What are the differences between SEO and PPC?

I’m often asked about the differences between SEO and PPC. While both aim to increase website traffic and generate leads, they approach it in very different ways. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and focuses on optimising a website to rank higher in organic search results, to put it plainly. PPC, on the other hand, stands for Pay-Per-Click and involves paying for ads to appear at the top of search engine results pages.

Defining the contenders is essential to understanding their differences. SEO involves optimising a website’s on-page aspects, content, structure, and so much more to rank higher in search engines. The research and actions involved include keyword research, on-page optimisation, and link building. In contrast, PPC involves creating and running ads on search engines, social media platforms, and other websites depending on the strategy. Businesses bid on keywords and pay for each click the ads receive.

While SEO is a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort and patience, it provides sustainable results. PPC, on the other hand, can provide faster results but requires a good budget and ongoing tweaks to maintain performance. Ultimately, the choice between SEO and PPC depends on your goals, budget, and resources.

Defining the Contenders

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

As an SEO, I can tell you that SEO is the organic captain of the marketing world. It involves optimising a site’s content to rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for specific keywords and phrases. The goal is to increase website visibility and attract more organic traffic.

SEO is a long-term strategy that requires patience and consistency.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

PPC is the paid first officer of marketing. The process involves creating and running ads on search engines and social media platforms to drive traffic to websites. Unlike SEO, PPC provides instant results (if done right), but it requires a strong budget.

With PPC, you bid on keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business. When someone searches for those keywords, your ad will appear at the top of the search results page. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, hence the name pay-per-click.

PPC is a great way to get immediate traffic to your website, but it can be expensive if not managed correctly. To make the most of your PPC campaigns, you need to have a clear strategy, set realistic goals, and continuously monitor and optimise the ads.


When it comes to digital marketing, two of the most popular strategies are SEO and PPC. Both have their pros and cons, of course, and choosing between the two depends on your business goals, budget, and timeline. Let’s take a look at the differences between SEO and PPC.

Investment or Instant Gratification?

With SEO, you’re playing the long game. It can take months or even years to see significant results, but the investment is worth it. Once you’ve achieved a high ranking in search results, you’ll continue to receive traffic without paying for each click (I have put that very simply, STAYING at the top of the search results is a whole other ball game).

PPC, on the other hand, is all about instant gratification. You pay for each click, and the cost can add up quickly. You’ll most likely see results almost immediately, though.

Tortoise Pace or Hare’s Sprint?

Generating traffic through SEO efforts is like a tortoise – slow and steady. It takes time to build a good SEO campaign, but once you start ranking, you’ll have a consistent flow of traffic to your site, as long as Google keep their updates to themselves…

PPC traffic is more like a hare’s sprint – fast and furious. Expect to see a surge in traffic as soon as your ads go live, but it can quickly drop off once your budget runs out or the wrong keywords are targeted. If the strategy isn’t right, the clicks will still come, but the conversions won’t, it’s like pissing money up the wall if it’s a gung-ho approach.

Persuasion or Impulse?

SEO is all about persuasion. You’re convincing people to click on your link and visit your site. Once they’re there, you need to persuade them to take action.

PPC is more about impulse. You’re targeting people who are already searching for what you’re offering, so they’re more likely to click on your ad and make a purchase.

Marathon or Sprint?

SEO is a marathon. Let me tell you, it takes time and effort to build up your ranking, but once you do, it’s almost easier to maintain.

PPC is a sprint. You can set up a campaign quickly and see results almost immediately, but it takes ongoing effort to maintain and optimise your ads.

Hopefully, that gave some insight if you’re looking for info on SEO vs PPC – take a look around the site and see if any more content helps out.