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SEO vs. PPC: Key Differences Explained

In the world of search marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay-per-click) are equally important. They have worked to support the improved presence of businesses in the digital field. But, a common debate surfaces: Is SEO better than PPC or the other way around? I consider people who confuse SEO and PPC to decide either being better than others lack an effective understanding of digital marketing. They know nothing about their strategic use and impact on business. Each of the techniques is unique in its way and sometimes used collectively for better online reach.

An understanding of the difference between SEO and PCC is essential for marketers. It helps them to determine which tactics are to be leveraged for their selected marketing campaign for business promotion.

Differences Between SEO and PCC

1. Definition

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of modifying the website to boost its visibility during organic search in various search engines like Google, Bing, Yelp and others. The goal of SEO is to support businesses to generate increased organic traffic to their website for free. The higher the content of the website in the rankings of the search engine, greater the chances of getting clicked.

PPC: Pay Per Click (PPC) is the online marketing type which is used by advertisers to pay a fee each time any user clicks their advertisement on the search engine page. The search ads which appear at the initial part of the page with sponsored written on the top are PPC ads.      

2. Key Components


  • On-page SEO: It is on-site SEO which involves optimising action executed on the webpages of the business to improve content for users and ranking on search engines. The targeting of the right keywords with an appropriate percentage of content is key to effective on-page SEO. The process also includes interlinking of pages, image optimisation, content structure, straightforward URLs and alt text. However, avoid keyword stuffing, unnatural phrasing, irrelevant website linking and others. Effective on-page SEO create a better content experience for the users and raises high engagement which drives increased conversion.   
  • Off-page SEO: It involves all activities executed beyond the webpage of the business and all over the search engine to rank higher on the SERP (search engine results page). Off-page SEO is getting backlinks for your site, achieving brand image on various sites, gaining reviews, involving in guest blogging, social media, anchoring text, engaging in forums, etc. It is essential for building the reputation and domain authority for your site. Without them, your site with rank at the bottom of the SERP. It is also essential for growing your site reach and getting increased referrals as well as social traffic. An effective off-page SEO makes your site or business to be seen by others.
  • Technical SEO: It is the approach of assuring the meet of technical requirements of a website to ensure reach of enhanced organic ranking. The work which happens behind the website development to optimise your site for the target audience is referred to as technical SEO. A clear sitemap in technical SEO provides valuable information on important pages and files within your site. Moreover, technical SEO assures quick site loading, makes sites mobile-friendly and uses HTTP for assurance of higher security. The site crawlers used by Google are part of technical SEO. They help in discovering new updates in content within sites to compare it with other sites to ensure better ranking.  
  • Keyword Research: Keywords are an essential part of SEO practices. They are phrases and words used by people to find their desired products and services on the search engine. For example, you are looking to buy dresses for your beach vacation. The keywords used are “beach dresses”, “short beach dresses”, etc. Keyword research is essential in SEO as it helps in identifying the best keywords to be used for queries to get perfect search engine results. The use of high-value keywords provides most relevant and highly qualified traffic to be diverted to the website. It can be accomplished by understanding the needs and wants of the consumers.

In general, there are four keyword intents:

  • Navigational which is used for finding a specific page or product.
  • Informational is used to search for specific information about anything which appears on the search engine results page.
  • Commercial is researching any product or service to make a purchase or conversion.
  • Transactional which is used in completing any conversion or purchase on the search engine.

Content Creation and Management: In SEO, content creation and management is essential. This is because it helps marketers to draw qualified traffic for their website and enhance organic ranking on the search engine page. It also helps businesses to establish themselves as key leaders in the industry with regular posting of new content. However, it does not mean quantity over quality and always the other way around. The content in SEO is required to be aligned with the search intent and topic. In SEO, high-quality content means informative and engaging writing that drives shares and backlinks.  


3. When to Use Each of Them:

SEO and PPC:

4. Positive Factors

5. Negative Factors

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How keywords are to be targeted in SEO and PPC?

You are to understand the demographics of your target customer along with location, geography and other elements to place your ads. The keywords are to be selected through continuous research and analysis by relating with the details of the product.  

Is PPC and SEO both required for an effective digital marketing campaign?

Yes, they are both required to create a strong campaign. However, they may be preferred as either in certain situations broader audience targeting, operating in a competitive market and branding.


The simple difference is that SEO is a free campaign strategy to search while PPC is a paid search. PPC and SEO are equally important in creating a strong digital campaign. However, as a business person, you need to which of them would be more suitable in what situation to get you the best ROI.

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