What is the difference between paid vs organic search traffic?

As a business owner, you already know that the Internet can be a powerful tool and ally for growing your company, which is why you've invested in a website for your business. But that is just the beginning. The next step is to work on bringing visitors to your website.

Search Engines Drive Traffic to Your Website

There are many different ways to drive traffic to your website, such as running print advertising and direct mail campaigns or engaging in social media, but one of the most effective ways to get in front of your customers is to be shown on Google search results.

Search engines like Google can drive a big percentage of traffic to a business’ website. In fact, one research pegs it at 93% of all Internet traffic coming from search engines. This makes it imperative for local businesses to not only maintain a presence online, but also have their website rank higher in search results to bring in customers.

Organic Search vs Pay-Per-Click Search

There are two ways to show up on the top of search results: Paid search (also referred to as Pay-per-click, Google Adwords, Search Engine Marketing) and Organic Search (also referred to as SEO or Search Engine Optimization)

Below is a high-level comparison of the main differences between paid vs organic search.

  Paid Search Organic Search
Location Ads appear on top or bottom or page ** Results appear on the middle of the search result page
How results are ranked Relevancy is based on our account settings, such as how closely a search term matches the keyword you've entered and your ad text Relevancy is based on hundreds of factors such as the text on the page or the links from other sites to the page
Timeframe Results can be seen immediately after the campaign is launched Results will take time to take effect, some even taking months
Impact Results will stop immediately when your campaign budget is stopped Business can continue to see residual benefits even after the SEO work has stopped
Costs You set the budget on how much you want to spend. Some keyword phrases could be as low as $0.05/click if very few competitors are bidding on the same phrase, while others could be $15/click or higher. There is also a management fee if you decide to let someone else take care of your account. There is no cost to try to optimize your website. The cost is in the work itself. Costs vary widely, with some SEO companies charging $100/month while others charge over $1000/month. It depends on what services you get (e.g. how much new content you want created, how many other websites will have links to your sites, etc.) and how competitive are the keywords/phrases you want to rank for. Note that no SEO company can guarantee results.

The one thing both SEO and PPC have in common is that they are not a “set it and forget it” type of marketing. To make the most of these campaigns, you have to monitor them and continually make improvements because Google and other search engines regularly make changes to their algorithm and pay-per-click settings.

If you have the time and interest in learning more about SEO and PPC for your business, there are many free resources available on the Internet to help you become proficient in it. However, if you want to focus on what you do best, don’t hesitate to contact us and we can explore more about your business goals and recommend the best search marketing option for your business.

** As of February 2016, Google search results pages on desktop no longer shows text ads on the right hand side.