Search engines have completely changed the way we live, and interact with the world around us. Just think about how often you consult Google search for just about any kind of information you seek. In less than a second after your search, millions of results pop up on the search engine results page (SERP).
With the search list, you will find two types of results: paid search and organic search results. Both represent valuable traffic sources but are completely different.
Whether you are a marketer or a business owner, understanding the difference between paid and organic search is critical to the success of any brand. Read on to learn about the key differences between both traffic sources, and how you can apply it to your business.
Paid vs. Organic Search: What is the Difference?
This simply refers to unpaid or “natural” search results, and appear below the ads in the search engine results page. Organic search results are natural in the sense that the pages appear purely based on their quality. This means that the search engine algorithm would have analyzed the page and ranked it high up the search list as it feels the page contains information that is relevant to your search.
Organic search is the traffic that comes from web users finding your website among search results. It is widely considered the most valuable source of web traffic for a few important reasons:
- Google is the most trusted source of information.
- The Google search engine is very particular about ranking web pages, so appearing in the top five results for a keyword is evidence that you have high-quality content.
- Moving towards the top of the ranking can be slow and difficult, but you’d enjoy the benefits for a long time once you are there.
- Results on Google’s first page enjoy 92% of search traffic. There is a massive 95% drop in traffic on the second page.
But there is a bit of a downside to organic search: generating traffic and getting index through this source takes time. So, you may want to look elsewhere if you are looking for instant success with the search engines.
In the early 2000s, ranking high on Google was pretty easy. In fact, the competition was almost non-existent that simply writing a few articles that discuss a particular subject could get you top spot for several niches. At that time, there was really no need to be creative, to beat the system. But not anymore.
Today, many many businesses have websites, with handlers that may have some knowledge of SEO. This increasing online presence has made Google crackdown on illegal “Blackhat” SEO strategies as well as keyword stuffing techniques employed by some marketers to beat the system.
Ranking in the organic search results is a long-term process. To make your web page desirable to search engine algorithms, you must apply SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. But you shouldn’t be discouraged; these techniques are not as complex as they seem. With persistence and commitment, you will climb up the rankings, and it will be well worth it in the long run.
Also known as search engine marketing (SEM), this refers to a search process where the results are determined by payments from businesses who want to appear at the top of the rankings in the fastest possible way. Though there is a small yellow label next to the title outlined “ad”, these pages still fit in seamlessly and even feel native to web users.
It is no wonder paid search has increasingly gained popularity in recent years with the strong competition for organic search rankings. Rather than patiently wait for the results of organic search over a period of time, you can pay for an ad as this immediately gives you a chance to clinch top spot on Google. The Google AdWords program is the most used ads program today. Through this program, marketers craft ads and position themselves for placement on the search engine.
It is usually assumed that whoever spends more on paid search will enjoy the best ranking and visibility, but this is not necessarily the case. Like organic search, Google considers factors like quality score, quality of landing page, and copy rules to ensure ads that rank still provide relevant information for users. User experience is key for Google – no matter the search method.
It is important that you apply tact when starting out with “paid search.” Done right, you can quickly start getting loads of targeted traffic to your landing pages.
Paid vs. Organic Search: Which Traffic Source is Best for My Business?
To compete favorably in today’s digital space, businesses and marketers need both traffic sources. In a general sense, organic search is evergreen; so long as the information therein continues to remain relevant, they will continue to climb atop the rankings. But it typically takes three to six months to start climbing up the search rankings, and many marketers don’t want to wait that long.
Paid search gives you immediate results – getting visitors to your website and increases your conversation rate, which proves to be worth the while in the long run. The downside here is that paid search ads seize to appear once you stop making payments.
Every business has unique goals and objectives. Sit down with members of your team to consider the pros and cons of each traffic source and determine which will fit your budget and timeline.
Wondering how to best market your business via SEO and Paid Search? Wondering what your budgets should look like in order to bring in leads and sales? Have a conversation with one of our team members today by calling 888.980.8170 to learn more, and see if we can help you reach your goals. Or, feel free to fill out the form below to get more information.
Jack Brandt is President of Mixed Media Ventures. In his 18 years in the online (Internet) space, he has worked with organizations of all sizes, with one employee to 50,000+ employees consulting them on how to grow their businesses and help their clients/customers achieve their online goals. He's worked for some of the top Internet companies of their day, and some you've never heard of. In every case, Jack has helped his clients to achieve their online goals with unique solutions that helped them generate new revenue streams. He now leads Mixed Media Ventures and helps businesses with their Digital Marketing efforts, helping them generate leads, prospects, and clients.
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