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How is ranking different when comparing PPC vs SEO?

How is ranking different when comparing PPC vs SEO?

Search engine rankings involve understanding how is ranking different when comparing PPC (Paid Per Click) vs SEO (Search Engine Optimization) approaches. While both play important roles in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, their ranking mechanisms differ significantly, impacting visibility, timeline, and sustainability.

According to a study by SparkToro, organic search (SEO) drives 53% of all website traffic, emphasizing the enduring impact of SEO on sustained visibility, while PPC provides a quicker but paid avenue to reach potential audiences.

Unlike PPC, SEO ranking doesn’t adhere to a checklist format, with certain signals, like expertise and authority, often intertwined with how content is interpreted by Google’s AI.
We are going to look closer at the major difference between PPC and SEO in terms of Google ranking pros and cons. 

Ad Rank, rules for paid search

Ad Rank,rules for paid search

1. Bid Value

Bid value in PPC refers to the amount an advertiser is willing to pay for a specific action, such as a click on their ad. Advertisers participate in auctions where they bid on keywords, and the highest bidder often gets the top ad placement.

According to WordStream, the average cost-per-click (CPC) across all industries on Google Ads is $2.69 for search ads. This figure serves as a benchmark for advertisers, offering insights into the prevailing competitive landscape and helping them formulate effective budgeting and bidding strategies to optimize their PPC campaigns.

Understanding this average CPC aids advertisers in making informed decisions regarding their financial investment in online advertising and maximizing the efficiency of their campaigns.

2. Relevance

The concept of relevance holds immense significance for the success of a campaign. Relevance, in this context, refers to the alignment between your ad content, targeted keywords, and the content on your landing page.

Google values and rewards ads that demonstrate high relevance to users’ search queries by offering them better ad positions. Google utilizes a metric known as Quality Score, ranging from 1 to 10, to assess the relevance and quality of ads.

This score is influenced by various factors, including the ad’s click-through rate (CTR), the relevance of keywords, and the quality of the landing page. Ads with higher Quality Scores often enjoy lower costs per click (CPC) and more favorable ad placements.

According to a study conducted by WordStream, ads with a Quality Score of 7 or higher experienced an average CPC decrease of 28.6%. This statistic implies that as the Quality Score increases, advertisers benefit from a significant reduction in the cost they pay for each click.

Additionally, higher Quality Scores often lead to improved ad positions on the search engine results page (SERP), increasing the visibility and likelihood of user engagement.

The impact of this statistic on rankings is substantial. Advertisers who prioritize creating relevant, high-quality ads are not only rewarded with lower costs but also enjoy better visibility and prominence in the highly competitive online advertising space.

A higher Quality Score signifies that an ad is meeting user expectations and providing a positive experience, aligning with Google’s goal of delivering relevant and valuable content to users.

The statistic underscores the symbiotic relationship between relevance, Quality Score, and PPC performance. Advertisers should aim to optimize their campaigns by focusing on relevance, thereby improving their Quality Scores, lowering CPC, and achieving more favorable rankings in the competitive advertising landscape.

3. Ad Performance

Ad performance, measured by click-through rates (CTR), directly influences ad positioning and CPC. Higher CTR indicates that users find the ad compelling and relevant, which can lead to improved ad positions and lower costs.

The average CTR across all industries on Google Ads is approximately 1.91%, as reported by WordStream. However, CTR can vary significantly by industry, with the legal industry having an average CTR of 1.35%, while the dating and personal industry boasts a higher average CTR of 3.40%.

To clearly understand how is ranking different when comparing PPC vs SEO let us explore their pros and cons.

SEO Pros and Cons

SEO Pros and Cons

The world of SEO comes with its set of challenges and rewards, much like any venture in life. Let’s begin with the drawbacks, providing a realistic view of what to expect:

Cons of SEO

Delayed Results

SEO requires patience as search engine ranking and indexing can take from hours to weeks.

Slow Returns on Investment (ROIs)

Immediate returns are not guaranteed; it takes time for investments to manifest.

Costly Endeavor

Implementing effective SEO strategies may incur expenses that could strain budgets.

No Guarantees

SEO is not a magical solution; there’s no assurance of instant customer acquisition.

Vulnerability to Ranking Changes

Algorithm updates can lead to fluctuations, resulting in lost rankings.

Intense Competition

Fierce competition demands strategic and aggressive approaches.

Complexity for Beginners

Lack of SEO expertise may pose challenges in handling various website situations.

Paid Prominence

Paid opportunities can overshadow organic results, affecting search visibility.

Now, let’s shift to the positive side, where the benefits of SEO far outweigh the drawbacks:

Pros of SEO

Increased Traffic

Achieve high rankings, attracting potential visitors through organic searches.

Enhanced Web Presence

Extend visibility not only in organic searches but also on platforms like Google Maps.

Targeted Audience

Focus on attracting the right audience interested in your products or services.

Greater Online Visibility

A robust SEO strategy ensures your website is seen by a broader audience.

Improved Conversion Rates

User-friendly websites resulting from good SEO practices turn visitors into customers.

Business Growth

More visitors translate to increased sales, fostering business expansion.

Authority Establishment

Quality content builds your authority in your industry, gaining trust and credibility.

Control and Flexibility

Maintain control over your audience, content, and online presence, with the flexibility to adjust strategies.


SEO proves to be a more budget-friendly option than traditional marketing methods.

Competition Mitigation

Smart SEO practices help you compete effectively in a crowded online landscape.

In the grand scheme, while the negatives are worth considering, the positives underscore the transformative potential of SEO.

Yet, the competitive online arena necessitates strategic thinking, innovation, and a commitment to providing genuine value to customers. Seeking assistance from experienced SEO professionals ensures that the journey into SEO is well-guided, maximizing benefits and minimizing pitfalls for a successful online presence.

PPC Pros and Cons

PPC Pros and Cons

Just like SEO, PPC also comes with its set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s begin with the benefits, providing a realistic view of what to expect:

Advantages of PPC Advertising

PPC advertising is a widely embraced digital marketing strategy for its potential to enhance brand visibility, broaden reach, and attract new customers. Here are some compelling advantages of PPC:


PPC proves cost-effective by allowing you to link the cost of your ads directly to the number of visitors clicking on them. Unlike traditional print advertising, you are only charged when someone interacts with your ad, maximizing your return on ad spend (ROAS).

Fast Results

Unlike the gradual progress of SEO, PPC offers rapid results. While SEO may take months, PPC campaigns often yield visible results within weeks. This immediacy is particularly valuable for capturing potential visitors searching for relevant keywords.

Easy to Tweak

PPC campaigns provide ample data on ad performance, enabling easy adjustments. This flexibility allows digital marketers to make data-driven changes, assess individual campaign sources, test new ideas, and continually optimize for maximum effectiveness.

Highly Targeted

Targeting specific audiences is pivotal for campaign success, and PPC excels in this aspect. By tailoring campaigns based on demographics, interests, or geographical location, advertisers can ensure their content reaches the most relevant audience, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Easy to Set Up

Setting up PPC ads is quick and straightforward compared to the time and effort required to drive organic traffic through SEO. While there is a learning curve, especially in understanding platform intricacies, PPC offers a swift way to attract new audiences.

Disadvantages of PPC Advertising

Despite its advantages, PPC advertising comes with its set of challenges. Here are some disadvantages to consider:

Very Competitive

The popularity of PPC makes it highly competitive, especially for popular keywords. Fierce competition can lead to escalating costs, making it challenging for smaller companies with limited budgets to target desired keywords.

Savvy Audiences

As digital audiences become more discerning, some users may approach PPC ads with skepticism. Awareness of paid placements on search engine results pages (SERPs) may lead users to avoid clicking on ads, impacting click-through rates.

Needs Follow-Through

While PPC can drive traffic, successful conversion requires follow-through efforts. Building compelling landing pages, enticing users onto mailing lists, and creating engaging user journeys are essential components beyond initial ad clicks.

Takes Time to Find a Winning Formula

Although PPC is easy to start, crafting a successful campaign takes time. Effective keyword research, audience identification, data analysis, and continuous monitoring are essential aspects that demand a learning curve. Even experienced advertisers may require trial and error to develop a winning strategy.

In navigating the complexities of PPC, effective tracking of results is crucial. Metrics Watch offers a solution by facilitating the creation of marketing reports, allowing advertisers to monitor and optimize PPC strategies for optimal ROI.

Final Thoughts

PPC provides immediate visibility and control over ad placement, making it ideal for quickly capturing audience attention and generating leads. However, it requires ongoing investment and can be highly competitive for popular keywords.

SEO offers sustainable, long-term benefits by enhancing organic visibility and attracting targeted traffic over time, but it requires patience and continuous effort to maintain rankings amidst algorithm changes and intense competition.

Combining elements of both strategies can create a well-rounded marketing approach that maximizes reach and conversions in the competitive online landscape.


What are the key differences between PPC and SEO rankings?

PPC (Pay Per Click) relies on paid advertising to secure ad placements on search engine results pages (SERPs), while SEO (Search Engine Optimization) focuses on organic strategies to improve website visibility. PPC rankings are determined by bid value and ad relevance, while SEO rankings depend on factors like content quality, backlinks, and user experience.

How does bid value affect PPC rankings?

The bid value in PPC determines the amount an advertiser is willing to pay for ad placement. Higher bids often secure top positions. However, ad relevance is equally important, as it influences Quality Score, which affects ad positioning and costs. Google rewards ads with high relevance to user queries with better placements and lower costs.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of SEO for digital marketing?

Advantages of SEO include increased organic traffic, enhanced web presence, targeted audience engagement, and cost-effectiveness. However, SEO can also have delayed results, slow returns on investment, vulnerability to algorithm changes, and intense competition.

What are the pros and cons of PPC advertising?

The advantages of PPC advertising include cost-effectiveness, fast results, easy campaign tweaking, highly targeted audience reach, and easy setup. However, PPC can be very competitive, may face audience skepticism, require follow-through for conversions, and take time to find a winning formula.

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