One of the key goals for most of the businesses online is to drive traffic to their website to raise awareness of the brand, generate and/or convert leads. 

To do this, you need to consider how easily discoverable your website is through the search engines – by utilising organic search or Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Or possibly invest marketing dollars into boosting this discoverability – through paid search or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) like Google Ads.

So, which strategy is best for you to invest in? Check out the difference between the two and key strategic considerations.

What is Organic Search (SEO)?

SEO is the process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial, or natural search results on search engines.

When you type in a keyword into a search engine, the organic or ‘natural’ results appear under the paid ads at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

The search engine algorithm analyses all the pages across the web and provides these results as the most relevant to what you’re searching for. 

The process of optimising to improve your ranking results involves steps such as: having an easy accessible site (for search engines to ‘crawl’, ‘index’ and ‘rank’ it), compelling content and inclusion of keywords relevant to your audience, fast load speed and great user experience, other websites linking to your website to cite your content, plus more. 

What is Paid Search (SEM)?

Paid Search or Search Engine Marketing is advertising within the search results whereby you only pay if a user clicks on the ad. It is a targeted and fast way of getting your website, brand, product or service in front of the right customer at the right time. This is a great option for boosting exposure and conversion during a short term promotional period or sale campaigns.

On Google this advertising is called Google Ads, which are located at the top of the search engine search results with the little green box with the word “ad” before the listing. 

Google Ads enable you to place ads according to keywords you select that describe your product or service. When customers search for your product or service using those keywords, having an ad that corresponds to their search at the top of the results page increases the likelihood of them clicking on the link to learn more and hopefully make a purchase.

Difference between Organic Search and Paid Search

Organic vs Paid Search Comparison Table by Victor & Flo

What should your business invest in?

Paid search initiatives are usually focused on generating immediate ROI and targeted results, while organic search or SEO is focused on long term results and brand building. 

Even though organic search is a very important part of your marketing mix, it takes time to improve rankings on search results for particular keywords. So if you want quick results that are easier to track and scale, paid search can certainly help fill the gaps and provide more visibility for particular keywords during a promotional period.

When it comes to deciding which option to use as part of your marketing mix, it is important not to put all your eggs into one basket. 

Both options can work very effectively together to help you deliver your short term and long term business and marketing goals.  

A well planned digital marketing strategy will help strike the right balance between the two to provide you the best return on investment. If you need help with planning and executing paid or organic search marketing we are here to help you. 

Check out the latest ‘Client Wins’ posts across our social media channels to read more about the successful results we have generated for our clients when it comes to SEO and Google Ads campaigns.