Learn PPC One Step at a Time – Introduction: What’s the Difference Between PPC and SEO?

To learn PPC basics, you should first learn the difference between PPC and SEO.

Pay per click (PPC), or paid search, is an important search engine marketing tactic where an online business owner pays for each click on their ad. To learn PPC basics, you should first learn the difference between PPC and SEO.

After finishing the Learn SEO One Step at a Time series, I received lots of emails (hit me up anytime – matthew_winn[at]volusion[dot]com) asking for a similar series introducing pay per click, or paid search, basics. Never hoping to disappoint, we’ll be going through the ins and outs of this search engine marketing tactic, all in the name of helping you learn PPC to boost your online success.

So, my friends, here we go! Lesson one of our Learn PPC series: what’s the difference between PPC and SEO?

Pay per click advertising (PPC) is growing in importance to online businesses around the world. In fact, PPC has reached a $29.8 billion industry in 2010, an increase of 17% growth from 2009. And out of all aspects of internet marketing, PPC takes a whopping 50% share (MAGNA Advertising Forecast).

Pay per click, also known as paid search, is a model of search engine marketing where you pay a certain amount of money each time someone clicks one of your ads. These ads are displayed based on keywords entered into search engines by people looking for specific information. PPC ads appear as “sponsored links” on search engine results pages, and can usually be found at the very top of the page or on the sides.

While PPC is similar to SEO, it’s much different in a number of ways. With PPC advertising, your website itself doesn’t have to rank at the top of search engine results for your ad to appear on the first page. This provides your online business an opportunity to compete with larger companies, whereas with SEO it’s a much tougher battle to land on the same page.

Additionally, PPC ads allow you to appear in search engines for keywords that you might otherwise not rank well for via SEO. Furthermore, PPC brings qualified traffic to your site that’s more likely to convert. “Qualified traffic” means that visitors coming to your site are actually looking for specific details about your products instead of general information. “Convert” means that the visitor coming to your website actually takes the action you want them to perform.

Another advantage of PPC is that you have a lot more control over where your message appears. Unlike SEO, PPC allows you to target specific messages based on specific searches. You also have full control over which geographies (countries, states/provinces, even cities) you want your ads to display. Online business owners who use PPC effectively tend to have higher sales and brand awareness.

Sound interesting? Maybe something you want to start for your online business? Join us for the rest of this series to learn more about keyword research, bidding strategies, effective PPC copywriting, and how to create conversion machines with landing pages!

Happy selling!
-Matt Winn, Marketing Associate, Volusion


Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

One Response to “Learn PPC One Step at a Time – Introduction: What’s the Difference Between PPC and SEO?”

  1. SEO Copywriting Services

    Thanks for this! PPC has been working for my business for over 1 year and it’s great ROI.


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