If there’s one thing 2023 has made us realize, it’s that there are numerous ways we can drive traffic to our websites and landing pages. Of course, it’s obvious that one of the best sources we can tap into for traffic is Google, but things start getting confusing when it comes to organic vs. paid search.
Organic Search and Paid Search: An Overview
Google is the largest search engine in the world, with over 4.3 billion users across the globe. So there’s certainly more than enough website attention to go around. Two ways to tap into this huge traffic source are organic search and paid search.
What is Organic Search?
In the world of online marketing, the term “organic” refers to something that happens naturally. In this instance, “organic search” refers to the users who find your content on Google or Bing by clicking on one of the unpaid results from the search engine results pages.
The one downside to ranking well on Google is the time and work it takes for your site to be seen in the organic search results.
It can easily take six months or more before obtaining a first-page ranking on Google. However, once you get there, you will reap the benefits of Google organic traffic.
In the early days of the internet, it was incredibly easy to rank well on Google. There wasn’t much competition, and Google’s algorithms were fairly easy to game.
Now that practically every business has a website, Google has begun cracking down on “black hat” SEO practices that allow people to rank through illegitimate tactics (such as keyword stuffing and private blog networks).
In 2023, the journey to ranking well on Google isn’t easy, but the result is very much worth the effort. Google has become part of our daily lives, and customers rely upon reliable search queries daily to inform their purchase decisions. Organic traffic is still relevant when driving traffic to your business.
If you’re searching for reputable SEO companies to help increase your organic traffic, reach out to our team today.
What is Paid Search?
You can think of paid searches as a “front of the line” pass in the sense that your ad will always appear at the top of Google, even above those who have worked hard to earn the top spot organically.
Like most online advertising platforms, Google allows you to pay for your link to be seen first. Some online consumers aren’t even aware that the first few links at the top of a Google search are ads (although Google labels each ad with a tiny green box).
Ads fit naturally at the top, and it’s easy to forget or overlook the fact that they are, indeed, ads. Where organically ranking on Google can take months or longer before you see results, Google paid ads can provide relatively instant results. This is the primary reason that paid searches have become extremely popular.
There’s a reason Google Ads is one of the most popular advertising platforms on the web. Internet marketers realize the effectiveness of Google paid search and have jumped in head-first.
Despite its popularity, starting a campaign without knowing what you’re doing would be very unwise. If you don’t set up your ad properly, there’s a good chance it won’t perform well, and you’ll quickly hemorrhage money.
Organic Search vs. Paid Search – Which One Is Better?
As paid search continues to skyrocket, the topic of natural search vs. paid search has led to many heated arguments.
Some have argued, quite enthusiastically, that organic search will always be better due to the sheer amount of traffic you can drive to your business website without the need for an advertising budget. Others believe that paying to “cut to the front of the line” is the better option because it shaves time off the long period it would take to otherwise rank well on Google.
Both sides make valid points, but it all boils down to this: some people will click on paid advertisements while others will click on organic links. Instead of focusing on organic vs. paid search, marketers should focus their attention on both streams of traffic.
The Best of Both Worlds
Think about it this way — every business owner and marketer would love to organically rank for the keyword(s) they deem beneficial for their business. But it’s ridiculous to believe that every website on the internet can achieve the number one position.
In the same sense, every brand loves the idea of being first for every possible query, yet the amount of money they would have to invest to achieve this goal would likely bankrupt them. There are just too many highly competitive keywords to cover.
Leveraging the benefits of both organic and paid queries will allow you to gain maximum exposure. There will be certain situations where you will want to use one over the other.
For example, if you’re looking to draw in free, consistent traffic for your business, implementing a long-term SEO plan should be your plan of attack. However, if you need quick results, paid search will be the best option.
Typically speaking, organic search is the most cost-effective long-term strategy to draw in traffic. Likewise, a well-optimized Google Ads campaign can be a cost-effective traffic-generation strategy. It all comes down to finding a balance between organic and paid search.
How to Measure Paid and Organic Search Results in Google Ads
If you’re already practicing search engine optimization and using Google Ads to get leads for your business, you can access a special report. There is a report in Google Ads called Paid & Organic. This report shows the paid and organic results for a single keyword.
For example, imagine that you are running paid search ads for the exact match keyword “digital marketing services,” and you also have a page on your public website that ranks well organically for that exact keyword. The Paid & Organic report would show you how many paid clicks and impressions you received for “digital marketing services” in addition to the organic clicks and impressions during that same time.
Marketers find that advertising for a search term you’re already ranking results in more total clicks than doing one or the other. For instance, imagine you’re getting 30 organic clicks per week for “digital marketing services.” It happens like clockwork, and you can’t seem to get any more clicks than that.
When you start using Google pay-per-click ads, your paid campaigns generate about ten clicks per week, but your organic clicks increase to 35 per week. Marketers speculate that seeing a brand in both paid and organic results encourages people to favor your brand by clicking on your results at a higher rate.
This Google help guide will help you connect your accounts and access the report. Now you can analyze data from your organic and paid search results.
Implementing The Best Traffic Strategy For Your Business
Savvy marketers know there is value in leveraging both organic and paid search. It’s your job to examine your industry’s organic vs. paid search statistics and determine which combination is right for your business.
No matter what type of marketing tactic you intend to use to drive traffic to your website and landing pages, you can rely upon the expertise of MARION to help you make the right decision to meet the needs of your business. Our digital marketing agency in Houston offers various services, including internet marketing, SEO, and PPC, to help your business grow.
Contact our team today to learn what we can do for your business.