So both terms are to do with search engines, but they are very different animals.
PPC – Pay-Per-Click
This is a kind of advertising offered by search engines where you pay every single time someone clicks on the link to your website. You set up an advertising campaign with the search engine, choosing keywords you want to be found for and then the search engine gives you an estimate for the price per click. For example ‘Restaurants Bournemouth’ would currently cost 29p per click, but ‘Web Design Bournemouth’ costs £5.58 per click!
Once your advert is running it will appear at the top of search results, marked as ‘Ad’ and the great thing about PPC is that it is instant.
There are a few problems though. With a cost per click of £5.58 and up to 1,000 searched per month for ‘Web Design Bournemouth’ you can see how costs could quickly mount up. It’s also worth bearing in mind that not all the people searching or clicking will be clients, they could be people looking for jobs or even be your competitors. Finally some searchers are wise to the PPC adverts so they just don’t click on them.
The final problem is that PPC doesn’t actually improve your website’s natural search engine ranking position and as soon as you stop paying per click you’ll be gone.
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
This is the activity of improving your natural search engine position by making improvements to your website inline with how Google (they have an 80% market share so we are mostly thinking about them) ranks websites.
The natural listings appear after the PPC adverts and the local listings (for location based searches).
Improving your search engine ranking position is something that is more gradual, you need to work on your website content (both what the public can see and also the code) and also on your website’s relationships with other websites. You can read more about this in some of my other FAQs and blogs.
The bad thing about SEO is that it takes time, but the good thing is that it lasts and in the long run should be more cost effective than PPC.
If you want to learn more about PPC and SEO feel free to get in touch for a chat