Success as a B2B website owner means generating revenue from online sales. But you can’t achieve this if your site isn’t generating enough traffic! There are many ways to promote your site to your target audience. Two of the most popular and effective methods are SEO and PPC (pay-per-click and search engine optimization).

Much has been said about both techniques. Some would even go as far as pitting them against each other and comparing which between the two is better.

I’ll nip this issue in the bud by saying it’s not an either-or situation.

Both increase your site’s visibility differently, giving you more reason to implement them simultaneously for your business to succeed!

In this post, we’ll look at what makes PPC distinct from SEO, how they can help achieve your website goals, and how to implement them together to build a cohesive campaign.

The Difference Between SEO And PPC

To understand what separates one from the other, you must first know the playing field that both marketing strategies share.

Google is the best place to search for anything under the sun. You can guarantee that the search engine has a page for every question you may have.

For every search query, the results are divided into two sections.

Difference between SEO and PPC
Screenshot: Google Search results

The first part is where all ads appear.  This is the space where most PPC campaigns take place. 

PPC is an online advertising model where advertisers bid for the opportunity for their websites to appear in the search results for specific keywords that searchers type in organically. The bid’s price range depends on the niche of the business and the keywords it wants to bid for. Highly profitable niches with keywords generating thousands of monthly searches cost more than low-profile niches with few searches.

For example, a law firm in Denver would pay more for the high-demand keyword “Denver law firm” than a thrift shop would pay for the low-demand keyword, “used printer stand.” In other words, this is paid advertising, and the cost of the ad depends on how much competition there is for the appropriate audience. 

Below the ads are the pages Google believes are most relevant to the searcher. These are called organic search results and display the best quality results at no cost to the company that provides them. Also, because they’re not marked “Ad,” they have a high level of credibility with searchers. So, this is where cutthroat SEO activity occurs. 

The pages that rank on top of organic search results don’t magically get there overnight. Instead, placement on page one of search results  is the result of months — if not years — of creating great content and building backlinks, which are two of the measures Google uses to determine what content is most worthwhile to searchers

Now that you have a general idea of what PPC and SEO are, let’s break them down into their most crucial components:

PPC Gives You Visibility In An Instant

With PPC, you’re buying a spot to appear on top of Google search to maximize your visibility. Ideally, the more exposure you provide to your site, the better your results.

Of course, just because your site shows up on top doesn’t mean it will produce your desired results. You also have to launch a well-thought-out PPC campaign that hits all cylinders.

It starts with designing a landing page to turn visitors into leads or customers. Using a landing page builder tool like Instapage or Unbounce should make this much easier for you. They provide templates to help you create high-converting pages so you can focus on monitoring your campaign instead.

You can even customize the user experience from your landing page by showing them the correct call to action on each page. 

To utilize website personalization from your landing page, you must identify your target visitors and segment them accordingly. Then, create personalized content within the landing page to show each segment. Also, you can create a campaign that combines your PPC efforts with Facebook retargeting ads. For example, someone can visit your PPC landing page and leave without doing anything. In this case, Facebook will show an ad on their feed to draw them back to your page and get them to perform your desired action, such as signing up to get a free e-book.

SEO Takes Too Much Work And Time

Unlike PPC, there’s no buying your way into organic SEO. That means you can rank your website yourself without spending even a dime. So it’s a good and bad thing simultaneously (more on that in a moment). 

However, one of the main problems of SEO is the number of different variables you have to worry about.

You need to optimize your website from top to bottom for your SEO efforts to succeed. We’re not just talking here about including your target keywords on their respective pages. We’re also referring to making your site load faster, tweaking your site to ensure that all the important pages will be crawled and indexed by search engines.

This makes SEO much more difficult than PPC since you’ll also have to manage your landing page and conversion funnel. With too many variables at play with SEO, your work is cut out for you.

However, there are ways to make things much easier in ranking pages for your desired keywords. Start by setting up your website on a top website builders platform. They not only help you create your site, but they have also optimized their servers to help your pages achieve the best loading speed possible, which is another factor that Google values highly when choosing how to rank your site.

Even so, ranking takes time – it’s not automatic (unless you use PPC), so you should expect to put in some work.

If done correctly and you get fortunate, expect to see substantial traffic within 2-6 months at the earliest.

Even then, no guarantee will happen due to the competitive nature of your SEO marketing approach. For example, your competitors may be publishing even better content and acquiring more authoritative backlinks than you are, so it may not have overtaken its competitors even if your site is improving.

PPC Can Get Expensive

As effective as PPC is, it may not be a sustainable venture.

Once a PPC campaign concludes, you have to keep bidding for keywords for your landing page to appear on. It’s possible to keep earning money from your campaign and launch a new one every time, but it’s a constant investment on your part. You have to keep bidding and spending money to generate leads and conversions.

While businesses are supposed to shell out cash for their advertising campaigns, it is in complete contrast to the opportunity SEO offers.

SEO Produces Sustainable Rankings And Traffic

The great thing about SEO is that you can immediately see results once you start ranking on the first page of search results.

Even better, you can generate as much traffic from your ranking even if you’re not doing anything!

Of course, the higher your ranking is for your target keyword, the more traffic you can expect. But as long as you’re appearing on the first page of Google for a keyword with thousands of searches, that’s still viable traffic you can eventually convert.

Using SEO And PPC Together

As you can see, this post has never been about pitting PPC against organic traffic. In fact, it’s quite the opposite — you need both PPC and organic traffic for your online business to succeed.

Start by launching a PPC campaign bidding for various keywords within your budget. The key here is to get your first PPC campaign right to generate profits and use that money to run another campaign for better keyword bids.

While the PPC campaign is ongoing, proceed with developing content for your website, with each page optimized for its respective target keywords.SEO allows you to target keywords and draw your target audience into the multiple stages of your sales funnel. This is true for most B2B companies with their lead generation strategies grounded on optimizing their websites for keywords with informational and commercial intent.

SEO and PPC: Keyword intent
Screenshot: SEMrush

Informational content is meant to showcase your expertise on a topic and educate readers. People who find your website from informational keywords won’t be inclined to buy from your site just yet.

Nonetheless, this helps establish your authority in the industry and ease them down to the following stages in your funnel.

Also, you can leverage informational content on your site with your email marketing strategy. For instance, include an opt-in email form on these posts to grow your subscribers. Then create a drip campaign and effectively convert them into customers.

Once you’ve developed and launched your SEO campaign, head back to review the performance of your PPC ads. See if you could reach your goals and hit your ROI for this particular campaign. Determine whether you should run a much more improved campaign or hold off for now and see how things go.

A few months after launching your SEO campaign, you should see traffic coming in from organic searches. 

Determine which pages are driving the most traffic and find ways to squeeze out the most conversions from the traffic they generate, whether to generate more leads or acquire more customers.

Key Takeaways

Combining SEO and PPC in your digital marketing strategy is a recipe for success. 

Remember that you’ll have to develop the right tactics for your campaigns to make this work. Nonetheless, using both to their fullest potential will help your site reach more of your target audience and convert them into customers from start to finish!

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About the author

Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in the digital marketing field. His work has been published on SEO and affiliate marketing-specific niches like Monitor Backlinks, Niche Pursuits, Web Hosting Secret Revealed, and others.