And what the heck’s the difference anyway?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all the things you do to make the search engines happy so they’ll place your website high up on their pages. For example, basic SEO is creating a well organized, well written website and getting your business listed on internet directory sites. SEO is free—well, not counting all the hours of hard work you or your professional help put into it.
On the other hand, search engines will sell you good placement on the tops and sides of their pages (and even on other websites). That’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, also known as search engine marketing (SEM).
SEO is something you must do (and keep doing) and the payback may take a while to become evident. PPC is something you should do when you have goals worth spending on and when you want to see instant results.
Here are the pros and cons of each, neatly broken down by the Red Website Design Blog: