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What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

There is always a lot of debate on whether to use SEO or PPC for your business promotion. Let’s try to settle this today by discussing the differences between the two.

But first, to refresh your brain, let’s do a quick overview of what exactly SEO and PPC are.


  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) involves making improvements to a website’s content, structure, and other elements so that it appears higher in search engine results.
  • The aim is to appear higher in the SERP, or search engine results page, for selected keywords and phrases that are related to the website’s content.


  • PPC (Pay Per Click) entails online advertising that charges businesses a fee each time their ad is clicked.
  • Advertisers bid on keywords that will be relevant to their target audience. If users search for these specific terms, the ads may be prominently displayed at the top or bottom of the search results.

Now, let’s look at the differences between the two and decide what’s best for your business. 

Positioning on the Search Engine Results Page

The most apparent difference between SEO and Paid Search is the position of results on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Paid Search appears on SERPs both at the top and bottom of the page.

The top four results for paid searches appear first on the SERP, followed by the best ten organic results, followed by another set of paid search results at the bottom.

SERP Real Estate

Optimising your profile is essential to using some of the latest features of search engines. When you zoom out on a SERP, you’ll notice that most of the page has organic results. Organic results encompass various features like FAQs, shopping, maps, and extended results, among other things.

Employing effective SEO strategies and creating compelling content can help you capture a significant portion—up to 80%—of the SERP real estate. That additional enticing information is usually obtained from your profile on Google My Business.


SEO is often performed on a deposit or monthly basis for a set period. You must optimise your site regularly and make modifications when Google updates its algorithms. You’ll have an established cost that can be modified up or down. You’ll continue to pay the price if you hire a company to optimise or create content. 

PPC involves the purchase of media. Depending on your objectives, the budget can be minimal or massive. An agency usually charges you an upfront cost or a proportion of your expenses. As the market evolves and keywords become more or less competitive, PPC costs fluctuate. In the long term, PPC’s profit margins are lower than those of SEO. This is because you receive immediate results and pay for a position at the top of SERPs.


When you generate content for ranking your site in a search and driving traffic, you don’t need to invest money in advertising it to your target audience. A click on organic results is free. But SEO is not something you can set and forget. Optimisation exists to maintain your material’s ranking and create fresh material regularly. When done well, SEO work can have a lifespan of a few years, if not more.

A PPC campaign will only last as long as you keep buying media. When you stop investing, the campaign expires, and you must restart it to see results. While SEO strategies can take a long time to provide results, PPC advertising can produce results in as short as a few hours.


PPC lets you target your audience with pinpoint accuracy. When you create a PPC campaign, you will decide who you want to attract with your adverts. Are you interested merely in a specific geographical area? People with particular interests or specific age groups? That is something that PPC can do.

SEO does not permit audience targeting. To overcome this, a professional agency can create an SEO strategy that draws in people interested in particular subjects.


When choosing between SEO and PPC for promoting your business, it’s crucial to weigh the following: 

  • Consider your budget, goals, and target timeline. 
  • SEO prioritises organic search results, while PPC offers immediate visibility through paid ads. 
  • Integrating both strategies can optimise your online presence and reach your desired audience effectively. 

Understanding the distinct benefits of SEO and PPC will help you make calculated decisions that drive your business’s growth.


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