What’s The Difference Between SEO and PPC?

Here’s a basic question that a lot of people have for us: What’s the difference between SEO and PPC?

First, the basics:

PPC advertising is used to make your business appear in the green search results. SEO is about making your business appear in the blue search results.

Second, when someone clicks on you PPC ad, you pay a fee. When someone clicks on your organic search listing, there’s no charge to you.

Third, PPC is advertising, while SEO is marketing. The difference between advertising and marketing is significant: advertising is a short-term investment in sales, while marketing is a long-term investment in sales (something I wrote about at length on Search Engine Journal a while back).

Other key differences:

  1. PPC works fast – your ads can be up and running in a day or two, generating clicks and bringing people to your website.
  2. Conversely, SEO is slow – it can take 3-6 months for an SEO campaign to bear fruit.

Which is Better – PPC or SEO?


While PPC ad clicks cost money, they can be a great source of long-term revenue for companies that test and optimize their ads, their landing pages, and seriously invest in conversion optimization.

SEO clicks are “free,” but they require constant investment in content development and website promotion. SEO never stops, and the effort required to stay on top is always increasing.

If you have the funds, it’s a good idea to test both.