicker way to get in front of customers with your business and products. The laser-targeting methods use search keywords, geography, and time of day to get in front of potential customers.

Using SEO and PPC in Marketing

Although there is a difference between SEO and PPC, you can and should use both in your marketing campaigns.

Start with paid search to get in front of your customers and build visibility of your business. Once you begin creating leads through paid search, you’ll gain more organic leads through SEO.

Working with a marketing firm will help you uncover a timeline that includes both techniques in an advertising campaign.

For more tips on marketing, check out the other posts on our blog.