Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is driven by keywords and phrases. Knowing what people are searching for is at the heart, or at least is should be, for all SEO campaigns. A website that is being optimized for the search engines – should be targeting specific keywords and phrases that people are actively searching for in the search engines. There are many tools available that will give this information at no cost. Keyword research is the one common factor for organic SEO campaigns and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. After the keyword research is completed and the keywords for the campaigns are determined, SEO and PPC are entirely different. Due to the extreme differences, it is unlikely to find someone that has expertise in both.

SEO is the combination of marketing skills and technical skills. The marketing skills are necessary for writing content that will sell; knowing the market that is being targeted; and knowing which keyword phrases are best for the company. Technical skills are necessary to understand how the website is built; knowing if a search engine spider will be able easily access the website; how to reconstruct or reconfigure parts of the site; and how to optimize specific elements of the website.

PPC is the combination of marketing skills and analytic skills. Again, the marketing skills are necessary for writing the paid ads – knowing how to write ads that will entice people to click on the ads, and delivering landing pages that will sell the product or services. The marketing skills also include the ability to test the campaigns. PPC campaigns can be very costly if the wrong keywords are being used. If visitors are clicking on high priced keywords, but the visitors rarely convert to customers – this can be very expensive. One benefit of PPC, is the capability of running keyword tests quickly to assess the optimal keywords for the campaign. The analytic skills are essential to the testing and evaluating the success of the campaign and knowing what to change to maintain a successful campaign.

PPC campaigns can change quickly and results can been realized in a short period of time. Whereas, SEO campaigns can take a very long time to see results. Once a website has been fully optimized for the organic search engine results, it can take six months to a year to have any visibility in the search engines depending on the age of the website and the competitive nature of the keyword phrases being targeted. It is common for SEO to use PPC in the beginning of a campaign to test keyword phrases to determine the effectiveness of the phrases being used for optimization.

Although, SEO and PPC are both marketing to the search engine traffic, after the keyword research is completed, each of these forms of Internet marketing requires different skills and areas of expertise. Search engines are an excellent source of traffic and should be included in any marketing plan for companies with a web presence, but it’s important to know the costs and differences between SEO and PPC marketing.

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