What’s the difference between SEO and PPC?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) can both be described as a form of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). That’s because they both use search engines to drive traffic to a website. But they do so in different ways. Choosing between the two can be daunting. Especially if you have no idea what they are about. There’s no need to be worried, however. We’re here to help find what best suits you. We’ve written down below the differences between SEO and PPC.

The Basics

Before starting, it is important to learn the basic definition of the two.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method of online marketing that optimizes your website and content in organic search results. By organic, we mean getting traffic through Google’s list of 10 links on each page. Not through the ads at the top. This means that SEO is free. The aim for every SEO is to get higher ranking in the search results for better visibility and more chances of clicks.
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) is another form of online marketing that creates a series of adverts based on chosen set of keywords. As the name suggests, you pay search engines, like Google or Yahoo, for every click you get. These are the ads you see at the top of search engines.


As stated above, SEO offers free clicks while PPC does not. However, those are only the initial or the surface-level costs. There are still some factors to be considered. They are as follows:

  • SEO – Unless you are a marketing whizz, you will need to hire someone to do SEO for you. If you don’t have the right knowledge and strategy, you will struggle to do it yourself. This means hiring a professional to do SEO for your site for a few thousand dollars a month. This will be an ongoing cost.
  • PPC – PPC only requires you to pay for the times people click your ad. PPC will also need ongoing management like SEO. You can do this yourself but it might be easier to have a company do it for you. This means an additional cost on top of your ad spend.

Search Results Position

Usually, PPC Ads are located above the organic results. Of course you have to consider the price. You can’t determine your ad placement, however. This is based on how much you bid and how good your landing page is.


If you were to choose between SEO and PPC Ads, how quickly will you see the results?

Using SEO requires a good strategy and it will normally take several months to see results. As mentioned above, the growing number of websites vying for the top rank makes it harder to show up in the search engines. It is not a task that you can easily achieve. It takes commitment and upkeep. You have to properly build and optimize your site. Which is why, once you reach the desired place, your site will most likely retain its position among the top longer than PPC Ads.

PPC Ads are comparatively quicker to set up. You can easily get results in a far shorter period. The more you pay the quicker and higher you will show up. Of course once you stop paying, your placement will disappear.

Which is better?

This all depends on your goals and your budget. If you need quick results and you are willing to pay for them, PPC is the way to go. If you want to build something that will last, however, we recommend choosing SEO. To get started, speak to one of our consultants today.