The Truth About Organic Search (SEO) and Paid Search (PPC)

In a recent New York Post article, Google claimed that, “its own research shows surfers look toward natural search over paid search by a ration of 4-to-1.”  A recent newsletter by respected SEO company iProspect claims that their research shows, “[60.5 percent] of Internet users found natural search results more relevant than paid search advertisements.”  Either way, surfers, consumers, SEO experts, analysts, and the search engines themselves have demonstrated that Organic Search is more effective than Paid Search. 

All of this research would seem to indicate the downfall of Google, as this is their primary source of revenue.  Google is not in trouble.  A balanced approach to Search Engine Marketing is necessary for a healthy site, and I will show you why.

The Differences

To understand the difference between organic and paid search, read this great article by Adido Solutions, and this article by eWhisper.  They show you how to tell the difference on Google’s Search Engine Results Page, define what each of them are, and outline their advantages and disadvantages.  This article by iMedia Connection outlines the financial implications based on results. 

The long and the short of it is that SEO costs less, takes lots longer to work, and is less predictable.  PPC costs lots more, can start working for you in a very short amount of time, and has much more predictable results.

The Similarities

These articles do a great job of outlining the difference between SEO and PPC.  What they fail to do is show you the similarities between the two. 

Both advertising methods do just that – they advertise for you.  Whatever you want to advertise, whether it be web site or storefront, SEO and PPC advertise for you on the Internet.  They complement each other – where one drops off, the other picks up.  The big problem is that they both appear on the same page.  Why should I pay for both when they could appear together?

The Blended Approach

The key is to allow SEO and PPC to live together in harmony, as this article describes.  At the outset, your site has no search engine rankings.  The easiest way to drive traffic to your site is through paid advertising.  This is when you will lean on PPC the most. 

As your site matures, SEO will slowly improve, and so will your page rankings. Social Media and the PPC you bought will help your site along, and soon you will be listed highly in the Search Engine Results Pages.  Now you have momentum, and don’t need to depend on your PPC advertising as much.  You can decrease your PPC budget, and use it in other places of your company. 

Studies have shown, however, that if you are tops on organic search and tops on paid search, they work together and increase your traffic even higher.  This is for groups who have the ability to sustain a large online advertising budget.  Together, organic and paid search will push your traffic higher than ever before.  

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