Organic Search Vs. Paid Search — Two Search Marketing Peas in a Pod

You’ve spent a lot of time, dollars and energy to get your fancy new website running. What’s next? Traffic! That means you need search marketing. Search engine traffic is a must if you want your website to be seen – after all, what’s the point of having a fancy website if nobody sees it?

Needle sticking out of a haystack.
Search marketing makes it easier for your customers and prospects to find your website using search engines.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a broad term that encompasses a few different areas. Today we will talk about two of these branches of SEM: organic SEO and paid search advertising. First, let’s discuss the difference.

Organic SEO and PPC Defined

Search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns generate organic traffic. The goal of SEO is to improve website ranking for relevant keywords. You want your website to show up on the first page of organic search results – ‘organic’ refers to the middle section of results you see in search engines – for what you’re selling, and you’d probably be considered super human if you did that without organic SEO.

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns generate paid traffic. The goal of running a PPC ad campaign is to increase visibility of and traffic to your website by showing up in the paid search results – you can identify ‘paid’ results easily as they are brief advertisements separate from the organic results. These ads are prompted when a user types in a relevant keyword into the search engine.

The Beneficial Value in Organic and Paid Search

There is a reason why the phrase “don’t put all your eggs into one basket” exists. There is a very good chance that your website could use both organic SEO and PPC marketing. Balance is the key.

Why Do You Need SEO?

Besides the obvious benefits of increased visibility and traffic to your website, there are a few very good reasons (and I’m sure I missed a few) why your website needs organic SEO to some extent.

  • It’s an investment. Whether you have a trusted Internet marketing company handle your SEO activities or you travel the journey solo, you are making a solid investment in your website. Every time you optimize a landing page or write a blog post, you’re introducing new and relevant content to your website. Search engines love recent, relevant content.
  • People have trust issues. People trust organic search results and tend to click on those results more frequently than they do paid ads.
  • Long-term results. Essentially what you are getting is a long-term commitment. SEO sets you up for continued success down the road. Links and content will grow steadily stronger and your position will improve. Just remember that results won’t appear overnight – you need dedication.
  • No discrimination. SEO will boost your website’s performance and ranking on all search engines, not just Google or Bing.

Why Do You Need PPC?

So you already have proven results from organic SEO? There’s no reason to venture into PPC advertising, right? After all, nobody will even click on those paid ads anyway. Not the case! There are a couple solid reasons to reconsider paid search as part of your Internet marketing strategy.

  • Immediate results. Businesses want instant gratification, and that’s completely understandable. While there are no long term benefits to PPC, you will see immediate results – as soon as your ads are approved, they will begin to appear in search engine results. As long as you set up your ad campaign correctly, you can have traffic flowing to your website that same day.
  • Pay for performance. You will never spend beyond the budget that you set for the day. You just need to be careful with the money that you are spending. It’s easy to spend too much on not enough clicks, so it’s important to know what you’re doing and how to optimize your PPC ad campaign to maximize the dollars you are willing to spend.
  • Increase your real estate. When you show up in the first page of the organic AND paid search results, you’re doing something right. That’s not just something the marketing nerds like us will notice either – people realize (consciously or not) that it takes a successful, legitimate, intelligent company to show up twice in one search. A company that doesn’t know what they’re doing couldn’t do that… right?

Why SEO Should Not Replace Your PPC Ads


Boxing gloves hanging on a black background.Your SEO efforts affect your PPC ad campaign, and vice versa. They don’t have to battle.

When you have optimized pages on your website, you will automatically be setting yourself up for success in your PPC campa

ign. You will experience better click through rates, bounce rates and keyword quality scores. The higher the quality of your landing pages, the better your ads will perform.

When you rank well for a keyword in the organic results, you should have a paid search campaign that also points to that page on your website. Not only does this have strong branding influence, but this tactic will lead to better results overall for both your organic SEO and paid search efforts.

Reasons to Integrate Organic and Paid Search

The most effective Internet marketing campaigns integrate different tactics. Both organic SEO and paid search advertising are important pieces of a robust Internet marketing strategy. They are two search marketing peas in a pod.

Need some more proof that integration is the best way to go with search marketing? Okay, then.

  • A 2011 Google study found that 89% of traffic generated by paid search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when your paid search ads are offline.
  • The same Google study showed that a paid search ad that displayed with a corresponding first page organic result had a higher click through rate (CTR). That means that when people see your link in the organic results, they’re more likely to click on your paid ad that shows up alongside the same results.

While it’s important to note that these findings were made by Google, which has a vested interested in its paid search product, there are some teeth to those facts.

A good organic ranking is surely powerful, but before you start to think that the world revolves around SEO, stop and think about balance. A good PPC campaign will compliment a good SEO campaign, and vice versa.

Can You Commit to Search Marketing?

When you’re truly faced with the dilemma, “Organic vs. paid search traffic?” don’t get too worked up. There’s always a solution to your specific situation – trust us, we deal with it all of the time! Every business is different and has different goals, so the perfect search marketing mix does exist for your company. First, think about each of these bullet points, and at the end ask yourself, “Am I willing to commit?”

  • SEO takes time and patience. It can take weeks or months to see results or changes. The effort involved with SEO is much more intensive than the energy you’ll be putting out to run paid search advertising.
  • To bring in the right amount of traffic that you want to your website, you could easily spend hundreds of dollars a month on your paid search efforts.
  • With both organic SEO and paid search advertising, you need to keep up with the changes and continually improve and tweak your efforts if you want to stay successful.

You may want the quick results you’ll find with PPC advertising, but each visit to your site will cost you money. You may understand the value in consistent long-term results, but you know you don’t have the time to invest in search engine optimization. What’s a business professional to do?

If you’re not willing or able to commit to either organic SEO or PPC advertising (or both), don’t give up just yet. This blog post doesn’t have all the answers or all the information you need to make a solid decision. There are possibilities that you didn’t even know existed… don’t believe me? I challenge you to ask us about it.

Finding the Right Search Marketing Mix for You

Google’s ever evolving search placement algorithm means one thing: you can’t rely on one search marketing activity to be effective forever. You need to mix it up and go with the flow. Without the proper mix, you could be putting too many of your eggs into the wrong bucket.

It’s a good idea to see what kinds of search marketing services are offered by Internet marketing agencies, and definitely try talking to a few that you deem legitimate. Finding an expert in the field will help you figure out what you need.

Of course, ask us any questions you have! The marketing consultation is free and you don’t have to worry about commitment. Our goal is to help, and we’re pretty nice to talk to. 🙂

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About the author : Vision Advertising

Vision Advertising is a full-service marketing agency enhancing the online brand presence of business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies across the US. We focus on providing custom marketing services to address unique client needs, customer profiles, and budgetary concerns, created in-house by our team of skilled marketing specialists. This author profile is used for deattributed posts or when content is posted to this blog without comment.