104 - What's the difference between Pay Per Click & organic SEO?
Apr 29 2013

What’s the difference between Pay Per Click & organic SEO?

I often get asked what the difference between Pay Per Click (PPC) and organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is, so I thought I would write a short blog on it to set the record straight.




PPC does what it says on the tin.


You set up keywords to appear in Google search engines as an advert. You then pay for each click until your budget runs out.


Sound expensive? Well if you do it wrong it can be, but if you do it right, it can be a great source of new traffic to your website.


The best thing about PPC is that you can set it up yourself with only a minimum amount of computer skills. You can create a Google account for free and set up all of your campaigns and keywords before you activate anything. Adwords will even make suggestions along the way to help you out with keywords.


Once you are happy with everything you can activate your campaign and you will start appearing in Google searches in about 10 minutes.


The Positives

  • Easy to set up
  • Appear in results instantaneously
  • Only pay when someone clicks
  • Pick, choose and change keywords in real time
  • Work to your budget per day


The Negatives

  • Once your budget is used up, you stop appearing in the results pages
  • Adverts only appear in Google, so you loose out visibility in Yahoo, Bing etc
  • Can be expensive if not managed properly
  • Some users can be put off by adverts


That aside, its still a great way to get people onto your website quickly and efficiently.


Handy Tip: Remember your negative keywords which will save you from appearing in non relevant searches and wasted budget spend – I should know, I’ve learnt the hard way!




Unlike PPC, organic SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.


It takes time to reap the full rewards and needs a carefully thought out approach to ensure you get results.


Unlike PPC, however, once you achieve a rank in search engines, you don’t pay for each click and can never run out of budget, so never loose out on an opportunity to win new business.


The ins and outs of organic SEO are a whole other blog, but in short they are a mixture or compliant code, correct use of relevant keywords, great content on your website and good quality link building campaigns.


The Positives

  • Search results are organic which means they will be relevant to the user
  • Search engines will rank your website highly if your website is optimised well
  • Once optimised, and with regular work, a keyword will rarely fall
  • No additional cost for advertising


The Negatives

  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint – Optimising takes time
  • You need a bit of knowledge of SEO to get started
  • Changes to Algorithms can affect ranking
  • Achieve ranking across all search engines


Handy Tip: Use Google Adwords keyword finder to find SEO rich keywords. Aim for keywords that have low competition, but high searches!




So what is best? Well, that depends on you, your business and what you want to achieve!


A friend of mine runs a business selling discounted computer equipment in damaged boxes. He never knows from week to week what stock he will have on his shelves, so for him PPC is the best solution for his Search Engine marketing.


In contrast, lots of our clients are in completely different situations where the keywords they want to be found by rarely alter. For them, organic SEO is by far the best options.



Another approach we have applied in the past it to Use PPC to kick-start a search engine presence, whilst at the same time running a tandem organic SEO strategy.


That way businesses get instant results via PPC and in time can reduce or stop using PPC all together.


Whichever option you choose; make sure you only involve yourself with legitimate SEO practices.


Black hat techniques (such as keyword stuffing, buying bulk links) can get yourURL black listed forever!


Google’s algorithm (software used by Google web search engines that assigns a numerical weighting to your website, with the purpose of ranking its relevance) over the last few years has firmly put the focus on creating organic, natural SEO so avoid these like the plague!


I appreciate this is a whistle–stop tour, so if you have any questions or need anything explaining, please leave a comment below.


In the mean time if you want to know how to kick-start your SEO or PPC campaign, please get in touch!

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Dave H

As our MD, David finds inspiration from running a busy agency. His SEO and content marketing tips, business-savvy suggestions on keeping your company moving forward and industry expertise will give you that helping hand when it comes to making the most of your time.

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