What’s the Difference Between SEO and PPC?

by Kym Merrill

As a digital marketing agency, we offer a variety of services, including SEO and PPC. One common question we get is “What exactly is the difference between SEO and PPC?” It’s a fair question since both services help customers find your business on Google. However, the services are quite different, though they work together to get you the best results. Here are the very basic differences. 


SEO stands for search engine optimization. This means helping your site be found in what’s called the organic results on Google, which is everything not marked with “ad”. Instead of paying for these organic spots, Google uses a complex algorithm to decide which are the best websites to show. Search engine optimization is a long-term process of consistently improving your site so that Google (and users) like it and it shows up more in search results. 

Good SEO is cumulative and long-lasting. The longer you commit to SEO, the better your results will be. However, it takes time for SEO efforts to pay off. Expect about three months of work before you really start seeing good results.  


PPC is short for Pay-Per-Click (ads). This is a service that Google offers where businesses pay for their ads to be shown. Google uses two main factors to determine what ads to show and in what order. The first, obviously, is budget. Ads spaces are awarded based on an auction system, and being willing to pay more means you’ll show up more often and higher on the page. The other component is quality score. Google wants to make sure that people trust ads, so they give higher priority to relevant, well-designed ads over ones that seem scammy. A PPC expert can help you determine both the best budget and improve your quality score to get you the best results. 

PPC is immediate. Once you turn on your ads, you start showing up. However, when you stop paying for ads, you immediately lose that visibility. 


SEO and PPC really work best together. By using both, you can have your site listed in multiple spots on the search results page, meaning your site is more likely to be visited. PPC can start to bring in some immediate leads while your SEO efforts are getting ramped up. 

The question really isn’t “Should I use SEO or PPC?” For best results, you will want to use both to best reach your target audience. At Kite Media, we know this. Our SEO and PPC teams work closely together to get the best results for our clients. Contact us today to learn more! 

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