Dawson's Digi:Blog

Current and Emerging Digital Marketing Trends


A Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Within the digital marketing world we hear a lot of abbreviations and acronyms but do we know exactly what they mean and their purpose? Hear we dissect and explain the basics of SEO and PPC through the SERP, apologies for the overdose in abbreviations, they are explained below.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the activity of ensuring a website can found in search engines (Google; Safari: Bing; etc.) using words and phrases that are of relevance to the website or page, taking a web document to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) of a search engine, otherwise known as organic results (Shaik et al., 2012).

(Redevolution, 2016)

(Redevolution, 2016)

Boosting search-engine rankings is imperative to a organisations success. A high ranking in the SERP can expand an organisations visibility.

  • 44 percent of online shoppers begin with a search engine (Hubspot, 2016).
  • 75 percent of online shoppers never make it past the first SERP.
  • 60 percent of online shoppers only ever click through the top three links (Gudivada, 2015).

SEO is totally based on algorithms that are used for searching and indexing websites by search engines (Killoran, 2013).

SEO techniques currently hold four facets (Hui et al., 2012: Saberi et al., 2013):

  • Keyword optimisation – Application of keywords as the search query to find web pages.
  • Structure optimisation – Websites must have a sound structure and the depth of directory must be limited to four layers. Search engines ignore images, Flash and JavaScript code, so websites must focus on the HTML code and text content of web pages.
  • Content optimisation – Any type of content from blogs to social media pages or to academic articles can be updated to provide a better user experience for optimisation on search engines. If a page is regularly improved, search engine spiders will visit it more often and obtain more information thus creating an updated optimisation.
  • Link optimisation – To obtain a top search ranking it is imperative to have high quality incoming links. Websites can also have outgoing links, a link to another website, coupling a closely related external website with a hyperlink is an effective tool for link optimisation. Finally, internal links of a website are critical to its SEO success, each page of a website must have a link to the home page as the link structure is examined frequently to prevent broken links.


Pay-per-click (PPC) is a focus of the SERP where individuals can bid for key-phrases and develop ads to appear based on search queries resulting in a cost to the organisation whenever a user clicks on an ad. Google AdWords being the most prominent platform used to engage in PPC (Clarke & Clarke, 2014). PPC is simple, the amount you ‘bid’ or pay for a keyword is the amount you will pay the search engine when a consumer clicks on your link. For example, if you bid $1 for your keyword and 100 consumers click on the PPC link through the SERP, you will be charged $100 by the search engine.

This makes conversions through the PPC links ever more so important. PPC can be costly if you are not converting. Converting is were a consumer takes a needed action such as a sale, a subscription or a download.

The difference in layout of a Google SERP between SEO and PPC is offered in the graphic below.



PPC is a game of bidding for keywords. Individuals can bid for a keyword that relates to their product or service, pushing a direct link to their webpage to the top of the SERP. PPC may be detrimental as individuals or companies may find themselves in a bidding war for a keyword with competitors, this may result in loosing a keyword to a competitor or paying too much for a keyword. Moreover, PPC can also be extremely beneficial as a much needed keyword maybe in a ‘niche’ category, therefore a bidder may pay an extremely inexpensive price for a definitive keyword.



  • Organic SEO results are 8.5x more likely to clicked on than paid search results, increasing organic traffic to your site (Moz, 2016).
  • SEO increases your website usability, constantly updating and upgrading the architecture of your site improves usability.
  • Organic results in the search engines may create brand awareness, harnessing significant impressions and instilling trust on your brand (Machin, 2016).


  • Conversions are much easier to track through PPC analytical techniques.
  • PPC can be fast and effective, you can bid for a keyword and be optimised on a SERP within minutes.
  • If you find a niche keyword, for a cheap price, you could be generating traffic to your webpage for a fraction of the price that any other form of paid advertising.
  • Paid search results are 1.5x more likely to convert than organic results.



  • SEO can be time consuming.
  • There may also be a disadvantage of over success, with your web page at the top of the organic SERP, traffic could increase substantially, if you do not have the foundations to handle such traffic sale opportunities maybe amiss and consumers may be not receive the full experience or attention that they require (ExtraDigital, 2016).


  • Companies may find themselves in bidding wars for keywords with competitors. This may result in an extortionate price being paid for a keyword, moreover you could loose a keyword to a competitor if they have the underlying desire and finance to obtain it.
  • If you are receiving traffic and not converting, PPC may not be financially stable.


(SEO) – Invest in SEO for long-term success, investments in this area boost organic search results which are more favoured by consumers. Moreover, user-experience (UX) will increase through the improvements of your webpage.

(PPC) – PPC can be effective for young companies wanting to get instant exposure on SERPs. With distortion between wether this initiative is cost-effective or expensive, conversions are seen to be higher through paid search results. PPC may be effective in short-term whilst SEO is effective for long-term.

This short video offers a visual representation of advantages and disadvantages of SEO and PPC.


SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

PPC – Pay-Per-Click

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

UX – User-Experience


Clarke, T.B. and Clarke, I., 2014. A Competitive and Experiential Assignment in Search Engine Optimization Strategy. Marketing Education Review, 24(1), pp.25-30.

ExtraDigital. 2016. Disadvantages of SEO. [Online]. Available at: http://www.extradigital.co.uk/articles/seo/disadvantages-of-seo.html. [Accessed 22 March 2016].

Gudivada, V.N., Rao, D. & Paris, J. 2015, “Understanding Search-Engine Optimization”, Computer,vol. 48, no. 10, pp. 43-52.

Hubspot. 2016. The ultimate list of marketing statistics. [Online]. Available at: http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics#SEO. [Accessed 17 March 2016].

Hui, Z., Shigang, Q., Jinhua, L. and Jianli, C., 2012, August. Study on website search engine optimization. In Computer Science & Service System (CSSS), 2012 International Conference on (pp. 930-933). IEEE.

Killoran, J.B., 2013. How to use search engine optimization techniques to increase website visibility. Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on, 56(1), pp.50-66.

Machin, E. 2016. Top 5 benefits of SEO. [Online]. TitanSeo. Available at: https://www.titan-seo.com/NewsArticles/5-seo-benefits.html. [Accessed 22 March 2016].

Moz. 2016. Via Enquisite: PPC agencies make 45X what SEOs do for the same value. [Online]. Available at: https://moz.com/blog/via-enquisite-ppc-agencies-make-45x-what-seos-do-for-the-same-value. [Accessed 22 March 2016].

Redevolution. 2016. What is SEO? [Online] Available at: https://www.redevolution.com/what-is-seo. [Accessed 17 March 2016].

Saberi, S., Saberi, G. and Mohd, M., 2013. What does the future of search engine optimization hold?. International Journal of New Computer Architectures and their Applications (IJNCAA), 3(4), pp.132-138.

Shaik, N., Vetapalem, V., Ravuri, Y., Dasari, S.K. and Reddy, V., 2012. Effective Search engine optimization with Google. International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Engineering & Technology (IJARCET),1(9), pp.pp-128.


Matt Dawson • March 22, 2016

Previous Post

Next Post


  1. Matthew Kong August 1, 2016 - 12:43 pm Reply

    This is an introduction to SEO & PPC, making a strong case of how organic search and paid search can help businesses thrive. A good site, I found useful is: http://www.ricemedia.co.uk/organic-search/

    If you want to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar