SEO vs. PPC: A Complete Overview of Keyword Research Process

by Marnie Bennett on December 6, 2012

As compared to PPC keywords, SEO keywords have a large margin of error.

The choice between PPC and SEO is bound to be different for every company. They are to be different for different sites, and also vary according to situation. These two i.e; Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are the most used and popular forms of internet marketing and ways to drive traffic to a website. Whether you choose SEO or PPC for online marketing, keyword research is common to both. But is the keyword research process similar in both the cases?

Or is it actually different, but connected when it comes to gaining some meaningful insights? Let’s find out.

SEO may be compared to a grueling run, that keeps on and on, it is a time taking and tedious process. SEO takes time and in fact a lot of time to deliver the best results, it doesn’t work like magic and give you instant success. The process of SEO uses the natural listings on global search engines, by using certain techniques involving the keywords. It involves lot of effort and skill to be listed among the top pages of the search engines; they include a great mix of Keyword and its selection, regularly updating the contents and so on.

Another aspect of SEO is to be within the ethical limits of SEO standards; else the page may be subject to a ban by the search engines. Popularity of links present in the website and content relevancy are some of the other factors that affect the listings or rankings on search engines.

On the contrary, PPC or Pay-Per-Click may be considered as a short sprint. The process involves displaying advertisements in the sponsored result sections, of the search engines result pages. Every time any user clicks on that sponsored advertisement, the advertiser is charged a fee. PPC may yield some instant result and generate a decent amount of traffic to the webpage/site.

The fact that you can immediately appear on the first page of the results is a huge bonus. But ranking with PPC depends on certain factors as well. They include the landing page and the quality score of the advertisement. One of the most important aspects is the amount of your bid on the keywords.

Generating Keywords
Generating a list of keywords seems to be as easy as an apple pie, with the number of keyword research tools available. But the data might not be sufficient or relevant about the website concerned.

The data that you gather via free keyword tools -

Only gives an approximation of the total traffic for the particular keyword(s)
Does not or cannot enlighten about the actual search traffic
Fails to highlight or inform about the relevancy of the content with the phrase
Does not inform whether people find way to your site or not
Doesn’t show the real impact on your site

But a PPC campaign can highlight the amount of real traffic a particular keyword or set of keywords can generate. It also gives an insight about searchers and their thought process about finding something relevant to your site. It also gives Google’s view about your keyword list. This will help you identify the best keywords for the sites SEO also.

Using the Keywords
After identifying the best keywords through PPC, use them to develop and create engaging and informative content for your website. The knowledge about the precise keywords to drive traffic and/ or sales can do wonders when used judiciously in developing the content.

This will not only save a lot of time and energy, but it will also help discover new long tail keywords.

Always Go Back & Look for More
Revisiting the log files is always a good idea. This helps in discovering new website keywords. It also helps you find new keywords that are in the process of more use, and thereby plan your content or redesign some content using them for SEO.

What about the Margin of Error?
As compared to PPC keywords, SEO keywords have a large margin of error. When you are working with SEO, you can always adjust or tweak the keywords for better rankings in search engine results. The best part about SEO keyword selection process is that you don’t need to pay a fee for choosing them. Also, you have the freedom to compete for those keywords that are highly competitive.

In case of PPC keywords, however, there’s a fee/ keyword involved. That’s why you have only a tiny margin of error here. If you make mistakes while choosing keywords for your PPC campaign, you’ll waste money.

Before actually deciding or jumping to any conclusion about keywords, it is very important to clarify the goals, methodology about their use. It is very clear to all that PPC and SEO are two different things and the keyword selection for each need to be different. But the insight that PPC can provide can be used to develop meaningful and relevant content to drive or generate traffic. The insight can give an opportunity to develop informative and relevant content that will be compelling also, with a decent mix of SEO keywords and PPC keywords to yield the best results. The keywords scattered through the landing and subsequent pages will serve better to rank higher.

This post was written by...

– who has written 1 posts on Hello Bloggerz.

Named as Ottawa's Professional Businesswoman of the Year in 2008, Marnie has several years of expertise in sales and marketing. Apart from running her own company, she's also passionate about blogging. You can connect with her on Twitter also.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Aditi Datta December 6, 2012 at 6:14 am

Hi Marnie,
Yes you are correct that both the forms including SEO and PPC are the best internet marketing methods which surely drive traffic to your site. I like reading this post and find it very informative. Thanks for the share!!!!


Muhammad Saleem December 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

i think SEO is much better than PPC. This is long term but result oriented.


Miss Kathy December 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Its a ton of hard work any way you go at it but in the end I think the results will be pleasing, you just have to look at it in a businessman like approach and if it is your business on the line, why of course you will work diligently at it to live by it or die by it.


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