The search engines provide multiple ways for users to earn traffic – both organic and paid. At Organically, we provide both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services and Search Engine Marketing (SEM/PPC) services, but often clients are confused as to how they work and the activities that each service entails.

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Search Engine Optimization is the process of helping websites become more search engine friendly with the goal to improve organic rankings on important keywords. The organic rankings that you see on the search engines are those that are not paid for and do not have sponsored or ad next to the listing. These are the most trusted results on the search engine results page, as Google has put a lot of effort into cultivating a list of the best and most relevant websites to list in the organic search rankings. For this reason, these slots are highly coveted and receive as much as 80% of the traffic on any given search term as opposed to the paid slots.


Building organic rankings in the search engines takes time, patience, and consistent effort. Even though we may work for months on a campaign before seeing results, the payoff is always well worth the wait once the results do materialize. By making your website a better authority on the web for subject matter relating to your business, you will eventually gain credibility and authority with Google and the other search engines.

What is Search Engine Marketing (PPC)?

PPC refers to the service of buying advertising that you pay for based on the number of clicks your ad receives. Search Engine Marketing is loosely referred to as pay per click although there are various other advertising models that may be used with digital advertising such as pay per impression or pay per conversion (rare).


By purchasing advertising on a PPC model, you will be able to earn listings in coveted spots at the top of the search engines. Your listings will be annotated with the words “Sponsored” or “Ad” to let people know that the listing has been purchased, and then you will pay for each click on your ad.

How Do They Work Together?

As I noted earlier, search engine optimization is a long term investment and effort put into making your website the best authority on the web for your target keywords. Since it often takes months to see results from SEO, a good digital campaign will typically encompass a campaign that has both an SEO and PPC component. This enables you to take advantage of search engine traffic immediately while you are building your long term results with organic search engine optimization.