The Pros & Cons Of Paid Search Vs. Organic Search
When trying to draw more eyes to your business’s website, there are a few different strategies you can use to best optimize your company’s rankings in search engines.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an emerging marketing tactic many companies are turning to in an effort to attract more attention from would-be customers or clients, and SEO companies and beyond are gaining popularity as businesses capitalize on new ways to expand their brands.
When exploring digital advertising options, a business can decide to pay for a prominent spot in search results, known as paid search, or PPC (pay per click), or use organic SEO tactics to improve their visibility or ranking through organic search methods. Though both methods can improve performance and increase traffic for your business, there are some pros and cons to each option.
In finding brands and products, organic search is the leader in generating online clicks and sales, according to Business Insider. Twenty-one percent of US e-commerce orders in quarter one of 2016 were attributed to organic search results, with paid search results right behind at 20 percent in 2016. No matter the strategy, both approaches are effective in improving the number of eyes on a page or product.
Below are some outlined pros and cons of using paid search versus organic search in digital marketing.
Pros of Paid Search (PPC)
- Results are more immediate with paid search.
- It’s an easier approach. Rather than develop long-term SEO strategies organically, opting for paid search is quicker, more convenient, and provides results faster.
- PPC attracts customers ready to spend money.
- Provides a solid return on investment (ROI). Google Ads estimates a business will see an ROI of $8 per every $1 spent using paid Google Search and Ads.
- Easy to measure and track data. Using PPC shows factors like time on page and demographics, as well as what keywords are doing well and what could be improved.
- PPC provides a wide reach. Customers who would otherwise never see your product can now see your business in a prime position immediately.
- Budget flexibility. You can pay what you want for desired results.
- Ads are easy to customize or tweak at a moment’s notice by altering copy or shifting focus to better performing keywords.
Cons of Paid Search
- It costs you money upfront. You have to spend money to make money and pay for more traffic or attention. For those looking for more sustainable success over a longer period of time, paid search might not provide this (unless you have a deep well of funds for paid search campaigns.)
- Ad campaigns require attention and maintenance. If you opt into a paid search strategy using PPC, what’s doing well could vary on a weekly basis, forcing you to tweak your ads accordingly. Businesses often have the misconception that they pay for a ranking on a SERP and then are done.
- It’s a short-term solution. Generally, a paid search campaign is specified to a time limit or contract and can give short-term results that might not provide as much insight as a well-groomed, organic SEO strategy.
- Clicks or visits don’t always lead to money, meaning your PPVC campaign could be for nothing in many situations.
Pros of Organic Search (SEO)
- Organic search strategies are cost-free. Taking an organic approach to developing strong keywords and improving rankings may take longer, but can provide long-term benefits and cost you nothing over time.
- Organic search is more approachable to web users than paid ads. Customers are more likely to organically choose your product if they don’t feel pitched all the time through paid ads or promoted rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs). In this way, your page’s credibility is improved and favored among users.
- Stand out among competitors. Developing a strong SEO strategy can boost your rankings on a SERP, pushing your competitors’ results below yours and improving your traffic. Studies show the vast majority of clicks come from the first page of search engines, making those that fall on second and third pages largely obsolete compared to more successful competitors.
- Organic search is more effective than PPC. According to Google’s Economic Impact Report, organic search is up to five times more valuable than using Google Ads.
- Long-term, compounding ROI. While paid search results can provide short-term ROI, a strong SEO campaign can provide stable, long-term and reliable ROI.
Cons of Organic Search
- It can take time. Although it’s free to launch organic search campaigns, they can take a long time to develop strong keywords and rank highly. PPC generally produces quicker short-term solutions, while an organic search is a long-term play.
- Knowing SEO skills and practices is essential. It can take time to teach yourself the best practices and trends in SEO. Diving into data analytics can be intimidating and sway businesses from simply paying for better rankings using PPC.
- Constant maintenance and upkeep are required. You need to keep updating your optimizing methods so you don’t fade into irrelevance on SERPs.
- Results are not guaranteed. You can spend weeks trying to develop a strong organic search campaign and still lose to competitors.
- Heavy competition traffic. The rest of the internet is competing against you, particularly businesses with similar keywords and rankings.
- Profits may take time as well. Like results, profits can take time to arrive with organic search. Though the return on investment rates are high with organic search, that doesn’t mean it is seen quickly.
A company’s resources may dictate which strategy is a stronger approach for their business, though it’s generally recommended to have a combined approach — using paid and organic search methods simultaneously — to drive up traffic and visibility. Since each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, businesses can utilize both to attack different company goals.
Other options include hiring SEO services, like https://linkflow.ai/seo-consulting/, to handle your search campaigns for you. Many businesses opt for this approach since they often don’t have the time, manpower, or skill set necessary to effectively develop and monitor campaigns.