SEO and PPC… these are virtually the quintessential terms you’ll have to understand in digital marketing. These are the acronyms that will pop up everywhere. Each and every digital marketer knows what they are, how they work and when to use them.
And, to be fair, every small business owner who owns a website or has a social media presence, needs to know what they are all about. More specifically, you have to know what’s the difference between these terms… What is SEO? What is PPC? – these are the questions you must know the answer to…
Let’s start with the obvious – SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, while PPC is short for Pay Per Click. Just by seeing these extended definitions, you should quickly understand what they are essentially about:
- SEO – a full set of strategies and techniques aimed at getting FREE traffic, otherwise known as organic traffic from search engines;
- PPC – another set of strategies and techniques that will help you get PAID traffic to your website; this traffic also usually comes from search engines;
You got that right: search engines handle an enormous amount of traffic – and you, as a website owner, will fight to get a chunk of that massive pie. You either do that with SEO or PPC – it’s your choice. Let’s go over the main differences between these two strategies:
This is the most obvious difference between SEO and PPC. While PPC has a direct cost, SEO is free. However, this is only true from a simplistic point of view. Yes, SEO is free, you won’t have to pay Google to rank on SERPs, as you would pay for a PPC campaign. The thing is, SEO is a lot of hard work, there are a lot of things you need to understand and you’ll have to do your homework: market studies, keyword planning, backlinking and many, many others.
On the other hand, PPC has a somewhat fixed cost – Google tells you exactly how much you’ll have to pay when to pay and it can even offer you a breakdown of costs for your campaign.
The traffic potential
In the long run, SEO will bring you more traffic, because it works passively; but only once you get everything right. On the other hand, PPC gets you guaranteed traffic – as long as you pay for it. Once you stop paying, the traffic stops altogether and you are left with nothing. The traffic in a PPC campaign might be very targeted and responsive to your offers, but only if you’ve done your keyword research properly. SEO, however, can get you vast amounts of both targeted and general traffic, which can help you a lot during the early stages of your website.
Simply put, PPC gets you bursts of good, targeted traffic, but comes at a cost. SEO gets you continuous organic traffic, as long as you are ranking for popular keywords.
The quality of the traffic
Sales – that’s what every business owner is focused on. And both SEO and PPC can bring in the big sales.
PPC, particularly if very targeted, can get you a lot of conversions. The big advantage is that you know beforehand how much money you will spend and create a financial plan.
On the other hand, SEO works great if you manage to rank for relevant keywords. However, getting those hungry customers is a lot of work, so be prepared to get your hands dirty.