Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What’s the difference between SEO and PPC?

There are a number of key differences between SEO and PPC. The more you understand those differences, the more you can strategize how each one fits into your overall marketing strategy and the more you can benefit from SEO.

The internet is used by approximately 90.8 percent of the total population in the United States. Consider that Google's organic search results generate nearly 20 times the number of clicks as paid ads on desktop and 10 times the number of clicks on mobile. In other words, smart marketing dollars are spent on search engine optimization (SEO).

It's critical to understand the distinction between Key Points and Bullet Points.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing organic (unpaid) search visibility in order to increase brand awareness, drive qualified website traffic, and safeguard brand reputation.
  • Because online search is frequently a key part of the buyer's journey, SEO is a tremendous revenue and ROI driver.
  • SEO is a collaborative effort that includes the marketing director as well as the directors of digital marketing and SEO. Analysts, content creators, and the technical web team are also part of the team.

Unlike traditional advertising and PPC, however, you cannot win simply by throwing the most money at it. To outperform the competition in search engine optimization, you must first understand what SEO is and how to strategically invest in it.

As a marketing executive, you understand that consumer behaviour has permanently changed and that marketing must evolve in order to remain profitable. You're probably aware that SEO is essential for reaching out to customers online, but you don't know enough about the channel to make the right investments.

This SEO beginner's guide was written to introduce marketing executives to the fundamentals of search engine optimization.

I won't go into detail about SEO here. Instead, I'll go over the fundamentals of SEO to help you make more informed investments in the organic search channel and achieve better marketing results.

I'll summarise the following topics briefly:

  • What exactly is SEO?
  • The advantages of organic search for business
  • Search engine optimization essentials
  • Considerations to make before implementing an SEO strategy
  • Is it necessary to outsource SEO?
  • Table of Contents 

What exactly is SEO in marketing?


SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. It is the process of increasing organic (non-paid) search engine visibility in order to increase brand awareness, drive qualified website traffic, and safeguard brand reputation.

SEO entails optimising your website as well as off-site elements in order to improve search engine rankings and generate high-quality organic traffic.

When marketers talk about SEO, they frequently mention keywords, Google's algorithms, and backlinks. However, SEO is all about matching your audience. It's all about understanding what your target audience is looking for, why they want it, and then providing them with answers.

Finally, SEO marketing assists you in attracting your target audience at each stage of the customer journey, resulting in more brand touch points, leads, conversions, and revenue.

What is the distinction between SEO and PPC?

There are several key distinctions between SEO and PPC. The more you understand those distinctions, the better you will be able to strategize how each one fits into your overall marketing strategy and reap the benefits of SEO.

SEO and SEM are both methods of driving traffic to your website. The distinction is in how that traffic is obtained.

How SEO Functions

From the user's perspective, SEO is all about creating amazing content that answers searchers' questions the best way possible. From a technical standpoint, it entails optimising specific elements of your website to assist search engines in discovering, comprehending, and ranking your content.

The internet provides humanity with nearly limitless access to information. However, few people understand how search engines work in order to deliver the exact answer in the blink of an eye. If you haven't already, I recommend watching Google's video for beginners on how search works.

If you don't have time, I'll summarise it below as it relates to search engine marketing.

Crawlers visit your website to figure out what it's about. These bots examine the types of content that users see, such as text and images, as well as content that users cannot see, such as structured data and image alt text.

They do this across billions of internet pages to understand every page on every website and how they all relate to one another.

Then, based on a set of criteria, search engine algorithms rank your content. For example, do you have content that is relevant to a user's search terms? Is your website optimised for mobile search? Are you an authority on the subject?

The position of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs) is determined by a number of factors, including how well you optimise your content to rank for relevant keywords and the overall quality of the user experience you provide.

Google ranking elements

How does Google choose what appears at the top of its search results?

It is based on approximately 200 ranking factors, some of which are more important than others. For example, the speed with which a page loads is important, but the quality of the content is more important. Furthermore, some meta tags are critical to how well your site performs in search, whereas others, such as meta descriptions, are completely irrelevant.

Google is always looking for high quality, which is something that is consistent across the board. To that end, Google's Quality Guidelines can be found here.

Here are some of the SEO ranking factors that Google takes into account.

  • Keywords should appear in titles, URLs, headings, and body copy.
  • Page speed and user experience are important factors in content quality.
  • Backlinks to HTTPS from reputable websites
  • Internal hyperlinks
  • The anchor text
  • mobile friendliness

Finally, the goal of SEO is to optimise your website's pages so that they all match what users want when they search for something. Google encourages designers to create pages primarily for users, not search engines, and to provide users with the best content relevant to their search query.

Demand generation vs. lead generation Demand generation raises awareness, whereas lead generation motivates your audience to take action. I'll go over the latter in more detail later.

How does PPC work?

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising allows you to pay to appear in the advertising areas of search engine results pages for specific keywords. You pay a fee when someone clicks on your ad, whether or not the user intended to click.

The amount you are charged per click is determined by a variety of factors, including:

  • The number of organisations bidding for the same keyword The amount you're willing to pay in comparison to your competitors
  • The calibre of your advertisement
  • In relation to demand, the day of the week and time of day

PPC has the advantage of quickly driving targeted traffic to specific landing pages on your website. This is especially useful for time-sensitive tasks such as testing, promotions, sales, and events.

One significant disadvantage of PPC is that it can be an expensive acquisition channel. Furthermore, when you stop investing in PPC ads, the traffic literally stops. There is no lingering effect. The only way to keep PPC traffic going is to keep pouring money into it.

This is one of the reasons why SEO is a better long-term investment. While you won't get the immediate results of PPC, you will reap the benefits of SEO over a much longer period of time, with the added benefit of compound results. A page that ranks on the first page of organic search results can continue to generate traffic for years after it is created.

SEO's Business Advantages

The SEO statistics presented above demonstrate that SEO has significant business benefits. This emphasises why it should be an essential component of your digital marketing efforts.

At a high level, search engine optimization boosts organic growth while lowering risk, resulting in increased revenue and shareholder value.

Investments in SEO, in particular, provide numerous business benefits, including increased brand awareness, increased website traffic, stronger brand loyalty, lower acquisition costs, and improved brand reputation.

  • Increase your sales revenue.
  • When done correctly, SEO generates enormous sales revenue.

Every day, 8.2 billion searches are conducted.

According to Google, the ROI from organic search traffic is 5.3x that of paid advertising, which is only 2x.

SEO, according to 49 percent of marketers, has the highest ROI of any marketing channel.

  • In general, SEO traffic is 5X that of PPC and 10X that of social media.
  • Before purchasing a product or service, consumers conduct up to 70% of their research online.

Google plays an important role in both our personal and professional lives. We use it to make purchasing decisions, research products, and solve problems. We use it to find local businesses and to decide which running shoes to buy.

Search engine optimization enables you to be present at every stage of the customer journey, from the moment they become aware of a problem to the moment they make a purchase and beyond. You can engage prospects at each stage of your marketing funnel by creating high-value content that is relevant to what users are looking for.

Businesses that do not include SEO in their digital marketing toolkit are losing out on a significant amount of potential revenue. SEO can help you achieve your goals, whether they are to sell more ecommerce products, generate leads, increase brand visibility, or even capture traffic from TV ads.

Increase margins

Search engine optimization lowers customer acquisition costs while increasing customer lifetime value. In fact, compared to paid channels, Stridec delivers customers for 25 cents on the dollar.

Consider the distinctions between SEO and other types of digital marketing, such as PPC, social advertising, and display advertising. The majority of digital marketing disrupts a person's online experience. To put it another way, it causes friction. They're scrolling through Facebook when an ad appears in their news feed. Or they're reading an article when the sidebar begins flashing product advertisements.

There is no disruption to the customer experience with SEO. When someone searches for something, they are actively looking for solutions. You make the path to their goal easier by providing valuable content that matches what they're looking for.

SEO not only avoids potential customer interruptions, but it also has a higher ROI than many other types of digital marketing. With PPC ads, for example, you must pay for each visitor to your website, which significantly raises customer acquisition costs.

Although SEO requires an initial investment to create and optimise pages, a single piece of content can drive organic search traffic for months, if not years, after it is created. As you create a content ecosystem and your website gains authority, it becomes easier and easier for your site to gain additional related Google rankings. It's like a rising tide that lifts all boats. As a result, the acquisition cost is reduced over time.

Reduce your brand's risk.

SEO also enables you to safeguard your brand's reputation. When someone searches for your company's name or product on Google, you want to be on the first page of the results. You don't want searchers to see a scathing news article or a negative review from a random disgruntled customer because your stock has dropped. SEO enables you to take control of search results and ensure that only the content that best represents your brand appears on the first page. This allows you to balance your brand's coverage across the major search engines.

SEO plays an important role in increasing customer trust, in addition to protecting your brand's identity. Customers begin to associate you with helpful insights and knowledge when you provide the type of information they are looking for (in their words).

With each new piece of content published, you can build customer trust by devoting the time and effort required to create great content that answers user questions. As a result, visitors are more likely to purchase from you because they regard your brand as an industry authority. They are also more likely to dismiss the occasional negative review because the vast majority of what they see is positive.

The essential components of an SEO strategy

It's one thing to understand that search optimization is important and can have a significant impact on your business. Executing a strategy based on SEO best practises that produces results is a completely different storey. Let's take a look at the key components of an effective SEO strategy.

SEO (Technical)

Technical SEO is essential for optimising your website. If you concentrate on optimising your content but have a shaky technical infrastructure, you will hurt your ability to rank in Google.

The process of optimising a website to meet Google's technical requirements is known as technical SEO. The following are the primary categories of technical SEO:

  • Crawling
  • Pages indexing
  • URLs for site architecture

Crawling Page Rendering

First, ensure that Google can crawl your website's pages. You'd be surprised how many webmasters unintentionally prevent Google from accessing their website by adding a few simple words to a webpage's header. These issues are not limited to small businesses. Even Fortune 500 companies make errors.


Make sure you're using an XML Sitemap correctly to ensure page indexing. Ensure that the pages you want Google to index are included in their appropriate child sitemaps, and that all unnecessary files are removed.

Site architecture

The next step is to concentrate on the architecture of your website. The structure of your site is important in both assisting Google in understanding how all of the pages relate to one another and making it easy for users to find exactly what they're looking for on your site. Make your architecture simple, easy to use, and well-organized.


The same is true for the URL format you use. Short, descriptive, easy-to-read URLs that include the primary keyword for a page assist Google and users in better understanding the page's content. If you sell coffee grinders on your website, the URL is far superior to Page Usability and Experience

The technical performance and functionality of your website are critical components of providing a positive experience to site visitors. Google's Page Experience Signals are a set of metrics used to assess the performance of website pages and, as a result, user experience.

Google considers six page experience signals when ranking websites. The first three are known as "Core Web Vitals," and they are as follows: @@@Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures how quickly a page loads in the browser First Input Delay (FID) – Measures how quickly a user can interact with a page

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – A measure of a web page's visual stability (how much elements of a page move around when the page is loading)

  • Google prioritises the following three page experience signals:
  • Mobile-friendliness – The ease with which a site can be used on mobile devices.
  • HTTPS – Indicates whether the site connection is secure using SSL.
  • No intrusive interstitials – Ensures that excessive advertisements or pop-ups do not interfere with the browsing experience.

All else being equal, Google will prioritise pages with higher Core Web Vitals scores in search results. Core Web Vitals scores can be improved in a variety of ways, including optimising image sizes, implementing browser caching, placing ads in reserved spaces, and so on.

Using Google Search Console or the Google PageSpeed Insight tool is the simplest way to see how your website ranks for Core Web Vitals. This will also provide you with specific suggestions for improvement. Read our in-depth post for more information on Core Web Vitals and how to improve them.

Content quality and consistency

While your website's technical performance is critical, the content of your web pages is even more important. As Google has stated, "having great page content does not trump having great page experience." However, in cases where there are many pages with similar relevance, page experience can be much more important for Search visibility.

Google favours pages with the best content, all else being equal. What exactly is the "best" content? Two critical components are as follows:

  • Alignment of Quality with Search Intent

These are the opposite sides of the same coin. Quality content marketing fully addresses a topic, allowing a person to find the information they require without having to return to the search results and sift through additional websites. (Blogging is frequently an effective way to generate high-quality content on a consistent basis.)

This does not necessarily imply that the content must be lengthy, though it frequently does in order to adequately cover a topic. For example, if you look at Google page one results, you'll notice that some are quite short because that's all that's needed for the topic, while others go on for thousands of words.

Although this may appear overly simplistic, a good rule of thumb is that quality content says everything that needs to be said, taking into account the topic, audience, page purpose, and so on.

With this in mind, it's critical to perform a content audit to prune non-performing content, eliminate duplicate content, and ensure the strength of your content library.

Aligning search intent

The goal that a user has in mind when they type a query into Google is referred to as search intent. When people search for "men's soccer cleats," they're probably looking for pages where they can buy cleats. If they search for "best men's soccer cleats," they're probably looking for reviews and comparisons of various brands of cleats.

To rank in Google search results, you must understand not only what your audience is looking for, but also why they are looking for it. Keywords are useful, but they don't tell the whole storey. To better understand the intent underlying the various Google queries, use some user psychology and voice of the customer (VoC). Another consideration is the stage of the customer's journey at which they are most likely to inquire.

An effective SEO strategy entails producing high-quality content that is closely related to search intent throughout the customer journey. When someone arrives at a page on your website via search results, it should be obvious to them that the information on the page is exactly what they were looking for when they entered a specific search query. Do this, and you'll see an increase in conversion rates.

Familiarity and trust (E-A-T)

Building the popularity and trustworthiness of your website is an additional component of an effective SEO strategy. Google, in general, prefers to rank well-known, reputable, authoritative websites with higher PageRank.

How does Google determine the legitimacy of a website? Among the most important considerations are:

  • High-quality website links and mentions
  • The site's content is of high quality

Furthermore, Google is increasingly measuring a website's E-A-T in its ranking determinations. 

  • Expertise Authority Trustworthiness
  • Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness are among the stated most important factors used to determine the overall quality of a web page in Google's quality guidelines.
  • Google goes on to say that they determine a page's E-A-T by doing the following:
  • The knowledge of the Main Content's creator.
  • The authority of the Main Content's creator, the Main Content itself, and the website.
  • The credibility of the Main Content's creator, the Main Content itself, and the website.

When it comes to websites that affect your finances, health, safety, and/or happiness, Google E-A-T is especially important. Because of the subject matter and the implications for a user if that information is misrepresented, "Your Money or Your Life" (YMYL) sites are held to the highest possible E-A-T standards.

So, if your website provides financial services or medical advice, for example, make certain that your website is sending significant E-A-T signals to Google.

What is E-A-T, and Why Is It Important? (Google, E-A-T and SEO)

Who is in charge of SEO?

Because search engine optimization is a marketing channel, it falls under the purview of the marketing director. However, depending on the size of the organisation and the skills required to execute an effective SEO strategy, the head of marketing is unlikely to be directly involved in day-to-day SEO activities.

This is usually the responsibility of the head of digital marketing or the SEO director. Additional team members would be in charge of project management, topic and keyword research, content creation, page analysis, technical optimization, link building, and so on.

At the executive level, SEO should be the hub of audience intelligence, driving all marketing efforts. Many executives, however, fail to realise the full potential of organic search to generate value for the enterprise beyond traffic.

Stridec commissioned Forrester Consulting's thought leadership paper "The New SEO Paradigm Shift":

Business leaders are underestimating the importance of SEO. To overcome top barriers, businesses require leadership that embraces a new way of thinking about SEO. Executives who want to truly dominate the landscape must directly link new SEO investments to measurable brand improvements that drive business growth and enhance their reputation... This will necessitate changing the culture of SEO and convincing others that SEO should be viewed as a long-term strategy rather than a means to increase site traffic.

Should you outsource your SEO or do it in-house?

The decision to outsource or bring SEO in-house is based on three primary factors:

  • Time 
  • Money 
  • Risk

Search engine optimization is a time-consuming process that necessitates a dedicated team to produce meaningful results. Teams must be well-versed in technical optimization, SEO tools such as Google Analytics, Search Console, Moz, and Ahrefs, as well as expertise in keyword research, on-page optimization, content strategy, link building, and other areas.

In order to do SEO in-house, you must hire, train, and manage an entire department. This frequently comes at a much higher cost than utilising the seasoned resources of a well-established SEO firm.

As a result, outsourcing SEO means faster business results and lower total costs.

It is critical to understand that outsourcing SEO does not imply disbanding your current team. On the contrary, they are an essential component of your success when collaborating with a partner. Outsourcing to an SEO company provides your team with immediate access to significantly more bandwidth. @@ But what about danger?

The risk of outsourcing stems from selecting the incorrect SEO company.

It's not that agencies do nefarious things on purpose. It's because most businesses don't have a defined market. They try to work with local businesses, SMEs, and enterprise brands all at the same time, assuming they can deliver the same results regardless of their customer's size.

However, in order to be successful in each of those markets, a completely different business model is required. As a result, in order to scale up to handle larger deals, they must either cut corners or outsource some of the work. Initially, any SEO company may produce mediocre results. However, in the long run, performance will either stagnate or reverse.

How do you know if you're speaking with the "wrong SEO company?" They fit one of the following two categories:

  • Everything-in-one digital marketing agencies
  • SEO firms that work with anyone

When selecting an SEO company, avoid those that do everything for everyone. Look for firms that specialise in search engine optimization and identify their target market.

Stridec specialises in SEO and content strategy for enterprise brands and Fortune 1000 companies based in the United States. If that's you, please send us

SEO is the way forward.

If one thing is certain, it is that SEO will only grow in importance. As the amount of information available to consumers online grows, so will their reliance on search.

Brands that invest heavily in SEO now will reap the benefits for a long time. They will be able to reach a much larger audience, generate more leads and revenue, and build stronger customer loyalty than brands that ignore SEO.

NOTE: Although Bing and Yahoo are part of the search engine landscape, this overview focuses on Google due to its dominance in the market.

SEO Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is SEO?

SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. It is the process of increasing organic (non-paid) search engine visibility in order to increase brand awareness, drive qualified website traffic, and safeguard brand reputation.

What is the process of SEO?

From the user's perspective, SEO is all about creating amazing content that answers searchers' questions the best way possible. From a technical standpoint, it entails optimising specific elements of your website to assist search engines in discovering, comprehending, and ranking your content.