Digital marketing is broad and varied. There are numerous strategies that allow you to target and achieve the same goal, as well as similar strategies that target completely different goals. The trick is knowing what option will suit your business best, and how to utilise it.

In this post, Blend Commerce will outline what SEO and PPC are, the differences between them, and which is best for your business. Keep reading to find out more.

What is SEO?

SEO, short for search engine optimisation, is a process that targets unpaid traffic rather than paid or direct traffic. It involves producing and optimising website content and pages specifically for search engines and their requirements. This improves the quantity and quality of organic traffic to a website or web page.

Techniques to optimise for search engines include:

  • Researching and utilising keywords
  • Optimising title tags and meta descriptions
  • Finding and filling competitor content gaps
  • Increasing authority backlinks to posts and pages
  • Using internal linking to help Google find your content
  • Indicating topical relevance and authority

These all indicate to Google and alternative search engines that you know what you are talking about, and others will benefit from the content of your website. Search engines will then rank your content higher in the SERPs for the search terms relating to it, resulting in more clicks and conversions.

What is PPC?

PPC, short for pay-per-click, is an advertising option in which you pay a fee every time your ad is clicked on. All about relevance, this digital advertising option allows you to specify the exact parameters around your ad placement. Advertisers can bid on the perceived value of a click in relation to the keywords, platforms, and audience type. If no one outbids you, your ad will be shown at the top of the SERPs when the parameters of your advertisement are met.

For example, if you want to create an ad for your new product offering, a navy velvet pillowcase, you can choose for your targeted ad to appear when a user searches “blue velvet pillow”. You can also narrow it down according to your target audience's location, age, and gender. This results in a much higher likelihood of a conversion compared to if you were advertising this product to a wider audience.

SEO vs PPC

When considering SEO or PPC, there are two main differences to note. Firstly, PPC ads appear at the top of the SERPs above the organic search listings that are influenced by SEO. Secondly, PPC has a cost for each click (which doesn’t always result in a conversion), while the organic traffic to SEO optimised listings is free. 

Another thing to consider is that SEO takes time and effort to get right. For new businesses, it can be quite a slog to the SERPs. On the other hand, PPC can drive traffic to your site quickly and effectively.

The last thing to consider is that pay-per-click advertising will result in the user landing right on the product page you want them to go to. Search engine optimisation may take them to your supporting content on the subject of that product. You may find that this latter option is more beneficial, as it shows the user that you are an authority on the subject and that your products and services can be trusted. It can also increase your brand awareness.

Should my business focus on PPC or SEO?

When it comes to digital marketing, integrating your marketing techniques is always the best option. However, if you are to choose one of these marketing options, you should first consider your individual business.

As previously mentioned, if your business is just getting off the ground, you will struggle to rank highly in the SERPs. In this case, investing in PPC is a great option, as it will boost your offerings to the top of the search results page and give you the chance to convert. Of course, you still need high-quality content and offerings. Otherwise, users will quickly bounce from the page.

If your website is more established and you have a decent domain rating or niche audience, optimising for SEO is a great option. Having a well fleshed out site with plenty of topically relevant content not only leads users to your site for certain search terms but boosts your site and all the pages on it simultaneously.

Since each option has such great potential and benefits, the best way forward is to utilise both. Using PPC for certain products and promotions, and SEO to build topical relevance and authority will ensure a well-rounded strategy to achieve your digital marketing goals.