Key Differences Between SEO and PPC Keyword Research

Keyword research

Keyword research is an important part of every online marketing strategy. Whether you are creating a content calendar or a paid ad campaign, it all starts from ‘what words and phrases people are using to search a query or a product?’

Now the question is, is the method of keyword research for SEO and PPC the same? The answer is no. Both PPC and SEO have different goals, and the budget required for both varies greatly.

Therefore, keywords picked for a 6-month long SEO strategy are not always the same for PPC. Choosing the wrong keywords, or interchanging SEO keywords with PPC, can have negative consequences.

So let’s cut to the chase and discuss the difference between SEO and PPC keyword research.


The biggest difference between SEO and PPC keyword research is the intent; you go for high-intent keywords in PPC.

Let’s put it this way, you are going to pay a few bucks in exchange for every click you get. But what if the clicks you are getting are from those who are only looking for information about a topic?

You can’t afford to display your ads to people who have no intent to buy soon. Soon, you will run out of the budget without any significant success.

On the other hand, SEO keyword research covers all the high-volume keywords, regardless of the intent behind them.

In fact, because you have the freedom to prepare as much content as you have to fit those keywords, you can easily incorporate both information and commercial keywords into your strategy.

Let’s take an example. If you are running an online snooker accessories store, you will create content for both “How to play snooker” and “Best snooker sticks.”

You can build credibility by sharing informational content with your audience, who may later buy from you.

But when it comes to PPC, you will never run ads to demonstrate someone how to play snooker.

Number of Keywords

Continuing from where we left at the top, for SEO campaigns we need a bulk amount of keywords. In competitive markets and industries, we often have to target up to 100 keywords at once.

Depending on the competition on each keyword, we create blog posts and articles, acquire backlinks, create sub-pages to link with pillar pages, and apply other techniques to rank them.

And of course, some of the high-intent keywords are present on the Home page or Services section, to attract the relevant audience.

If you ask an SEO professional about his/her SEO strategy, they will tell you that they have multiple sheets of keywords. And out of that, they are targeting 30,40, 50, or sometimes even more.

But that’s not the case in PPC campaigns. You only pick a few intent keywords( with CPC that you can afford) and incorporate those in your ad. As compared to SEO, PPC keyword research is about digging deeper into hundreds of keywords and then carefully pulling out the best ones.

Depending on the industry, and the ROI you are expecting from the campaign, PPC keyword research can consume a lot of time.

Keyword Use

SEO keyword research is sometimes pretty specific, especially when you are taking multiple pages one by one.

For example, when you want to rank a service page for a keyword SEO services Dubaiyou will target the same keyword in the title, metadata, and content. But there’s also a role of supportive keywords, that may not have a high search volume but less difficulty score.

On the other hand, PPC is quite rigid. Your main keyword goes everywhere, from the ad campaign to the landing page, and even in the ad group, so your campaign is optimized to the utmost extent.

Opportunity to Rectify Mistakes

When it comes to SEO campaigns, there’s always a chance to rectify your mistakes. For instance, you have used an inappropriate keyword in the content, you can take it out at any moment.

This mistake will definitely have a little mistake on your page ranking, but once rectified, it will be alright. There’s no monetary penalty by Google here.

But that’s not the case with the PPC campaign.

Any campaign with inappropriate keywords will be a complete waste of money. You will never get results because anyone who clicked on your ad was looking for something else.

Can you sell PPC services in Dubai to someone who’s looking for undergarments? Of course, not! Though this kind of mistake is a blunder, or sheer negligence, picking a wrong phrase and incorporating it into your campaign is also quite costly.

In PPC, there’s no room for error. You have to add new negatives after understanding the behavior of your audience, check the CPC, and the Quality Store to make your ads stand out, and cut down your ad spend as fast as possible.


PPC and SEO are two different things, and thus, they require the supervision of an expert who specializes in that domain. As a digital marketer, you must know how these differ from each other, especially in terms of keyword research. By the end of this post, you must have understood the prominent differences between both.




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