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Organic vs. PPC Traffic: Pros and Cons

Search engines provide both organic and paid results to users. For marketers to reach these users, they need to understand how search engines work and the relative advantages and disadvantages of pay per click (PPC) and natural search to find the best online marketing strategy.

Although they have differences, the various search engines all have three basic duties:

  1. Search engine crawl the internet and collect information on the websites they find.
  2. They store and index the websites according to their content.
  3. Search engines return results to users based on algorithms that determine which websites have the most relevant and useful content for the keywords in user searches.

What is organic search marketing?

When users input keywords into a search engine, they are given results based on those keywords. This is an organic search. Search engines index their pages to decide what web pages are most relevant based on the searched keywords.

Benefits of organic search marketing

  • Free to Use:  Organic search marketing is free for website and blog owners since it is based on their web content.
  • More Click-Through: Web users have a tendency to believe that organic search results will have more relevancy to their search keywords and offer better content overall.
  • The possibility of asymmetric rewards: There is no guarantee, but those who succeed in the organic game can see great traffic over long periods of time for terms they never even optimized for.  The gains can greatly outweigh the investment.
  • Business Branding: Smart business owners know that it’s very important for their brand to show up in organic search results. This lets web users know that they exist, and are still a relevant leader in their industry.

Disadvantages of organic search marketing

  • Non-Automatic: Obtaining the highest search engines ranking for your keywords is not an automatic process. Organic search marketing takes time. You also have to have some skills in order to maximize your site’s performance, and there are no guarantees.
  • You can lose your ranking: Changes in search engine algorithms and other changes can cause your traffic to dry up virtually overnight.
  • Must Have SEO Skills: All of your online content needs to be SEO friendly. You will need to monitor the keywords being used by your target market, and optimize your web content based on the current popular keyword searches.
  • Time Consuming: Although website optimization is a must, it takes time. You must have the time to research consumer keyword trends, continuously provide new, relevant content and make your website known on the internet.
  • It can be costly: Depending on the methods used, SEO can be very costly and may not even produce a significant boost in traffic.

It also takes time for search engines to trust and rank new websites. So, you must keep optimizing until they trust your site to be relevant to certain keywords. Once they do, you still have to continuously re-optimize to stay relevant.

What is paid search marketing?organic vs ppc

The other key to making a decision between paid and organic searches is an understanding how paid searches work. Paid search advertising is almost like the old, traditional marketing methods, except it’s online. With paid search marketing, you purchase ads to be shown on search engines or websites. This helps your website or blog gain traffic because these little ads do attract clicks. This is usually called PPC (pay-per-click).

Advantages of paid search advertising

  • Ranking Guaranteed: Because your ad is paid for, you’re guaranteed that it will have a higher placement than organic results. The ranking of your ad is based primarily on how much your business paid to bid higher than other advertisers.
  • Ad Targeting: Ads can be targeted in PPC like no other form of advertising. You can set ads to appear in local areas, at certain times, etc.   
  • Simple Keyword Analyzing: Paid search ads are evaluated in real time with online tools. Since ads are analyzed in real time, you can consistently fine tune campaigns as keywords and other factors fluctuate.

Disadvantages of paid search advertising

  • Lower Level of Trust: Online consumers don’t trust these ads as much as they do organic search results. They find that these ads aren’t usually as relevant to their searched keywords and ranking high in the search engines commands a level of respect.
  • Limited Choices: It’s a proven fact that internet surfers want and require choices. When it comes to search results, they like having a long list of sites to choose from that are relevant to their search. Paid search listings do not provide online users with as many choices.
  • More Expensive: Paid searches, as the name implies, aren’t free. You must pay for this type of online advertising, and clicks for many keywords are now very expensive. Although, it can prove to be a reliable source of traffic for your site, proper SEO can do the same for a much longer period of time without daily costs.
  • Possible fraud: Search engines try to stop it as it is in their interests to protect their advertisers, but potentially costly fraud, to include competitors clicking on your links to increase your ad costs, is not uncommon.

In summary

Not surprisingly, what is best will depend on the marketer and factors to include time, finances, the market and ad costs. As both have advantages and disadvantages, ideally, a combination is usually best.

Whether you choose organic search or paid search marketing, you’re going to have to use the right keywords and strategy. Most businesses use a combination of the two methods. You can learn about them both at pay per click and SEO strategies.

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Working full time from home, I am interested in blogging, online marketing, financial topics and technology. My aim is to constantly build my knowledge of affiliate marketing and related topics while help others in the process by creating online resources that enlighten and inform.

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