cody-paid-vs-organic-costsOrganic search and paid search are both great options for pushing traffic to your site to acquire leads. But which one is better? Does one outperform the other? You should weigh out the benefits of each and these will differ from business to business. First let’s establish the difference between the two and then we will see if one’s benefits outweigh another.

Most of you already know the differences between organic and paid search, but for those who don’t we will do a little review. Organic search is “free” traffic sent to your website from search engines such as Google and Bing. I place free is quotations because these search engines look for keywords and content on your site to deem how relevant your site is compared to the question being asked. Creating this content and doing Search Engine Optimization takes time and money, so even though you are not paying for each click to your site, in some way you are paying to show up in that organic search.

Paid search, also know as PPC, is when companies set up advertisements on search engines to direct traffic to their websites. Advertisers pay the publisher (ex. Google, Yahoo, etc) when one of their ads are clicked. Whether or not these ads are shown depends on the keywords you are targeting, the relevancy of your site, the amount you bid and other factors like geographical areas you may choose.

When should you use the SEO strategy?

Both tactics have proven results of success, but which one is better? It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes using organic SEO is not appropriate for a business and the same goes for PPC. First lets take a look at using SEO to attract organic search.

Are you looking for consistent results? Then you are looking for organic search. Making it to the first page of search engines with SEO won’t happen overnight. It is a process of updating your website and adding relevant content over weeks, months and even years. Once you do reach the first page, you can enjoy the sustained effect of using SEO. Keep your website updated with new content will help you sustain your position to reap the long-term benefits of organic traffic.

Do you want to build an authority site? An authority site is defined as a resource center for a particular niche. A good example of this would be ESPN. If you are looking for sports information, this is usually the first place you go. So using SEO is important to get your site to a point where you generate enough traffic over time that your visitors start to recall your site by URL alone. Ultimately you want to build up your reputation enough to become the dominant site in that market.

Looking to increase the value of your website? Organic search is the best route to go if your end goal is to sell your website. In order to increase the value of your site, you need to create a demand for your website and the value may be determined by a couple different metrics. Some of the factors that increase value are below:

  • Amount of traffic generated
  • Consistency of traffic
  • Link popularity
  • Page rank
  • Search engine rank over time

So we have establish some of the best times to focus on organic strategy. Now let’s take a look at when you should use paid search to increase your traffic.

When should you use the PPC strategy?

Are you looking for immediate results? PPC is the only way to drive traffic instantly. Once your ads are approved, you will start seeing traffic within minutes most likely. So PPC can be used for product launches and content marketing for offers with high conversions.

Looking for targeted traffic? PPC for search engines are great for narrowing down traffic by geographical location. You can not control this with organic search. So if you only service a specific area, you can use these platforms to target people in this area specifically, instead of attracting people globally. Other PPC platforms may even offer you the ability to narrow down your search to specific age ranges, genders, income brackets, education levels, and even marital statuses; but these can not be established with search engines.

Do you have a time-sensitive offer? Using SEO to market a time sensitive offer is difficult and would most likely produce belated results; but with PPC you can market any of your offers that may be ending soon. It is also great for promoting events or seasonal offers.

Looking to dominate one keyword category? Having the top spot organically on google for a certain keyword does not allow you to dominate that keyword. PPC results will always place higher than organic searches and thus you are losing a lot of your traffic to these clicks. In order to dominate this keyword, you will not only need to rank high organically, but also pay for these top spots.


If you had to choose either PPC or SEO, these are the situations you would need to consider for making an informed decision. But my thoughts between PPC and SEO are similar to some of the most recent Ford commercials where the driver and passenger are talking about choosing between and or or. Ultimately they have a cutaway to a situation where they choose or and it leads to a disaster (choosing nuts or bolts when building a pool). Ultimately the actors decide and is always better and this is true for the debate of SEO vs. PPC. Both are important and they tend to complement each other.

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