Which Is Better? Organic Search (SEO) Or Paid Search Advertising (PPC)?
Is it better to use paid search (PPC) versus organic search marketing? Sounds like a simple question, but the answer is much more complex. Both methods have specific benefits. Let’s discuss some major differences and consider the best approach.
Organic Search: Organic search results are the listings of Web pages returned by the search engine’s algorithms that closely match the search string of keywords. Marketers use SEO and content assets to get high search engine rankings. The goal is to be on the first page and then move into the top three rankings for specific keywords. That’s because the advantages of organic search are dependent on visibility. The higher the ranking the more pronounced the advantages. They all but disappear if your listing is not on the first page.
Organic Search (SEO) Benefits:
Cost: The most obvious benefit of organic search traffic is a cost advantage. Pay-per-click ads are guaranteed to put your company’s links in front of potential site visitors. But over time, the amount of cash you’ll spend on click-throughs can add up. Once you have implemented sound SEO principles, the cost-per-click for organic search traffic is zero, giving your company an edge over competitors who are trapped in a pay-per-click universe.
Credibility: One of the reasons why we advocate for organic site traffic is credibility. At this stage of the game, most Internet users know the score — companies that take an exclusively paid approach to site traffic are often behind the market in presence and credibility. By targeting organic traffic, our web design and online marketing team solidify your firm’s online presence and reputation.
Competition: Here’s something else to consider: when pursued aggressively, organic search traffic can effectively block your competitors’ online presence. The more effort you invest in improving organic search traffic, the higher your site appears in search rankings — pushing competitors further down the list.
Combined Approach: Internet users are non-homogenous. Some prefer to access sites through search engines; others routinely click paid ads. That makes it important for business sites to take a combined approach that integrates both organic search traffic and paid advertising into a coherent online strategy.
Paid Search (PPC): Paid search results are advertisements. A business pays to have their ads displayed when users do a search containing specific keywords. The ads are typically displayed above and to the right of organic search results. The exact placement of the ads is determined by both a bidding process and quality score.
Paid Ads (PPC) Benefits:
Time: Unlike organic search rankings that can take months or years, paid results are placed at the top of rankings as soon as you pay for ad placement.
Targeting: PPC campaigns can be tailored to reach specific audiences. Examples of segmentation include geo-targeting, income, age, educational level, marital status, industry, etc.
Click through rates: Searches using terms that denote high purchase intent such as product or brand-specific keywords will get more clicks than organic results. The advantage of paid search can clearly be seen in the Internet retailers MarketLive Performance Index data. For the year 2013 as a whole, PPC accounted for 36.5% of search traffic but an outsized 47.9% of revenue from search.
Together is better! For many businesses, the best approach is a mix of both organic and paid search results. The advantage of this approach is that organic rankings give business credibility and evergreen search results. Paid search (PPC) provides immediate top-of-the-page listings and greater click through rates, i.e., sales, when consumers are ready to purchase.
The Bottom Line
So, should you use paid search or organic search for your marketing? It depends. It depends on your marketing needs. It depends on which method gives you the best CTR or ROI. Whether paid or organic search is better depends on purchase intent displayed by the search query. What we do know is that “together is better.”
Let us help you develop an effective website solution for your business, tailored to honing in on your prospective clients.