Key differences between organic search and paid search

You want your business’s name to pop up in as many places as possible online, and search engines are one of the most common ways that you’ll be found by a potential customer. Sometimes, a person will stumble upon a blog post of yours related to an issue that they Googled for answers. Other times, you can make sure that your target audience can’t miss your website by paying to have it strategically placed high on their search engine. Those are examples of organic search versus paid search, respectively.

Both organic search and paid search results can play a large role in your search engine optimization strategy, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. By comparing organic search and paid search, you can gain a better understanding of which will be more effective for different aspects of your marketing strategy.

How organic search differs from paid search

The definitions of organic and paid search results are pretty straightforward. Organic search means that the search results are unpaid and appear on the search engine results page (SERP) based on the engine’s algorithm. Paid search, also referred to as PPC, or pay-per-click, means that your company pays to have your site at the top of the SERP, and you get charged each time your listing is clicked.

While the definitions are already quite different, we’ll talk about the key differences of organic and paid search results so that you can see how they will each benefit your marketing efforts.

Here are how some factors that can differ between organic and paid search:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)  — When it comes to CTR, research shows that organic results are highly favored over paid results. The first organic result has an average of a 28.5% CTR, and the second result has a 15.7% CTR, while paid results only have a 2% CTR. Potential customers tend to gravitate toward organic searches because it shows relevancy for a targeted keyword as opposed to being there because you paid to be.
  • Speed of traffic results — If you want results as soon as possible, paid search overtakes organic search. Paid search tends to bring you much quicker results in terms of traffic. It can be almost instantaneous, while organic searches can take weeks or even months to climb their way up higher onto the SERP for the traffic that you’re looking for. 
  • Return on investment (ROI) — Organic search tends to bring a higher return on investment than paid search. This is because organic search has low investment expenses but it can bring more revenue as time goes on when you focus on optimization. As your results receive more traffic leading to conversion, the costs stay low.
  • Credibility — When a search engine recognizes that you’re receiving traffic for a trending keyword through organic search, it sees you as a valuable listing that it can trust as opposed to a listing that was paid to be there. It’ll rank you higher on the SERP due to increased credibility. 
  • Algorithm changes — Google tends to change its algorithm from time to time, and these adjustments favor paid search results. A paid search listing is safe from algorithm updates. Even when it goes through changes, you’ll still be listed at the top of the SERP without a drop in traffic. 

It’s hard to determine which you should pursue, as they each have pros and cons. Your choice depends on your budget, your business goals and the particulars of your industry. 

At BURG+CO., we utilize search engine optimization to boost your ranking for organic search results to help you get the traffic and conversions that you’re looking for. While pay-per-click has many benefits, we want to make sure that you’re deemed as credible and relevant as possible while still keeping your costs low.

Want to attract new visitors to your website with SEO? BURG+CO. can help

Increasing traffic to your website plays a role in increasing conversions and leading to new clients. However, it’s difficult to attract visitors to your site when you don’t know what to do. Fortunately, this is what we specialize in at BURG+CO.

Our team has years of experience in helping businesses improve their digital presence to attract new leads and retain existing ones. If you’re looking to perform better in search engine results and attract more visitors to your site, we’re ready to talk to you to see how we can help. Contact our team today for more information about digital marketing or to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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