What’s the Main Difference Between SEO and PPC?

difference between SEO and PPC

What’s the Main Difference Between SEO and PPC?

Are you looking to drive more traffic and clients to your website, but you’re unsure where to start?

With dozens of different types of digital marketing, like SEO and PPC, you don’t know which strategies will be best for your business. 

This is a common worry amongst business owners, so don’t feel like you’re alone. 

Keep reading to learn about the difference between SEO and PPC. This way, you can use these digital marketing tools to further your business goals and successes. 

Let’s dive in. 


The main difference between PPC and SEO is where the traffic comes from. SEO drives organic traffic, which is free. But PPC drives paid traffic. 

This is not to say SEO is entirely free because you still need to invest in creating valuable content. While it’s true the clicks on organic search results don’t cost anything, to improve your search engine ranking, you need to spend money on creating content such as:

  • Articles
  • Images
  • Videos 

Both PPC and SEO are part of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM encompasses tools companies use as part of their internet marketing campaign. Thus, both forms of advertising are beneficial for businesses. 

But let’s take a closer look at each method and its benefits. 

SEO Explained

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is when you run content campaigns to improve your overall rank on search engines. Some practical factors are:

  • Keyword research
  • Article ideation, curating, and editing
  • Link-building
  • SEO at the point-of-upload

Simply writing and publishing blog posts on your website will not improve organic traffic. Instead, it would be best if you integrated SEO tactics. 

The foundation of SEO is keywords.

Users enter a keyword or keywords into a search engine and receive results. You want your business to be the most trusted source of knowledge for those search queries. 

Once someone visits your website, you want the visitor to take another step, such as contacting your business or filling out an interest form. You need to nurture visitors to your website, so they take those next steps.  

Driving traffic alone doesn’t generate sales.

Advantages of SEO

SEO can eventually raise brand awareness. Your SEO rank should increase when you consistently create quality content for your website. Then, more people can discover your business on search engines as your rank increases. 

Increased brand awareness also helps to establish credibility. People trust the websites on the top of a SERP the most. Increasing your SEO ranking will improve your credibility and build trust. It will also enhance your online reputation. 

Finally, SEO is cost-effective. Even though SEO services aren’t cheap and take longer to generate results, SEO still costs less than outbound marketing strategies. 

Outbound marketing involves reaching out to customers to get them interested in your products or services. Some examples are cold calling and print ads. 

Conversely, inbound marketing, like SEO, focuses on creating and distributing content that attracts people to your website. Thus, spending money on SEO is more likely to generate traffic than outbound marketing, where you could spend a lot of money without gaining any leads. 

PPC Explained

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of advertising that helps drive traffic to your website. It displays paid ads on the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). 

As the name suggests, you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. 

It’s great for newer businesses that don’t have the resources to drive organic traffic or create compelling content. PPC gives your business a chance to expand your reach more quickly.

You can also customize and personalize ads to reach different audiences.  

Unlike SEO, PPC doesn’t benefit your company’s rank on search engines. While ads appear above organic content on SERPs, search engines clearly mark ads for consumers to see. 

PPC Benefits 

Similar to SEO, PCC is an inbound marketing strategy with many benefits. First, you can quickly reach your target audience. As mentioned, you can run different ads to target different audiences based on their interests and demographics.

This is thanks to Google Ads, the most popular PPC advertising platform. 

Further, PPC is measurable. You can easily calculate your return on investment (ROI) from paid ads. You will know how many clicks you get from the ad, and you can see which clicks converted to sales. 

Plus, because PPC advertising reaches customers faster than SEO, your sales should increase. If you create more sales, your organic traffic may increase as visitors tell their friends and family about your business. 

So, Which Is Better?

Both SEO and PPC are excellent choices. The most successful marketing campaigns include both. This is because marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. 

PPC helps achieve your short-term goals. You will get more visitors to your website, leads, and hopefully more deals if you spend enough. But PPC is not a cost-effective way to build your online presence. 

If you stop funding a PPC campaign, you will be right where you started before.

On the other hand, SEO helps achieve long-term business goals. SEO aids with consistency, which builds a loyal and engaged audience

With SEO, you optimize your website for the user experience by creating an educational and trustworthy blog that tells search engines you’re a reliable source of knowledge. 

In the beginning, PPC is important to promote your website and products or services. As your organic traffic builds, you can scale back on PPC advertising and use more SEO tools to continue driving traffic.

No business should ever rely entirely on PPC. Instead, SEO should always be your foundation because it creates a lasting impression on your audience. 

Now You Know the Difference Between SEO and PPC

Now that you understand the difference between SEO and PPC, you can begin creating a winning marketing strategy for your business. 

If you need assistance with digital marketing, contact us at Media Shark. Our programmatic, SEO, and social media services can drastically improve your business’s success.

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