Organic Search vs. Paid Search

In the world of search engines, there is a relentless battle being fought. A battle for visibility, clicks, and space all taking place on that coveted results page that appears after automatically (or mindlessly) search for answers on the internet.

The hard-fought battle within search engine results pages (SERPs) is two-fold. First, the algorithms used by Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. are designed to reward the most relevant and authoritative pages in order to give users the best results.

However, companies can place bids on specific keywords to usurp the algorithm and be ranked at the top of the SERP. 

With that, we have the separation of “paid” & “organic” search. Here is the difference and the benefits between them.

Organic 

Mostly everyone we know uses Google, but believe it or not, 19% of people use other platforms like Bing and Yahoo. Semantics aside, generally Google is used to answer someone’s question, whether it be the “nearest hair salon” or “best take out near me”. The results that appear beneath the ads are considered “organic results”. 

Links (businesses) that appear in search results are based on the quality and content of the page, which is classified as “organic search traffic”. Organic search traffic is the most valuable type of traffic, not that “paid search traffic” isn’t valuable; it just proves its value elsewhere.

Google chooses and is very particular on what is considered a page with high quality content which gives it a ranking. 

Moving up in the rankings takes time and persistence. The process can be difficult to navigate, which is a potential downside to organic search traffic. However, once a website moves up in Google rankings, it is there to stay and benefits long term as long as it’s maintained. The method to improve organic search traffic is through search engine optimization (SEO).

Paid 

If you are looking for instant results, this is where “paid search traffic” or pay-per-click (PPC) proves itself useful. 

Paid search results are those you see with the green box and “Ad” next to it. It’s very subtle, but next time you search something, pay attention of those little green boxes – those are paid results.

Each time a user clicks the ad that business pays a fee. A business bids on ad placement or sponsored link. 

When users search keywords related to that business, the ad will appear at the top of the page. There is no waiting to be at the top of Google with paid searches, it is instant. Conversely, when a business stops paying for that search term, they are no longer listed at the top. 

Paid or sponsored advertisements can be used on various platforms including Facebook, and Instagram; which helps with a broader reach to potential customers. These are considered social media ads

Paid advertising is a good tool for businesses rolling out a new product or service and want instant traffic to the new highlighted area. 

In conclusion- Organic vs. Paid

Organic Traffic

  • Organic traffic is FREE!
  • Organic traffic is long term
  • SEO offers keyword research/analytics (SEO case study)
  • Organic traffic accounts for the majority of all clicks 
  • High quality content is most important 
  • Organic traffic is the most sustainable
  • Gives a competitive advantage

Paid Traffic

  • PPC produces instant results 
  • Paid advertising improves brand awareness
  • PPC is budget friendly 
  • Paid advertising provides measurable results
  • Paid advertising helps generate more qualified leads
  • Ability to micro target (See it in action)

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