Paid Search vs SEO: Which Is Better?

3 years ago  •  By  •  0 Comments

Regardless of the size of your business, a strong online marketing campaign is a crucial component to your brand’s success.  Since potential customers are most likely to find your business’s website through the use of a search engine, achieving and maintaining a high ranking on various search engine results pages (SERP) should be a major goal of your online advertising strategy.  Studies have shown that search engine users tend to only click on links featured on the first page of search results.  To get your website among these valuable links, you’ll need to focus your marketing efforts on either paid search (also known as PPC or pay per click)  or organic search (also known as SEO or search engine optimization).  Which begs the question: which is better, paid or organic search?     

Paid Search  

Paid searches are sponsored ad placements that appear on the first page of a SERP, often placed at the top of the page.  Depending on the type of advertisement you choose, you can pay each time your ad is clicked or only when the ad is displayed.  Paid search allows your company’s site to appear at the top of a SERP as soon as you purchase the ad, an advantage that significant time and effort.  Additionally, you can tailor your PPC campaign to target specific audiences.  Paid search is particularly effective when reaching customers with a high intent to purchase; serious buyers are likely to click on sponsored ads over organic search results.     

Despite its immediate effectiveness, paid search has its disadvantages.  Depending on how competitive the keywords are, prices can range from pennies to multiple dollars per click.  Paid search requires continual investment for your site to maintain high ranking status – once you stop paying for ads, they will no longer appear on the SERP.

Organic Search

Organic search results are listings that appear on a SERP based on the relevancy of the keywords used in the search.  The benefits of investing in organic search marketing are numerous.  Consumers place far more trust and credibility in organic search results than paid advertising.  Click-through rates are better for organic search results, with the exception of high purchase intent searches.  It’s also easier to maintain a high ranking on a SERP using organic search methods, as the listing won’t disappear from the page as soon as the ad campaign finishes.

The downsides are the time and investment involved in getting your business’s website up to speed with what search engines find desirable.  Creating a website with an ideal layout and content, that can be continually adapted to the changes in the search engine’s algorithms as well as user’s habits is both a significant time and monetary investment.

Which is better for your business?

So, which is the right choice for you, paid search or organic?  Both have their pros and cons, and both are useful in your online marketing strategy.  If you are just launching your business or are providing a special offer that you want serious buyers to be aware of, paid search is a good option.  If you are trying to establish credibility and create a highly optimized site to continue to build brand awareness, organic search would be the way to go.  Ultimately, some combination of the two, wherein your business invests in creating a site with a top-notch user experience and places careful bids of relevant keywords, will likely result in the most success. Because it is in every business’s best interest to have a well-rounded digital strategy, it is most highly advisable that you invest in both to some degree, to maximize your digital marketing efforts and potential leads from those efforts!   

If you’re looking for advice on how much time, energy, effort, and cost your business should invest in either paid or organic search, drop us a line! We can evaluate the current marketing strategy your business is using, in conjunction with your overall objectives, and put together a search package that is right for you: affordable, competitive, and no-hassle.   

[Editor’s Note: According to Google’s most recent changes, ads will only be shown at the top of the page and not on the right sidebar anymore. We regret the error.]