PPC vs SEO: Understanding the Differences and When to Use Each


Apr 1, 2023
PPC vs SEO: Understanding the Differences and When to Use Each

In the world of online marketing, two terms stand out: PPC (pay-per-click) and SEO (search engine optimization). These are both methods of increasing visibility and traffic for a website, but they differ in their approach, cost, and effectiveness. 

In this article, we will dive deep into the differences between PPC and SEO, and discuss when to use each method for maximum benefit.

What is PPC?

PPC is a form of online advertising where advertisers pay each time a user clicks on their ad. These ads can appear on search engine results pages (SERPs), social media platforms, or other websites that allow ad placements. The most common platform for PPC is Google Ads, which allows businesses to bid on specific keywords and display their ads to users searching for those keywords.

How does PPC work?

To create a PPC campaign, advertisers must first select the keywords they want to target. Then they create ads that are relevant to those keywords and bid on the cost per click (CPC) they are willing to pay. Advertisers compete in an auction-style system where the highest bidder gets the top spot on the SERP. When a user clicks on an ad, the advertiser is charged the amount of their bid, and the user is directed to the advertiser's landing page.

Advantages of PPC

1.Quick results: PPC campaigns can be set up and launched within a few hours, and results can be seen almost immediately.

2.Targeted audience: Advertisers can select the keywords, demographics, and location they want to target, ensuring their ads reach the right audience.

3.Measurable: PPC provides detailed analytics and metrics, allowing advertisers to track the performance of their campaigns and make adjustments as needed.

Disadvantages of PPC

1.Cost: PPC can be expensive, especially for highly competitive keywords. Advertisers must constantly monitor their campaigns to ensure they are not overspending.

2.Ad fatigue: Users may become immune to ads if they see them too often, leading to a decrease in click-through rates (CTR) and conversions.

3.Limited reach: PPC ads only reach users who are actively searching for specific keywords or browsing certain websites, limiting their potential reach.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of optimizing a website's content and structure to rank higher in organic search results. This involves identifying relevant keywords, creating high-quality content, and improving the website's technical aspects, such as page speed, mobile-friendliness, and user experience. SEO aims to increase a website's visibility, credibility, and relevance, without paying for ad placements.

When to use PPC

PPC is a good option for businesses that want to see quick results and have a specific budget for advertising. It can also be useful for highly competitive keywords, as it allows businesses to bid on ad placements and increase their visibility. PPC can be especially effective for e-commerce websites or businesses with a specific product or service to sell.

When to use SEO

SEO is a good option for businesses that want to generate long-term, sustainable traffic to their website. It is also beneficial for businesses with a limited advertising budget or those that want to establish their credibility and authority in their industry. SEO is especially effective for businesses that offer informative or educational content.

Combining PPC and SEO

PPC and SEO can work together to create a comprehensive online marketing strategy. By using both methods, businesses can target a wider audience, maximize their visibility, and improve their overall performance. PPC can be used to generate quick results and test different keywords and ad formats, while SEO can be used to establish long-term credibility and authority.

Common mistakes in PPC and SEO

Common mistakes in PPC include overspending on bids, targeting irrelevant keywords, and not optimizing landing pages. Common mistakes in SEO include keyword stuffing, using black hat tactics, and not focusing on user experience.


PPC and SEO are two different methods of online marketing that can be used to increase visibility and traffic to a website. While PPC can provide quick results and target specific audiences, SEO can generate long-term, sustainable traffic and establish credibility and authority.

When using PPC, businesses should carefully choose their keywords and ad placements, and regularly monitor their campaigns to ensure they are generating a positive return on investment. When using SEO, businesses should focus on creating high-quality, informative content and optimizing their website for search engines and user experience.

By combining PPC and SEO, businesses can create a well-rounded online marketing strategy that maximizes their visibility and generates sustainable traffic to their website.


Q: Is PPC or SEO better for my business?

A: It depends on your goals and budget. If you want quick results and have a specific advertising budget, PPC may be a better option. If you want to generate sustainable, organic traffic and establish credibility in your industry, SEO may be a better option.

Q: How long does it take for SEO to show results?

A: SEO can take several months or even years to show significant results, as it involves building authority and credibility over time.

Q: Can I use PPC and SEO together?

A: Yes, PPC and SEO can work together to create a comprehensive online marketing strategy.

Q: What metrics should I track for PPC and SEO?

A: For PPC, metrics such as CTR, conversion rate, and CPA can be used to track performance. For SEO, metrics such as organic traffic, backlinks, and domain authority can be used to track performance.

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