Organic Search vs Paid Search. What’s the difference and which is better?

search marketing
Blog, Online Marketing, SEO
Written by: Connections Marketing
search marketing

It is the start of a new year and if you haven’t done so already, now is a great time to start thinking about your 2018 Marketing Strategy. One of the strategies I often recommend to my clients is Search Marketing. There are a lot of people on the internet, so it is important for you to take advantage of and prioritize your online presence for your business and start capturing those potential leads.

Two of the most common types of Search Marketing when achieving a strong online presence would include Marketing for Organic Search (SEO) and Marketing for Paid Search (PPC).

types of google search results

What is Organic Search?

Marketing for organic search means that you are aiming to get your website ranked as high as possible on the first page of a search engine such as Google, naturally, without “boosting” or “paying a cost per click”.

High rankings within the organic search area is accomplished with SEO, which is a digital marketing method that focuses on optimizing your website’s content, technical aspects, back links etc. for relevancy on targeted user search terms.

Getting to the top of Google organically however, takes a lot of consistent effort and time but in the long run, it is seen as one of the most beneficial tactics.

Below are a few pros and cons to think about when considering Marketing for Organic Search (SEO):

Pros for Organic Search:

  • Authority / Credibility: A high ranking site in the organic section is often perceived as trustworthy, enticing users to click.
  • Sustainability: Once you get ranked on the 1st page, your site will stay there until competition increases. You will notice when competition is increasing because your rankings will drop slowly, which actually gives you enough time to amp up your SEO strategy. If you find your site dropped off the first page, almost instantly, it may be because it is penalized, which you then need to dig deep into your site and strategy to determine what Google did not like.
  • Cost Effective: Although SEO costs can range depending on the competition, in the long run, SEO is more cost effective. Due to the sustainability of SEO, once you stop this method, it will take a good amount of time before your 1st page presence disappears off the 1st page of Google, (unless any of the situations I listed above, happens)

Cons for Organic Search:

  • Time: It takes a long time to get ranked on the first page of Google. Depending on your industry and the competitiveness of your keywords, first page rankings may be months to even years to accomplish first page results. If you are looking for a quick way to get on 1st page and announce your website, SEO is not the method for immediate results.
  • Consistency: In order to achieve high rankings, your SEO campaign will need to be performed routinely and methods up to date, due to constant Google algorithm changes. If you do not have the time to perform routine SEO tasks, then results will be slow growing.

What is Paid Search?

Paid Search or Pay Per Click (PPC) refers to the advertisements typically placed at the very top or very bottom of a search page. You can purchase ad space on search engines and the placement of your ad would be dependent on competition, bidding, and quality score of your ad.

Depending on your goals, PPC is a great method if you need immediate, targeted online presence. Here are some things to think about when considering a Paid Search Campaign:

Pros for Paid Search:

  • Time: Unlike organic search, your site can be featured on the first page of Google, almost instantly, with the right amount of optimization and budget.
  • Targeting: By understanding your audience, you can ensure that you are reaching quality leads by optimizing your ads and utilizing special features included in a paid ad. Some special features include remarketing, interest targeting, location targets etc.
  • Customizable Messaging: Ads allow you to have more control on your delivery and messaging of your online listing. You can incorporate or focus on specific call-to-actions (call now, visit us, pricing overview, etc.) than you could with an organic listing.

Cons for Paid Search

  • Temporary: Once you stop paying for PPC, the traffic that you were used to getting to your site will stop immediately. Unless you’ve done some SEO, your visibility on Google for targeted search terms could now be slim to none.
  • Annoyance: Just by seeing “AD” next to a listing can be off-putting to a user, and they will purposely not click. Sometimes users do not like it when they know they are being marketed to so they may avoid clicking on anything “ad-related” (unless the CTA is worth it 😉 ). Other times ads can be so annoying to users that they end up using an “Ad Blocker” which actually hides all paid advertisements, preventing you from reaching potentially qualified leads.
  • Expensive: Depending on the competition in your industry, PPC can become very expensive. Increasing bids, the types of ads you put out, the types of keywords you select all adds up. Which leads me to my next point…
  • Advanced Strategy: Unless you know what you are doing, I recommend having someone who does, set this up for you. This is not a strategy for beginners. A campaign that is set up incorrectly could be costly. Before you know it, you will have wasted your $1000/month budget within the first 2 weeks of your campaign and received only a handful of clicks, which may not even be quality leads. So be careful with this one! You can burn through your budget really fast if you do not know what you are doing.

So which is better? An Organic or Paid Search Campaign?

My honest answer- if you could only do one, prioritize marketing for Organic Search (SEO). This will be worth it in the long run. But for an ideal and healthy online marketing campaign, I would actually recommend doing both. For example, if you have a new website but really want to gain online traffic right away, having a PPC campaign can help promote for immediate results all while having an SEO campaign running in the background preparing you for longevity of your online presence.

So think about your goals, time and investment and then give me a call and we’ll create a custom strategy for you!

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