SEO and PPC: What They Are and How They Are Related

SEO and PPC are acronyms that are often used in the world of marketing and can be a serious help when it comes to drawing traffic to your website. However, what exactly do these terms mean, and how do they work together?

Defining SEO and PPC


SEO, or search engine optimization, is an effective way for a website to be seen. Best of all? It’s free! The optimization of any website can increase traffic and create a stronger online presence.

The methodology behind SEO is fairly simple. If you include relevant keywords in your website, and someone uses those words in a web search, they may see your site in the search results. Whether or not a search engine displays your site depends on how many of the keywords match, how much traffic visits your website, and more. These keywords essentially point a web search toward your website, while simultaneously ranking your website against others. Think in terms of an index in a book. The more terms in the index, the easier it will be to reference a certain subject within the book. While SEO is an extremely helpful tool, there are more ways to bring attention to your website.


pay per click marketing

PPC stands for pay per click advertising, which is another helpful tool in the marketing world. Similar to SEO, a pay per click search revolves around keywords. The major differences between the two are that PPC is paid, (hence the name), and is also geared more toward advertising.

Depending on certain keywords within your search, the search engine will bring up relevant advertisements on the top or bottom of the page. There is no charge until the link to the advertisement is clicked on. Once this occurs, the advertising company is charged a small amount of money, known as cost per click (CPC). This strategy is successful because everybody wins!

  • The searcher clicks on the ad because it is relevant to their interests.
  • The website wins because they are one step closer to delivering their product or service to a happy customer.
  • And finally, the search engine wins because of the CPC earnings.

How are SEO and PPC related?

As previously mentioned, keywords are the adhesive which bring these two forms of marketing together. The stronger the keyword, the more successful your pay per click or search engine optimization will be. Both attempt to amplify the reach of your website to the internet. They both work together using the same type of algorithm in order to bring the searcher the best results possible.

For example, let’s say I am interested in climbing, so I decide to search for “climbing gyms in my area”. The search engine pulls keywords from my search such as “climbing”, “gym”, and “area”. The search engine then uses keywords to find websites that match all three of those keywords, most of those keywords, or similar keywords, that others have searched for in the past. The more keywords that are relevant on a website, the higher up in the search results those websites will be, depending on if they get lots of visitors or not. These websites appear organically, meaning they are not spending money to have their website appear. This would be an example of SEO.

Here’s when PPC comes into the picture. Using the same keywords in my search, the search engine finds vendors whose keywords match with my search terms and places their ad(s) above or below the organic rankings. For this example, it may be a company that sells climbing shoes since they are relevant to my search. If I click on the ad and visit the site to assess whether or not I want the shoes, the search engine charges the shoe company a small amount for their marketing service. This would represent PPC, since the company paid the search engine when I clicked on their site.

These two forms of marketing can be extremely useful when it comes to advertising products or services, as well as drawing more traffic to your website. The appropriate keywords can make all the difference when it comes to helping people quickly navigate to your website, so why not help them out? After all, the more the merrier.

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About the Author:

Spencer is a business administration student with a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship at WWU. He is a determined learner who is passionate about building strong connections between businesses and the community, as well as examining consumer behavior in the growing marketplace. On the weekend, you can find him outside hiking, biking, windsurfing, and getting sunburnt.