Search Engine Marketing: PPC vs. SEO

Posted by Guillermo Mazier on Jul 28, 2009 5:12:38 AM

Search engine marketing can be hard to wrap your brain around for a variety of reasons. There's a lot to it. No one but Google knows the real algorithm. It changes. There are tons of acronyms flying around every conversation about it. Some of it takes months to implement, some of it takes days. Some of it you pay for as you go; some is up front cost and then nada until you want to refresh things.

So how do you navigate search engine marketing conversations? Since you'll need to if you do want to show up in Google (and you do).

In this short series of blog posts I'm going to explore the terminology and the basics of search engine marketing. To start, let's talk about one of the two very different, and very important in different ways, types of SEM (Search Engine Marketing): PPC (Pay Per Click). (The other type is SEO - Search Engine Optimization - which we'll talk about tomorrow).

Pay Per Click
PPC is a form of search engine marketing that allows you to buy key words and phrases. For example: you can buy the phrase "Northeast Indiana" and when people type this phrase into Google, your ad will appear either at the right or the top of the page (like so below):

Ad at top of search results:

Ads alongside search results:

In Pay Per Click, you purchase the selected phrase (which has been researched and suggested by an SEM specialist), an ad is written (like the ones above) to go with your phrase and you pay per time that a user clicks on your link.

Benefits to Pay Per Click include:

  • You only pay for the clicks that you get.
  • You control which key phrases and key words you appear for (if you want to stop appearing for a certain phrase or try a new one, you can very easily and quickly).
  • It works instantly. Once you have selected and bid on a word/phrase, your ads are on the site and generating results within days. Search engine optimization can take much longer to generate high level results.
  • You choose your price. For each key phrase, you bid a certain amount per click. The higher bidders end up higher in the search results. But you're in full control over what you are bidding per click for your ads.

Stay tuned for an overview of SEO.

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