Cracking the Code: Demystifying SEO and PPC

Emma Adkins
Posted by Emma Adkins
Updated on
Published in Real Estate Marketing

SEO and PPC – two marketing acronyms that often leave people scratching their heads. What do they mean? And most importantly, how can they help real estate businesses attract more clients?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a process that helps websites rank high organically on search engine results pages (SERPs), ultimately leading to increased page traffic. On the other hand, PPC Advertising, or Pay-Per-Click Advertising, is a form of paid advertising typically found in the sponsored section of search engines. As its name suggests, you get charged every time a person clicks on your ad.

While SEO and PPC might sound intimidating, fear not! Today, I'll be your guide on this digital journey, empowering you to harness these powerful tools.

The Relationship Between SEO and PPC

SEO and PPC are more closely related than you may think, and it’s not that they’re both considered to be a way to market on the search engines. Let’s look at why we might talk about these two specialties together:

Main goal to get your website to appear on the search engine results page. The name of the game is to match your website or webpage to a search engine user’s query. Both PPC and SEO use impressions, clicks, and conversions to measure success. 

  • Impressions: number of times your ad or link is viewed
  • Clicks: number of times your ad or link is clicked.
  • Conversion: number of visitors who clicked on your ad or link, and actually filled out a form

For SEO, search result position is also considered as a metric.

  • KeywordsPPC and SEO share the same targeting strategy through keywords. Your target audience types these words or phrases when they search online. In SEO, keywords are strategically added to the content, headings, descriptions, and file names. With PPC, a large list of keywords can be targeted using the ad tools and are weaved into the ad copy.

As similar as they might seem, it's important to note one distinct difference between SEO and PPC. Fully committing to the process of SEO can be quite an undertaking. It's a game of patience that requires time and nurturing. In contrast, PPC can be more immediate. You can go into your campaign and adjust keywords or the ad copy and start seeing results much sooner than you would result from optimizing a web page.

Vancouver Island-related key phrases showing their position ranking on Google Search Console.

Vancouver Island-related key phrases showing their position ranking on Google Search Console.

PPC Overview and Structure

PPC advertisements appear before organic search results and are usually composed of the following elements:

  1. Headline –  serves to pique the reader's interest.

  2. Ad copy –  provides more information about the ad.

  3. Site links –  appear at the bottom of the ad and direct visitors to other parts of the website besides the landing page.

Carley Carey's sponsored post on Google showing the headline, ad copy, and site links.

Carley Carey's sponsored post on Google showing the headline, ad copy, and site links.

We already know that PPC is a paid advertisement, but did you know it follows a bidding format? You might think deep pockets win the bids, but it's not always about the budget. While Google is for-profit, one of its main goals is to provide users with the best match results to their queries. This means other factors aside from budget determine which ads will be featured. 

At Real Estate Webmasters, our team of experts knows how to build effective PPC campaigns without breaking the bank. One tactic is using high-value keywords, which can mitigate the cost of a bid. Google recognizes that ads with these keywords will most likely get clicks, so it’s better to feature them. This is such a vital factor that Google assigns some keywords a quality score using the following components:

  1. Expected click-through rate (CTR) –  the likelihood that a user will click your ad

  2. Ad relevance –  how well your ad matches the search intent of a user

  3. Landing page experience –  how relevant your landing page is to a user

Having a substantial budget in PPC is helpful, but it doesn't beat having a strong and effective campaign. At the end of the day, search engines like Google have a reputation to uphold and would want to deliver the best and most helpful results to their users.

SEO Strategies

Do you ever click the second page when you search on Google? Not a lot of people do (I’m guilty too!). With SEO, the better you optimize your page, the higher you’re likely to rank.

Here are some of the best ways to climb the SEO ladder:

  1. Know which keywords to target Not all keywords are created equal. Some keywords can be very hard to rank for if your competitors are also trying to target the same keywords. Use tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console to find the low-hanging fruit.

  1. Pillar page strategy Create a main pillar page and support it with other sub-pages where keywords can be strategically placed. And remember, posting unique and high-quality content is essential. You can check out our SEO forum to learn more about this strategy.

  1. Linking Internal linking and backlinking are essential in SEO. The pillar page strategy allows you to link out to different pages from within your website, while backlinking is done by having diverse third-party authoritative websites link to you. This signals to search engines that your website is credible and relevant.

Don’t forget to leverage tools such as Google Analytics (GA4) and Google Search Console to monitor, analyze, and create an effective SEO plan. Make sure you set them up properly to start collecting data from your website. Google will not automatically set these up for you.

Pillar page strategy – for internal linking and strategic placement of keywords.

Pillar page strategy – for internal linking and strategic placement of keywords.

Pitfalls To Watch Out For

It's important to be aware of the possible challenges you’ll encounter with SEO and PPC so you can avoid them early on. Here are some issues to watch out for:


  1. Not enough listings on the landing page –  Targeting niche markets like small communities can cause insufficient property listings, which can prompt visitors to leave your website if they can't find what they're looking for.

  1. Not enough ad groups to support your budget It's better to diversify the areas you want to target and have multiple ad groups so Google can determine the best way to allocate your budget based on search volume.

  1. Personalized Advertising Policy on Housing It's crucial to note that it's prohibited to discriminate in the Housing industry by targeting audiences based on age, gender, marital status, parental status, or zip code. Ads that violate this policy will not be approved to run. 


  1. 404 errors Sold properties will be removed from the MLS listings, so the webpage that previously showcased that listing will eventually show a 404 error message. Make sure to remove or redirect backlinks that are experiencing this problem.

  1. Bad backlinks –  Getting backlinks from spammy, irrelevant, and paid websites will give you a bad reputation with search engines. 

  1. Duplicate and plagiarized content –  If the content on your webpage is deemed to be too similar to another webpage, Google may choose to not index that webpage, meaning your page will not be shown in the search results


When you use PPC and SEO in tandem, you give your website the best chance at gaining website traffic. You may even show up on the search engine results page twice! Once with your ad and the other organically. 

Now that SEO and PPC are no longer cryptic terms, try your hand at it and watch your website soar. 

Got any thoughts or questions? Let’s chat!

Demystifying SEO & PPC FAQ

How are SEO and PPC related?

Both SEO and PPC aim to get your website to appear on search engine result pages. They both use metrics like impressions, clicks, and conversions to measure success and target audiences through keywords.

What's the main difference between SEO and PPC?

SEO is a long-term strategy that requires time and patience to see results, while PPC can provide more immediate outcomes. With PPC, you can adjust campaigns and see changes quickly, whereas SEO requires ongoing optimization.

How does the bidding system work in PPC?

PPC follows a bidding format where advertisers bid on keywords. However, it's not just about the highest bid. Google considers factors like expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience to determine which ads to feature.

Can I use both SEO and PPC for my real estate business?

Absolutely! Using both strategies in tandem can increase your website's visibility on search engine result pages. You might appear twice - once with your ad and once organically. Contact Real Estate Webmasters today to see how that might look for your real estate business.

What are the key components of a PPC ad?

A PPC ad typically consists of a headline to grab attention, ad copy that provides more information, and site links that direct visitors to various parts of your website. The ad should be relevant to the searcher's intent and lead to a relevant landing page.

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