• This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Organic Search Results vs. Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Posted on May 14, 2014 by Christopher Rhines

Your shiny new website has just been launched and you’re excited to know that customers are going to be knocking down your door to purchase your products and services. But how are your customers going to FIND your website? The World Wide Web is a big place, and it’s quite possible that your business will have a lot of competition.

How can your website stand out from the crowd? Don’t worry about searching for new customers – let your customers FIND YOU. There are two primary methods of using search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing and others) to drive traffic to your website: Organic search results (SEO) and Paid search results (SEM)

Organic Search Results

Most search engines, over time, visit your website with their “spiders”. Spiders are automated computer programs that collect data from your site. The data that is collected is used by the search engines to determine your “ranking” when someone searches for keywords associated with your business.

Many variables are used by search engines in determining where your website listing appears on search engine results pages. Criteria such as relevance, keyword matches, website copy, and inbound links all play a part. It is usually very valuable for your business to be listed highly in organic search engine results, but it takes a lot of time and planning to get a prominent organic ranking.

Paid Search Results

While organic search results are free, paid search results require a fee in order for search engines to display a link to your website. These services are referred to as pay-per-click advertising, which is a form of search engine marketing.

With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, the advertiser only pays when someone clicks their ad. Paid ads have more of a direct cost associated with them than organic search results, but there is less competition, and it’s much easier to get listed higher in paid search results than it is within organic results.

Organic vs. Paid – What Are The Benefits?

Benefits of Organic Search Results

  • Unlike paid campaigns, there is no direct cost involved to get your website listed in organic search results.
  • More people click organic search results, which means your site will get more traffic.
  • After the initial time investment, a successful search engine optimization campaign provides better long-term value than PPC advertising.

Benefits of Paid Search Results

  • PPC campaigns can be up and running in less than a day. Organic search engine optimization sometimes takes several months to see results, especially for new websites.
  • It is much easier to calculate risk and ROI (return on investment) with paid advertising. It is much more difficult to predict the time investment (cost) required for organic optimization.
  • Almost every PPC service (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) provides the advertiser with statistics and reporting tools to measure the effectiveness of each paid campaign.

How Do I Choose?

Every business is different, and every business has a different budget set aside for marketing. The ideal solution is to take advantage of both organic and paid advertising opportunities. Organic search results, which will mature with a well-designed search engine optimization plan, should be viewed as a long-term solution for driving traffic to your website. Paid (PPC) advertising is a terrific short-term solution, especially if your website is brand new, and SEO optimization has yet to yield high organic search results.

Typically a successful search engine marketing campaign will include elements from both types of search result listings. It’s important to keep in mind that neither organic search results nor paid search listings are a “magic solution” for driving traffic to your website. Each of these is a continuous ongoing process which requires attention and fine-tuning.

Let Us Help

Let us help grow your business and drive traffic to your website with organic and paid search engine listings. If you have any questions, or if you would like additional detailed information, we’d love to chat with you and your business. Give us a call at 804-577-8679 or contact us below to obtain a complimentary project estimate.

Let's Chat

About the author:

Christopher Rhines

Partner, Director of Development

Connect on LinkedIn

Christopher is the Director of Development and one of the partners at Torx. In addition to keeping Torx's Richmond office firing on all cylinders, he can often be found deep in the trenches, building custom content management systems and WordPress-powered websites. He still remembers how to write Basic computer programs on Apple IIs and Commodore 64s.