What is the difference between PPC, SEO and Paid Inclusion?

There is a big difference between natural or organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click (PPC), but many don’t know about it or don’t understand it.

Organic is “free” traffic, in a sense. Organic’s only cost is the  labor put in to optimizing your site. Pay-per-click traffic costs you labor plus the cost of a click. That is, you are charged each time someone clicks on your ad.

This shows the search results for a random term "topaz jewelry".





  • The red areas are pay per click.
  • The purple area is organic search.
  • The green area (shopping results) is referred to as “paid inclusion”; it is managed through Google Base. This is usually managed by a feed. It is fairly cost effective, but you have very little control over when and where your products are shown.

Text and Links are the Fundamental elements of SEO

Search engine optimization is complex, but it essentially consists of two fundamental elements:
1) Text
2) Links

For CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, this knowledge is probably all you need to converse with your search marketing department. Of course, it always helps to understand the “why”, and after reading this article you will be caught up.

Small business owners and SEOs must know more; but sometimes, in our chase to solve the mystery that is The Search Algorithm, we lose site of the fundamentals and goals. It is always good to be reminded what is important.

Concentrate on link building and adding text (or “content”) and you will improve the visibility and rankings of your site.

Url Links and Chain Links

Why are links one of the two most important factors in SEO?

Links are an important part of SEO because of Google. Originally, Google’s Algorithm was based primarily on the following concept:
1) If site A has more inbound links than site B it must be “more popular”
2) If page B has more inbound links on it than page B it must be “more popular”

In Google’s collective mind, more links and more popularity equaled a more reputable page.

I am using the past-tense, because Google now uses links as only one of many factors that determines what site will show up number one in the search engine rankings. Supposedly there are over 200 variables used to in Google’s formula, though The Formula is a closely guarded secret.

Why is text one of the two most important factors in SEO?
Think about the act of “googling” or searching for something. You are typing words (text) into a form and telling a computer to “go find sites that have these words”. You are not drawing a picture, making a sound or downloading your memory (though that would be cool). Thus, a search cannot find pictures and sounds and videos unless they have corresponding text.

Text is an important part of SEO
This is why your site with pictures (and only pictures) of cyclones is not ranked #1 for “cyclones”. The search engines just see that you have a picture file.* If you want your site to be search engine friendly, a good rule of thumb is to stick some text on your site.

*There are advanced techniques (beyond the scope of this article) that you can use to get around these problems. Speak to your SEO expert.