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PPC Back to Basics Part 2: The Difference between PPC and SEO

As we mentioned in this blog post we started a blog post series to make sure anyone is able to find information on our blog about pay per click advertising ‘basics’. When I ask people running their own business if they are investing in pay per click (PPC) advertising I get told, every so often, that they don’t need to as their site is already showing up on search engine result pages. This prompted me to write this post on what organic and paid for search engine results are. Most people will agree that showing up on both organic and paid listings will bring you the best search marketing results so - if you are a bit in the dark on this topic – read on!

What are organic listings?
If your site is showing up on search engine result pages and you haven’t set up a pay per click account, chances are you are looking at an organic listing (unless you have an unknown beneficiary that is doing PPC for you). Organic listings are generated by an algorithm and a set of rules devised by the search engine to find the most relevant results on the web. The task of attempting to help a website rank higher in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) when certain keywords are typed in is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).


What are paid listings?
These are sponsored links, which are paid for per click by advertisers. Paid search is in essence an auction for advertising space on a SERP. Advertisers place bids on how much they are willing to pay the search engine for a click-through to their website. The bids help determine where the advertiser's ad appears, from the top position, all the way down through the right hand side of the page. The position of an ad is also influenced by the relevancy of the advert to the keyword. Our previous blog post touched about the specific benefits of pay per click (PPC) advertising. If you’re interested to advertise on the Yahoo! Bing network you can set up an account here.

So where organic listings appear as a result of an algorithm and a set of rules devised by the search engine to find the most relevant results on the web (aided by search engine optimisation efforts) paid per click listings appear as a result of paid advertising efforts.

Benefits of PPC

Paid for listings have some strong advantages as set out in the blog post ‘Why you should care about PPC’ such as immediate results, control over the ad copy, being able to amend ad copy quickly, reaching a targeted audience and you can closely measure results.

Benefits of SEO

To me (no expert in this field) the main benefits of SEO seem to be that organic results are ‘free’ (although you may pay for someone to look after your SEO) results take much longer to show than paid for results but will keep doing so whilst PPC is reliant on a budget. So you’re looking at long-term cost effective positioning.

Benefits of combining the two

Both PPC and SEO are search engine marketing techniques and have the joined goal of improving your web presence. They both have unique advantages that will help you achieve your online goals.

When using both techniques at the same time each method can benefit from the other

  1. PPC teaches which ad copy is most successful and you can split-test landing pages – knowledge you can use to the benefit of your SEO efforts.
  2. Clear landing pages with strong content will benefit your PPC efforts (you can better link ads to precise pages which increases ROI).
  3. You can learn from your PPC efforts which keywords perform best and push these in your SEO efforts.
  4. The other way around you can look on your site which words your customers use most and use this information to fine tune your PPC efforts.
  5. By using both SEO and PPC you also have a better chance to dominate the search engine results. Dominating the organic and paid search results will greatly increase traffic, and give the impression that you're an established presence in a particular market. Dominating both organic as well as paid for results can also be priceless when your business has to combat negative PR – you’ll have a good chance to share your side of the story.

In the PPC Back-to-Basics series we’ll help you to set up a successful paid search campaign. We’ll soon start another blog series too in which you’ll be able to find plenty of other digital marketing tips for your business, including SEO!

List of PPC Back to Basics Topics:

If I’ve interested you then follow this series as we’d like to make it easy for you to set up your PPC campaign and help you get the foundations right for PPC success. For a list of all planned topics look here

Other useful links:

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