Search Engine Optimization vs. Pay Per Click

There’s a bit of confusion over what is “Search Engine Optimization?”  There are many acronyms used by people who have limited exposure to the search engine marketing field. There’s no blame in them trying their best to clarify what things are to others who have no idea what different acronyms like SEO, PPC or SEM mean.  However, we’ll do our best here to explain truly what Search Engine Optimization means vs.  Pay Per Click (aka PPC)

We work on optimizing websites to rank higher in Search Engine Results Pages (i.e., SERPs) using Search Engine Optimization here in the Seattle area and many other cities (since we are not dependent on location per se minus meeting our client; at the same time, our San Diego, Boise and Portland Clients seem to be quite happy despite never meeting us in person).  Frankly, you can equate “Search Engine Optimization” to the Organic SEO Services explanation we give under our services page.  Basically, we do everything possible to tweak  your website (On-page Optimization) and build links to the site so that the owner of the website can rank higher in the search engines.  These tweaks and link building basically help the site fit into Google’s definition of relevant sites.  They use 200+ factors and these changes we make & links we build appease these rules better than most.

We’ve done such a good job at it, we have a page dedicated to some of our SEO Success.

The other day, we got a call from a recent client saying “Oh my gosh.  We saw marked improvements already and it’s only been 2 weeks since you finished building links for us.  I can only see the future getting rosier.

As the phrase states, we “optimize” websites to conform to the Search Engine’s algorithms.  Bear in mind there are more than one algorithms in terms of Search.  There’s Google’s “Organic” Algorithm.  There’s also a “Local Search” Algorithm that utilizes the Organic algorithm, but is different and improving every day (that’s our way of saying it needs quite of bit of TLC moving forward).  There’s also Bing’s and Yahoo’s search algorithms (but it’s been reported that Bing now powers Yahoo’s search).  And there’s many other search algorithms and we do our best to help our clients appear as high as possible via optimizing their site for search.

The time it takes can be anywhere from several months to several years.  We do NOT guarantee performance, but many of our clients have said they have been shocked at how fast and how great the improvements are.  The search engines constantly tweak their own algorithms and there’s reportedly manual raters in these companies as well.  So, it’s hard to predict the changes because they fail to make them public minus their blogs they product.

In start contrast, there’s PPC or “Pay Per Click” advertising.

The most well known form of this is Google Adwords.  Instead of slowly over time organically improving your website, you get instant click overs to your website by paying a specific amount for each time the ads are clicked over to your site.  They can range from less than a dollar for very uncompetitive terms to over a hundred dollars for high demand terms.  I’d say that most likely, you’ll find very expensive click through rates for the Insurance, Travel and Real Estate businesses.  Any business that’s highly competitive in terms of marketing will most likely be fierce in terms of Adwords.  The Adwords Keyword Tool can give you some guidance (don’t forget to click off “broad” on match types on the left & click on [exact]).