Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) are the two well-known terms which are often regarded as linked, especially when we talk about Google. All over the Internet we come across several blogs and forums highlighting their views about both these terms. Some Google bashers, who try to prove some kind of conspiracy in everything that Google does, go to an extreme extent of explanation and make everything seem devious.
But how many of us really understand the difference between SEO and PPC? Do we have the required knowledge of both the terms so as to decide the difference or similarity between them or are we just swayed by the views of others? Are we being cynic at Google just because it grew to the most successful company from a diminutive University project? Or are we not able to accept the supremacy of Google as at present it has no competitors?
Whatever the answer is but I personally believe that there is no reason to doubt Google about it. The first difference between the two terms is that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a service provided by Google but we have adopted this process to make our websites available to the online world. On the other hand, AdWords is the only program run by Google through which it earns maximum part of its revenue.
The second difference is that SEO is used to increase the rankings of the website which is organic in nature i.e. there is no cost involved in it. It is completely free. What all you have to do is just study the algorithm of search engine, adhere to the policies and follow simple steps of optimization. Doing so will give you good rankings irrespective of any other factor. On the other hand, AdWords is a controlled process. It is costly when compared to SEO but much cheaper when compared to the ROI and offline marketing.
Third difference is between PageRank and Quality Score. PageRank is the value Google associate to the individual pages of the website. PageRank outlines the online popularity of the page and how important the page is in the eyes of Google. On the other hand Quality Score is associated with the keywords and ads within the campaign of AdWords. It is determined by Click Through Rate (CTR), keyword & ad text relevance, landing page quality and historical keyword performance.
The fourth difference is the factor of dynamism which is associated with both the terms but diverge significantly. When we perform SEO on a website and after some time we achieve say 1st rank on search engine, it is bound to change because of two reasons – change in search engine’s algorithm and concentrated efforts by our competitors. But this change is not instant. It may take months and even years to dislodge the position of our competitor’s website which is well optimized. On the other hand, the ad position changes frequently. As soon as we click the refresh button of the browser we can see the change in position of the ads and sometimes even complete replacement of ads and display of new ads.
The fifth difference is the how the cost is incurred. In AdWords, Google charges in two ways, either Pay Per Click (PPC) i.e. the advertiser has to pay when someone clicks on his ads or Pay Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) i.e. advertiser has to pay for displaying his ad thousand times. On the other hand, no such cost transaction is involved in SEO. Your website’s snippet will be displayed as many number of times as and when the keyword for which it is optimized is searched for. No cost will be paid or taken by anyone if your URL is clicked.
These are the few but not all differences between SEO and PPC. Those who believe that either of them affects the other are unnecessarily wasting their time and resources. These are two complete different things and must be handled differently and if possible, by different people. The only similarity between the two is that both of these are used to market the websites online and to increase the brand awareness.