This post aims to explain the concepts of SEO and PPC in the most basic form. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising are both marketing tools that are widely used for advertising businesses on search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
If this website is listed as number 1 for the term “marketing services”, Google thinks my website is the most important website for the term “marketing services” or the most important source of “marketing services”.
SEO is where you influence that position. You use techniques to make your site look more favorable to Google, so that you appear higher in the search pages or appear to be more relevant for a particular term.
For example, I may put the term “marketing services” on a number of pages across my website so that when Google reads it, it sees the term “marketing services” several times and therefore thinks it is an important website for that term.
SEO is a long and complicated process (as can be explaining it!), taking into account a large number of factors (one of which is putting keywords on your website, as in the example above), and it can take days, weeks, months or even years to improve your rankings for a particular keyword. You don’t pay Google a single penny when someone clicks on your natural/organic link, and you also don’t pay them any money to put you in a certain position in the listings. If you’re number 1 for a term, it’s not because you’ve paid them the most, it’s because Google things you’re the best website for that term.
PPC or Pay Per Click
PPC is a paid for advertising platform. You pay a certain amount per click – e.g. 50p – to Google every time someone clicks on your advert. Pay Per Click is a way for websites to appear in prominent positions on search engine results, quickly.
Whilst the display order of your advert does have links to the relevance of your website to that term (so by rule of thumb, my website would appear better for “marketing services” than it would for “buy aquarium”, as my website is much more relevant to the former), the model is largely based on the amount you are willing to pay per click. For the purpose of explaining PPC in comparison to SEO – if you’re willing to pay more than the next website, you’ll be higher on the Sponsored Ad areas (these are at the top and the right hand side of the search results pages).
You decide which keywords you want to appear for and how much you’re willing to pay per click in the campaign manager in the ‘back end’ of Google.
The image below shows where you’ll find the natural or organic listings in Google (blue) and the paid for or PPC adverts (red).