What is PPC and SEO? A Quick Overview

In moving a webpage up in visibility on search rankings, there are two major methods: PPC and SEO. In short, one is paid advertising and the other is more “organic.” First, a little about each.

Paid per click advertising goes by several names, including “paid search” or “search engine marketing. In short, it is the process of paying for advertising on sites and search engines. However, the advertiser is not charged until someone clicks on an ad. Typically, (but not exclusively) PPC is an auction where you compete for position against other advertisers.

There are many obvious advantages to this of course. Namely, PPC can allow for much quicker visibility advantages or conversions for advertisers whereas SEO is a long-term effort toward building a community to help the online presence. While it can take a long time to rank #1 naturally on most search engines, an advertiser can move above those organic pages in search results. Of course these advantages can be gained naturally too. So why pay? Space on these search result pages is at a premium. A huge number of users click the first link on a page whether or not it is an advertisement (either out of laziness or simply not knowing better. The chances to generate business are increased because of the prominence. It can quickly identify which markets are growing. Finally, competition is probably already paying for this space so companies don’t want to put themselves at a disadvantage. It is important to remember that paid searches involve other sites than simply Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Now for SEO. Search engine optimization is the process of moving a page up in the search results without it appearing in the section for paid advertisements. The catch is that there’s no magic bullet for achieving this rank. When a searcher decides to click on these results there is no fee charged to that website.

The difficulty is in optimizing a site so that the search engines recognize it as particularly relevant to the search query. This process can take time, and there’s no catch-all method for achieving it, as it varies by the type of site. SEO clicks may be free in that they aren’t paid advertising, but the time that must be invested certainly can be valuable and it can be quite a time-consuming process to learn all of the tricks required. Basic tips include relevancy though. To move up in the rankings, one must ensure that their pages is as relevant as possible to the search terms desired, including frequent use of keywords and related media.