About 68% of all online activity begins with a search engine like Google. Unfortunately, 75% of people never look beyond the first page. If you’re not appearing on the first page of a search, consumers might not find you.

With search engine marketing (SEM), you can give your website’s ranking on search engine result pages a boost! As part of your SEM strategy, consider search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC).

What is the difference between SEO vs PPC? Which one should you use to generate more business? Keep reading to find out!

After reading this guide, you can make a more informed decision for your entire digital marketing strategy. Read on to learn more about SEO and PPC today.

What is SEO?

Before we discuss SEO vs PPC, let’s look at each separately. What exactly is search engine optimization?

SEO is an organic SEM marketing strategy. You won’t pay to improve your ranking. Instead, you can use a combination of tactics to rank higher on Google.

You can appear each time someone searches for your product or service online. Then, they can click on your website to explore your content. Once they’re on your site, you can direct customers to shop or contact you.

A higher ranking on search engines can help you:

  • Generate brand awareness and recognition
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Position your website ahead of competitors
  • Position you as a thought leader in the industry
  • Boost your credibility
  • Increase brand trust and loyalty
  • Generate more leads, sales, and conversions
  • Improve your ROI

SEO drives 1,000% more website traffic than organic social media. About 60% of marketers say SEO is their highest source of leads. SEO leads have an almost 15% close rate, too.

There are a few things you’ll need to develop your SEO strategy.


The first step to developing your SEO strategy is to gather audience and keyword research.

Take the time to determine who your customers are and what they care about. You can segment your audience into groups, too. For example, you can create personas based on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Household income
  • Buying behaviors
  • Pain points
  • Language
  • Education
  • Interests
  • Hobbies
  • Marital status

Then, you’ll need to gather keyword research for each group. You can use tools like SEMRush, Keyword Planner, and Google Trends. Focus on longtail keywords with a high search volume.

Your SEO strategy will involve multiple types of SEO.

On-page SEO involves optimizing your content. You’ll need a target keyword for each page or post. The target keyword should appear in the:

  • Page title
  • URL
  • Opening paragraph
  • Closing paragraph
  • Body text
  • Image file name
  • Image alt text
  • An H1

You can also sprinkle secondary keywords throughout your content to avoid keyword stuffing.

Once you have a list of keywords to work with, you can create content for each one. Focus on high-quality, informative content that demonstrates EAT.

EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

The second type of SEO is technical SEO. You’ll need to make adjustments to your website to improve your ranking. Google looks for fast, mobile-optimized, secure websites.

It also looks for websites that focus on improving the user experience (UX). You can appeal to Google’s Core Web Vitals to improve the UX on your site.

You can also focus on local SEO by optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing.

The last type of SEO is off-page SEO. You’ll need backlinks to improve your domain authority. Backlinks are links that send readers from one website to yours.

You can start guest blogging or working with influencers to generate backlinks.

What is PPC?

Now that you know more about SEO, let’s discuss PPC marketing.

Pay-per-click advertising allows you to create eye-catching digital ads. These ads can appear on search engines and social media platforms. You can create either text ads or visual ads.

You’ll pay each time someone clicks on your ads. The cost-per-click (CPC) can vary based on your target keywords.

You can determine who your ads appear in front of based on demographics or keyword research. When someone clicks on your ad, they’ll arrive on your website. Then, you can use persuasive language to convert those visitors into leads.


First, determine who you want to appear in front of based on demographics. Precise targeting can reduce your spending.

Then, you’ll create a campaign. Each campaign contains different ad groups. Each ad group can include multiple ads.

You can also use remarketing. Remarketing ads appear in front of previous website visitors. You’ll get a second chance to convert those visitors into leads.

The Difference Between SEO and PPC

Now that we’ve discussed your SEO and PPC strategy, let’s compare the two. What’s the difference between SEO vs PPC?

SEO is an organic marketing strategy while PPC is a paid advertising strategy. Both can improve your ranking on search engines.

SEO, however, can take time before you improve your ranking. With PPC, you can arrive at the top of a page within a day of creating your ads. Your ad placement varies based on your ad quality score.

Both your PPC and SEO strategy can help you generate brand awareness and website traffic. In fact, you can use one strategy to improve the other.

Use your PPC campaigns to determine what keywords people use to find your site. Then, use those keywords to create fresh SEO content. You can answer the questions people are asking to appeal to their search intent.

Your SEO ranking will increase as you generate more traffic through PPC marketing. A higher ranking can help you generate more business.

You can also use A/B testing with your PPC strategy to determine what ad copy appeals to your customers. Then, you can use that information to improve your website copy.

Instead of looking at the difference between SEO and PPC, consider using both together.

SEO vs PPC: Your Guide to Dominating Search Engine Marketing

To recap, what’s the difference between SEO vs PPC? SEO is organic while PPC is paid. You can use both to improve your entire search engine marketing strategy.

With SEO and PPC, you can give your business the boost it needs.

Ready to get started? We can help.

Request a free consultation from our team today to get started.