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SEO vs PPC: what is the difference?

Andy Thorne
SEO vs PPC: what is the difference?

Many companies find themselves asking ‘which is best: Search Engine Optimisation or Pay Per Click?’. Understanding the differences between eCommerce SEO and PPC can help you to decide the right time and way to invest in digital search strategies.

What’s the basic difference between SEO and PPC?

Not doing SEO is like standing in the middle of a maze and hoping that someone manages to find you. If you apply search engine optimisation principles to your website, you provide a map that greatly improves the chances of customers coming straight to you and starting to interact with you.

Ecommerce SEO can cost you nothing if you use some of the basic techniques to improve your website ‘searchability’. It’s an organic way to increase visitors to your website pages.

The Digital Marketing Institute defines SEO as “the process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial, or natural search results in search engines”

eCommerce PPC is the equivalent of holding a flag up to internet users showing them exactly where you are and what you sell, by paying for online advertising that’s connect to relevant keywords. It’s an investment in giving your customers exact directions to where you are in the maze.

That’s when it’s done well, as when PPC is done badly it’s a colossal waste of money!

To explore the differences between SEO v PPC more deeply, it’s worth reminding ourselves what each one involves.

The power of SEO

The Power of SEO

Want to be found on the first page on Google search? it’s time to invest into SEO

It’s believed that around 89% of online purchases begin with a search.

Check out Internet Live Stats to get a flavour of how many Google searches there are every second – it runs to tens of thousands!

The only way you can win sufficient levels of attention from potential customers is to be sure your pages are the ones they find when they search for your products or services.

However, you also need to be high up in organic page rankings for search results. Internet users become less and less likely to click on your page the further down the results you are. On page two? It’s still vaguely possible. On page three? Forget it, you are well and truly lost in that maze!

Search Engine Optimisation involves a series of steps to increase the chance of your pages being found in searches.

The more advanced the techniques you use, the more likely it is you will be found by your potential customers.

SEO can involve everything from improving load speeds to creating unique, quality content for websites, and judicial use of keywords. This ensures Google algorithms rank your website highly in search results and internet users are suitably compelled to click through.

Simple, organic, but extremely powerful. It reinforces your brand, building credibility and trust if you can be found easily in searches too.

When to invest in PPC?

When to Invest into SEO

To really increase those sales after pushing SEO for organic traffic PPC is the next step.

What if your SEO plateaus or you need to build website traffic quickly, or to generate greater numbers of visitors?

That’s when you would be wise to invest in a Pay Per Click campaign.

This involves spending money to get your website links placed within advertising opportunities on Google search results or social media.

The options for this are relatively complex and hinge on you selecting Google AdWords of relevance. Someone clicks on your link, and that then costs you money.

PPC campaigns can be fraught with pitfalls unless planned and executed using insightful marketing analysis and intelligence.

They also need to be supported by strong User Experience techniques.

It’s no good spending money to generate website traffic, only for site visitors to be uninterested in what you’re selling! Or, visitors could be looking for your products, but struggle to interact with your website when they land on it. All those costly clicks could result in poor lead conversion.

It’s like you paid the wrong people to come to find you in that maze, or you paid the right people then made them feel really unwelcome!

Also, PPC exposure can be met with a degree of mistrust by internet users. They know it’s paid for. Organic search results have a higher Click Through Rate (CTR) than ads.

Which is better,SEO or PPC?

Which is better, SEO or PPC?

SEO and PPC work at their best when working together.

As this guide shows, at the very least you need eCommerce SEO to make sure your website is found,

Then, if your business goals demand it – and you have the budget for PPC – investing in paid-for advertising online makes commercial sense.

Importantly, good eCommerce SEO improves your return on investment (ROI) in PPC, so the two are synergetic. Using both in tandem can achieve a higher volume of relevant website traffic, so a long queue of people heading to your position in the maze, who are genuine leads!

Also, testing keywords and analysing conversion data from PPC is an excellent springboard for improved SEO and organic page traffic. You can test keywords in PPC before you invest in advanced, long term SEO projects such as new website designs.

To maximise your SEO or PPC – or blend both into an effective, integrated digital search strategy – contact Factory Pattern for incisive and cost-effective support.