The main difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) is that traffic coming from SEO (organic) is free while traffic generated from PPC is not free (as the name implies you have to pay a cost per click). This is also the reason why you may sometimes see the terms organic search engine listings and paid search engine listings (or Paid Search Advertising, PSA).
Both SEO and PPC are part of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which is part of your overall Internet Marketing campaign. Yet where should you devote your efforts, time and budget? It is true that PPC campaigns can get websites noticed, as they are thrust to prime positions and can be highly targeted. Yet if you run a business, you are looking at the long term growth and success of that business, not simply instant results. If your website is not well optimized for search engines, and you don’t take steps to achieve this, then you might constantly be looking for quick results from PPC campaigns. Yet this comes at a very high cost, and it’s a cost which never ends. In the meantime, if you are not focused on search engine optimization, then you might be missing other opportunities for growing your website effectiveness. This includes taking advantage of multiple social media platforms and growing local customer support through reviews and links, all of which will cost far less to implement. A relevant and SEO blog and newsletter, for example, will build great content on your website and simultaneously trigger the search engines to rank you highly.
If you are running a care home in Melbourne, for example, your SEO efforts could link you to countless other healthcare organisations, local community websites, related social media pages and local news and media organisations. You will become noticed by potential customers, other businesses, and also the search engines as a relevant and important care home in Melbourne. If you opt for the lazy approach of putting some basic service and contact information and then starting an ongoing PPC campaign, however, then you are not building your identity or brand, you’re not engaging with the community and it’s constantly costing you money. You may well gain some business with PPC, but you won’t build that long-lasting trust and identity which comes with well-implemented SEO.