How do SEO and PPC Work Together? | VantagePoint Marketing

Search Engine Marketing: How do SEO and PPC work together?

How do SEO and PPC work together?

There’s a lot of talk about using search engines to drive marketing, and with good reason. Google, the top search engine, conducts a staggering 8.5 billion searches a day, connecting people who have problems with the goods and services that can solve them.

It makes sense that websites that show up toward the top of search results for popular keyphrases get significantly more traffic than websites that don’t. But the story doesn’t end there. If your products or services are big-ticket items, potential customers probably won’t be ready to purchase right away. It will most likely take repeated exposure to your brand before they’re ready to take the plunge.

That’s where search engine marketing (SEM) comes in. By combining search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) strategies, you can keep your brand at the top of your prospective customers’ minds and be there for them at each stage of their buyer’s journey.

What’s the difference between SEM, SEO, and PPC?

Websites that show up toward the top of SERPs get more trafficSearch engine marketing (SEM) is a broad term that encompasses both SEO and PPC strategies to drive targeted search traffic to your website.

In simple terms, SEO is the practice of improving your website so it is more likely to appear toward the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant searches. SEO is often referred to as “organic” because search engines prioritize high-quality content. If your content matches what searches are looking for, it will drive traffic to your website. Although it takes time for new content to gain traction, once it starts driving traffic, it can continue to do so for months or even years.

PPC consists of paid marketing strategies, such as paid search and retargeting ad. Each approach has its merits. Let’s took a closer look at them individually.


SEO is the practice of increasing organic traffic to your website by giving searchers what they’re looking for — comprehensive, unique, and engaging content aligned with their search intent. It also involves building a strong technical foundation for your website and earning contextual links.

SEO includes:

  • On-page SEO: checking everything that is visible to the customer, including the right content, meta tags, etc. An important on-page SEO strategy involves creating useful and easily accessible high-quality content built around targeted keywords and keyphrases.
  • Off-page SEO: building authority as demonstrated by the number and reputation of outside websites that link to yours.
  • Engagement: making sure to create relevant content that makes visitors stay on your website and continue exploring after being directed there.
  • Technical SEO: creating a seamless technical experience for users and crawlability for bots, including optimizing page load times, providing an XML sitemap and fixing links.

SEO is a long-term organic strategy that is based on the quality of your website and how well it matches the input search terms. Although it often takes several months to see the results of your updates, the content you create can continue to drive traffic for months — or even years — later, long after you have stopped investing in it.


PPC, on the other hand, is a paid solution that has the potential to produce faster results. These highly visible advertisements appear at the top and/or bottom of SERPs, and you are charged based on the popularity of each keyphrase whenever someone clicks on your ad.

Unlike SEO results, you can start seeing the effects of changes you make to your PPC campaign immediately, and your ads can start driving traffic to your website on day one. The flip side is that once you stop investing in your PPC campaign, the stream of traffic from your campaign will also stop. The only thing you will be able to keep is the brand awareness that you earned and the customers you have converted while your ads were still running. Your campaign started instantly with a click and will end just as quickly.

PPC campaigns require constant monitoring and tweaking to get the best value for your advertising dollars. For example, as you monitor your results, you may notice that after searching for a particular keyphrase, visitors quickly leave your website. This may indicate searchers who use this specific keyphrase are looking for something completely different, and that keyphrase should be excluded.

Because your PPC campaign will drive traffic to your website, it’s important to align both your ads and the on-page content on your landing pages with your users’ search intent. This will help you keep a low bounce rate and provide a seamless user experience for your visitors.

Secondary forms of PPC

Search engine ad placement is the most widely used, but it isn’t the only PPC game in town. Other forms of PPC may not have the same direct relationship as PPC ads in search engines, but cam still be an important part of an effective strategy.

Secondary forms of PPC include:

  • Retargeting: Retargeting ads can be very effective because they only appear to people who have previously visited your website or searched for keyphrases related to your goods or services. Sometimes it just take a small nudge to put your brand back to top of mind and move them further along in their buyer’s journey.
  • Mobile advertising: Mobile ads appear on smart phones and tablets in a wide variety of forms, interacting with users through web browsers, text messaging, social media and other outlets.
  • Geotargeting: This strategy sends ads to individuals within a certain geographic area or who exhibit certain behaviors. This can be effective for local businesses or products for niche markets.

Comparison: SEO vs. PPC

Both SEO & PPC:
- Require keyword research
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic from a search engineBoth SEO and PPC:

  • Require keyword research
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic from a search engine to a website

SEO and PPC have different:

  • Costs. Although SEO isn’t free in that you will need to hire someone to guide your strategy and write your content, once the strategy is in place, there is no fee to keep it running indefinitely. PPC, on the other hand, will only drive traffic while you are paying per click. The minute you stop investing, your benefits will also stop.
  • Timeframes. Although it’s possible to have quick results with SEO, it usually takes months for the results to pay off. PPC, on the other hand, immediately pushes your ad to the top of the SERPs, giving the potential for instant results.
  • Useful lives. Although SEO takes longer to gain momentum, it can continue to drive traffic for a long time afterward with no additional cost. PPC, however, stops delivering results the moment the campaign is ended.

How do SEO and PPC work together?

Using both SEO and PPC together will help maximize the impact on your bottom lineWhile using either SEO or PPC is a great way to increase revenue, using both strategies together will help maximize the impact on your bottom line.

Here are some examples of how SEO and PPC work together to make a big impact:

  • New companies or companies that don’t have a firmly established web presence can start PPC campaigns and SEO simultaneously. This will help quickly put you in front of audiences via paid results. Meanwhile you build content to boost organic results and allow time for your SEO campaign to get a foothold.
  • Established companies can use SEO data to build their PPC campaign strategy. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you avoid keywords and keyphrases where you already rank highly organically and target your spending in areas where you are underperforming. This data can also inform your negative keywords and help you avoid wasting money on keyphrases that aren’t worth the cost.
  • Established companies can use PPC data to build SEO content strategy. Learn which keywords and key phrases are performing the best in your paid campaign and use them to create high-quality organic content.

Two powerful strategies that work well together

In short, both SEO and PPC have their uses and, budget permitting, can be part of a very effective marketing plan. While SEO takes longer to deliver ROI, its long-lasting results are worth the wait. In the right hands, PPC delivers targeted leads fast, but come with a per click price tag. If you can afford both SEO and PPC, use them together to get impressive results.

Want to get expert input on your B2B SEO or PPC strategy? Check out some of our case studies and contact us.