SEO vs PPC | Differences Explained for Publishers


SEO and PPC are both important strategies for generating traffic to your website.

But do you know how a PPC campaign impacts your website’s ranking? Or if website monetization affects SEO or PPC performance? 

In this article, we’ll explain the difference between SEO and PPC, their advantages and disadvantages, and what role website monetization plays in optimizing your website for search engines.

Table of Contents:

What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click marketing model in which advertisers pay a fee to publishers (search engines or website owners) for each time their ad is clicked. 

This model is used on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but more commonly on search engines like Google. PPC advertising on search engines lets advertisers’ ads appear above organic search results.  

Just like with SEO, keyword research is a must for a good PPC performance. Targeting keywords relevant to your content, service, or product brings a higher number of clicks and visitors to your site.

You can create several ad campaigns with different objectives and keywords for a wider audience reach. The keywords should always be specific and related to your content.

Similarly, you exclude specific keywords so that your ads won’t show up if the search query contains an exact keyphrase match (known as negative keywords).

ppc campaign

Source: Fusing Marketing

What are the types of PPC rate models? 

There are two types of PPC rate models:

  • Flat-rate model–advertiser pays the publisher a fixed rate of money for each ad click, which can be negotiated. The publisher can lower the price if the advertiser offers a valuable long-term contract. For example, eBay. 
  • Bid-based model–advertisers bid the highest amount of money they are willing to pay for an ad spot. In this auction, the winner is determined based on price and relevance. For example, Google Ads and Microsoft AdCenter (this model is recommended by top PPC agencies).

What are the ad types of the PPC model? 

There are 3 main types of ads in the PPC marketing model: 

  • Search engine ads–the most common type of PPC advertising. It’s mainly run on a bid-based model targeting specific keywords that are related to the content offered. Advertisers with higher bids appear higher on the search results, as long as they offer a good landing page experience and ad relevance to users.
search ads example
  • Display ads–product or service advertising on the web while users are browsing through different web pages. The most popular example of PPC model in display advertising is Google AdSense
display ad example
  • Social ads–are shown on social media platforms targeting users by their location or interests. Social ads can be run on multiple platforms like Twitter and Facebook in different ad forms, such as images or videos. 
social ads example

What is The Difference Between SEO and PPC?

In general, SEO brings more long-term benefits such as optimized user experience, higher authority, and organic traffic. Besides, it doesn’t cost anything except your time and effort.

PPC brings instant results, allows targeting of customers, locations, and keywords, and displays your paid ads at the top of the search results if optimized correctly. 

search ad example

SEO can be seen as organic advertising but PPC is paid advertising. SEO is more complex than PPC, but both require a thought-out optimization of the website and content. 

For an effective SEO strategy to work, search engines must be able to crawl the website, understand its content, index it, and consider it as a valuable resource for the user.

A PPC model requires keyword research and optimization, creation of ads and landing pages, budget management, tracking of ads and conversions, and frequent campaign updates. 

For Google, the most well-known ad platform is Google Ads. Their advertising ecosystem provides search ads, display ads, video ads, and app ads. 

google ads

Pros and Cons of PPC and SEO 

Both PPC and SEO come with pros and cons, which can be seen in the table below.

PROS Appears at the top of search results and above organic listings (if done correctly)

Enables specific targeting of audiences, locations, and keywords

Drives instant traffic

Higher CTR (click-through rate)

Total control over your campaign

Easy to measure results
Can be done free/low cost

Brings long-term results

Drives organic traffic

Brings benefits even after you stop working on SEO

Builds website’s authority 
CONS Paid traffic

Can be expensive, especially for competitive keywords

Competitors can overtake the top positions with better-performing ads

Lower conversion rates 

Takes time to show results

Have to adjust to the changing search engine algorithms

Can PPC Help SEO?

PPC doesn’t directly impact SEO, but it might indirectly help SEO performance. 

If a user constantly sees ads with your website, he will unconsciously remember it. The next time he searches for something and sees an organic listing with your website, he’ll be more likely to interact with it as it will seem familiar.

PPC and SEO both compliment each other. SEO will take longer to show results without PPC, but PPC campaigns without SEO aren’t as effective.

In other words, PPC is like a shortcut to maximize SEO efforts, so the best tactic would be to integrate both methods and use them simultaneously.

Which is Better: SEO, PPC or Both for Publishers?

SEO is for long-term and PPC is for short-term goals.

If you’re a new publisher who is willing to gain immediate traffic, then PPC would be better for you. If you want to attract users to your landing page and sell a specific service, such as subscription-based content, PPC can be very effective. 

If you are willing to work on your website and content long-term to ensure a strong site structure and build high-quality backlinks that would bring organic traffic to your site, then SEO would be better. 

Building a good SEO strategy takes a lot of time. According to the survey, 97.8% of their respondents believe that PPC provides faster results compared to SEO. It means that leads and sales start coming in quickly with a PPC method.

ppc vs seo table

Source: Databox

On the other hand, if you want to provide quality content then working on SEO is more important. According to the same survey, 81.2% of respondents believe that SEO brings better quality leads and results compared to PPC.

ppc vs seo survey

Eventually, investing in SEO and organic traffic leads to a better ROI (return on investment) in the long-term, which gives more profit than paid advertising. Therefore, PPC is considered as a good start for new websites that need to gain immediate traffic.

How Website Monetization Impact SEO and PPC Strategies?

Blog or website monetization is nothing without traffic. The higher your traffic, the higher will be your ad revenue.

But you should keep in mind that without a good user experience, you won’t achieve good rankings. Therefore, it’s important to use the right ad formats and not overcrowd the website with too many ads.  

It’s also important to choose the right website monetization partners like Setupad that offer a solution that has a minimal impact on website page speed.  

Setupad Expert Opinion: 

povilas Povilas Goberis, COO at Setupad: “PPC doesn’t impact  website monetisation unless it’s about traffic arbitrage. Then the campaigns you run via PPC networks should run on lowest possible CPC rates for website monetization to work. But the monetization itself would have no influence on PPC campaigns or very minimal, depending on the traffic quality and UX changes.”


Both PPC vs SEO come with their pros and cons. SEO is free and gives long-term benefits, but PPC is a paid technique which can bring instant results.

It’s always about creating a good user experience with SEO and PPC campaigns, including creating high-quality content and having a good website structure. That’s also when website monetization will bring the best results.

Make sure to implement the best marketing strategy for your website including both or one of the campaigns.

If you still have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below or write to us at [email protected].

About Anete Jodzevica
Anete is a content marketing specialist at Setupad. In addition to writing articles, she works at gathering information, verifying data, and explaining complex concepts to others. Anete believes that simplicity is the key to brilliance.