What’s the difference between organic SEO and pay-per-click campaigns?

Welcome friend! This article outlines the differences between organic search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. We’ll explore what you can expect to achieve from each of these acquisition strategies, along with delving into the benefits to help you decide whether your business is best suited for SEO or PPC — or both!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. SEO is the process of taking steps to help a website or piece of content rank higher on search engines like Google.

The key difference between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO involves ‘organic’ ranking, which means you don’t pay to be in that space. Search engine optimisation means taking a piece of online content and optimising it, so search engines like Google show it towards the top of the page when someone searches for something. 

Let’s look at it this way. When someone types’ flourless chocolate cake’ into Google, they are probably searching for a recipe, ingredients, and instructions on how to make it. If you wrote an article about making a flourless chocolate cake, you would want people to find your recipe. For anyone to find it, you need to rank above all the other websites with recipes for flourless chocolate cake. It can be challenging, but that’s what SEO marketing is all about.

Benefits of SEO

SEO has significant benefits for websites and can lead to long-term exponential growth. Brands that take SEO seriously can build credibility and trust with audiences, making it an integral part of a digital marketing strategy. Here are some other benefits:

  • It boosts your credibility: A site that ranks high on search engine results pages is typically considered high-quality and trustworthy by search engines, boosting the credibility of your business. 
  • It doesn’t have to cost you anything: Apart from time, SEO does not cost anything. Search engines crawl your site 24/7, promoting valuable content and helping you find new customers organically. 
  • It supports content marketing: Original content and SEO work hand in hand; by creating helpful content for visitors, including text, images and videos, your site will rank better in search results. 
  • It maximises PPC campaigns: Unpaid (SEO) and paid marketing strategies (PPC) work exceptionally well together. PPC helps your site appear at the top of paid search results, while SEO organically does the same. 
  • It gives you a competitive advantage: If you consider that results on the first page of a Google search get over 90% of traffic, you cannot afford not to be there, especially if your competitors are. 
  • It can help you reach more people: SEO can help you attract anyone no matter what stage of the buying process they are in. 
  • It helps you rank better in local searches: Local searches such as “electricians near me” are becoming more common. And nearly 80% of local searches on mobile lead to conversions. Local SEO strategies can help you attract searchers who are often ready to buy or book. 
  • It improves website visibility: SEO is about making your site search engine-friendly, but it also can improve the experience a customer has when visiting your website. 
  • You get measurable results: With SEO, you can track changes in rankings, conversions and website traffic. Platforms like Google Analytics provide comprehensive information, allowing you to drill down to an incredibly granular level.
  • It improves user engagement: If you have a site with helpful content that matches the searcher’s intent, they will likely spend more time browsing, which ultimately can lead to more conversions and increased ROI.

What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click. PPC is a form of advertising that allows you to pay a fee to have your website on the search engine result page (SERP) when someone types in specific keywords or phrases to the search engine. The SERP will display the ads you create to direct visitors to your site, and the fee you pay is based on whether people click your ad. 

When executed well, PPC can earn you quality leads. If you can create a seamless user journey, it could result in a massive return on investment. Pay-per-click advertising is most common in search engine results pages, like Google or Bing, but is also used on social channels. 

Benefits of PPC

  • PPC ads are cost-effective: With PPC campaigns, you have complete control over how much you want to spend. You only pay when visitors click your website or landing page link. 
  • PPC ads produce fast results: If you’re a startup or small business, you likely don’t have time to wait for the effect of organic, social, or direct traffic to kick in. With optimised PPC ads, you can propel yourself to the top of the SERP within hours of launching your campaign.
  • You can easily control and test PPC ads: It’s easy to control the keywords you are targeting, ad placement, or budget with PPC ads. 
  • PPC ads allow you to target your ideal customers: With PPC ads, you can skip past cold audiences to target a warm audience ready to buy your products and services.
  • Algorithm changes have little effect on PPC ads: Between the constant Google algorithm changes and the 200 ranking factors, getting free traffic from search engines is challenging compared to PPC advertising.

We are not recommending that you ditch your SEO efforts altogether. Your paid advertising should complement your SEO strategy instead of replacing it. When people search for your keywords, you know their search intent and can display the most relevant ad to your audience. This means more clicks and a greater chance of a conversion.

Although different, businesses see the best results when they align SEO and PPC in their marketing.

If you’d like to learn more about how SEO and PPC advertising can help your business, we’d love to hear from you!

Written by Andrea Sevilla

Andrea is our Marketing Consultant & Copywriter who works with our clients to craft content for their websites, blog articles, promotional materials and more!

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