Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising programs—like Google Adwords—are ads placed in the sponsored results section of a search engine results page. You must pay a fee whenever someone clicks through the ad, which directs to your website. The more competitive the keyword you choose, the higher the cost per click (CPC.)  The image below is an example of sponsored results.

With search engine optimization (SEO), you can build your site’s traffic by using keywords that relate to your business in your on-page and off-page marketing content. Although you will have to invest more time and energy optimizing your site, you can achieve high search engine rankings in the organic search results.

The Difference: Keyword Research

For both PPC and SEO, it is important to understand qualified traffic. Qualified traffic is looking for the information or services that your site provides, and not landing on your site in search of something completely different.

When researching keywords for PPC, you should look for keywords that bring in the most money for your investment, according to Search Engine Land. Focus on keywords that suggest a goal completion, that represent an area that is profitable for your business, and that you can’t easily rank in with organic search results.

Keywords for PPC should be used in your ad campaigns, ad groups, ad copy, and on your landing page.

SEO is different. Keywords for SEO tell you what people search for—and why. The keywords will be used as a foundation for everything you do in your internet marketing strategy, from the content on your website to social media. PPC and SEO key

PPC or SEO: Which one wins?

Most people understand that sponsored search results are advertisements. According to, most web searchers trust organic SEO listings more than paid listings. Most clicks come from organic links—but people who arrive to a retailer’s site from paid ads are more likely to make a purchase.

When using SEO, your margin for error is large. If you happen to use a keyword that doesn’t rank your site well, you can try again. Sometimes you’ll even rank for keywords you didn’t consider! The margin for error for PPC, on the other hand, is very small. Every mistake will cost money. It is necessary to constantly monitor which keywords aren’t working.

So, what marketing strategy should your business use? If your website is brand new and lacks authority, it can’t compete with high ranking competitors. In this case, it could be beneficial to spend a large portion of the budget on PPC campaigns. All businesses—big or small—should spend some time growing their web presence using SEO. Keyword-rich content will help rank your site higher in search engine results.