The Difference Between Paid Search and Organic Search

Digital Marketing Estimated Reading Time 6 mins
Updated November 10, 2023Published March 05, 2019
Author: Visibee

When you search for information, products, and services on search engine (such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing), there are two types of search results it gives you: organic and paid. Organic and paid search are geared towards increasing your online visibility, but these two types of techniques are used differently. In this article, we will go through the difference of the two types of search engine strategies, and how they can help you build your online presence.

Organic search

Organic search results are the Web page listings that appear on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) which closely match the relevancy of the user’s search terms. Also called “natural” results, ranking high in the organic results contained the most relevant information for your search is what SEO is all about.

Benefits of Organic Search

1. Brings in highly qualified prospects

Organic traffic is a completely different type of traffic from what you’ll receive from any paid ads or social channels. It is widely considered the most valuable traffic source. Organic search is what people are exactly looking for; the rest of these simply put things in front of people who may or may not be seeking what you offer. The quicker visitors perceive your offer as the ultimate solution to their problems, the quicker the conversion happens.

2. Cost-effective in the long run

The most obvious benefit of organic search traffic is a cost advantage. Unlike paid search campaigns that are expensive, optimizing for organic search doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money. Organic strategy is high-impact and low-cost, giving your company an edge over competitors who are trapped in paid ads.

There are a ton of free resources from reputable sources available to get you started with SEO and help your website rank high over your competitors. The downside to organic search is that it takes time to get indexed and really start generating traffic from this source. Although it may take more time, the long-term results will be worth it.

3. Gives higher credibility

People searching online for information, products or services typically bypass paid results and click on the top organic results. They’re looking for the most relevant and trustworthy answers to their problems.

When you follow SEO best practices on your website, you will naturally high search rankings which implies industry authority and leadership. That’s where the credibility factor comes into play. It’s why 75% of clicks throughs are organic.

Paid search

Paid search results are basically advertisements or sponsored ads that companies have paid to have their Web pages display at the top of search results for certain keywords in the fastest way possible. Paid search is also referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click-advertising (PPC).

For paid search, marketers use Google Ads (known as Google AdWords prior to July 2018) to craft ads and bid on placement opportunities in the auction. By using Google Ads, you can show your ads on one or both of Google’s advertising networks:

Google Search Network, which encompasses any ads that appear on Google search results pages, including Google Search, Google Shopping, Maps and its various search partners.

Google Display Network, which covers any website that partners with Google, and other Google sites such as Gmail and YouTube.

Benefits of Paid Search

1. Get on the First Page of Google

The biggest benefit of paid search is your company’s appearance above or to the right of the organic results, or giving them a shaded background, border lines, or other visual clues. Your business website can be seen by customers at the very moment they are searching for a product or service relevant to yours because it gives you an incredible targeting options through text ads, to running ads through remarketing based on their past behaviors, or focusing on specific audience demographics on the display network.

In this way, you can increase your visibility on search engines and drive more traffic to dedicated landing page and convert those visitors into new leads for your business.

2. People Who Click on Paid Search Ads are Ready to Buy

Not only does paid search advertising drive high traffic to your website, it does so more immediately. The ads platforms also enable you to target specific search queries and audiences to ensure that you’re getting as many impressions as possible while staying targeted to the personas in your prospective audience which gives you the right traffic coming in. Consumers who see your paid search ads are those who are searching for your product or service. They are most likely doing so because it is something they want to get now or in the near future.

3. Paid Search Analytics

Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing provide marketers using their advertising platform to measure and track their advertising performances. With this information you can learn high-level performance details including:

  • Where that person is located
  • How much time they spent on your site
  • What pages they visited on your site
  • What type of device they were using (mobile, tablet, laptop)

This detailed data allows you to clearly see what you spent and what it drove in terms of your end goals. Use it to be more efficient with your advertising, to continuously tweak and improve your campaigns, and to achieve the best results you want.

Organic search vs paid search

Higher organic ranking through organic search technique is done by creating relevant content that searchers will want to read for a specific keyword. A website's organic rank does not cost any amount aside from time and effort to get to that ranking, which you can do internally or have an expert do for you.

While paid search has no effect whatsoever on how a website ranks organically. Although paid advertising solutions offer a more immediate ROI and can drive a high volume of relevant traffic to your website, that traffic will disappear instantly once the ad is canceled, with no effect on the organic rank of the site.

So, what should you select for your marketing? The best strategy of them all is to find a balance between the organic search and paid search to get the best results for your business goals.

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