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What on Earth does PPC, SEO and CRO Mean?

In Digital Marketing we love an acronym. Mostly because everything has a long, technical name and let’s face it – who doesn’t love a shortcut?

We'll explain these three staples of digital marketing and what the differences between them are, as well as how they work alongside one another beautifully – if executed well.


We’re starting with SEO because it’s my favourite. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it means optimising your website to appear in search results.

There are various things you can do to make your website sit higher in the rankings so that when someone is looking for a product or service like yours, your website comes up higher in Google, Bing etc.

The listings that you’re trying to obtain here are in the ‘organic results’.

For a quick hand with this take a look at Top Three Reasons You Don't Appear in Google.


This leads nicely into PPC (Pay Per Click), which is also confusingly also called SEM (Search Engine Marketing) overseas. It’s bad when we can’t even agree on the acronyms, isn’t it?

So PPC is the ‘paid results’ in Search Engines, which offer a few spots above the ‘organic results’. This is a great quick fix, getting you straight to the top of the rankings if you’re willing to pay enough for it.

The trouble is, in the long run, this is more expensive than SEO and you stop ranking as soon as you stop paying for the space.

Think of SEO like a mortgage, in the end, it’s your house (rank) and you pay for upkeep, PPC is a rental, short term you can get a better spot without too much investment but it’s more expensive in the long run. 


Now CRO is a slightly different situation, as it isn’t in the search results but rather on your own website. It stands for ‘Conversion Rate Optimisation’ and is often sold alongside SEO, at Sonder we include this with SEO where it’s sensible to do so.

Optimising your conversions means making sure the landing pages that SEO, PPC and your social media efforts are driving people to create leads and sales for you.

There’s no point in bringing in the traffic if they are just leavening again immediately, so CRO is an important step after SEO. The key principles of CRO are:

  • Match visitor intent – if you are ranking for a sale, they expect to see a sale when they click through to your page
  • Incentive to act – limited time offers, new technology to get you ahead of the competition etc
  • Clear CTAs (call to action)– clear buttons with good size text – ‘buy now’ ‘subscribe for free’ etc
  • No barriers – remove colourful distractions, other offers or 'fill in your life story to access…'
  • Test – run your CRO like a science experiment, change small things and watch for results or use the software like ‘Google Optimize’

The Funnel

In very simplified terms, your traffic generation (e.g. SEO, PPC) is getting people into the top of the funnel, so the more people you get the more conversions.

For a simple promotion, there’s then only one step between them and conversion, your promotion webpage. Looking at CRO for that page can increase the percentage of your traffic that converts.

The funnel for different businesses can be much more elaborate than this, with blogs and content often being an awareness driver, then once they’re interested in purchasing a product you sell, they are actively looking and find you again from your SEO or advertising, then onto your site which can have several stages in the funnel before purchase.

If you’d like more specific information relating to the sales funnel for your business then we can help, and we can help you with PPC, SEO and CRO too, just get in touch.

Posted on April 14th 2020

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