Search engines, especially Google, are incredible marketing channels. When today’s customers need a question answered or want to find a solution to their problem, they turn to search engines.
When businesses can position themselves at the receiving end of these queries and appear high on the search engine results pages (SERPs), there is a significant chance to secure new clients, build brand awareness, drive revenue and achieve other organizational goals.
That said, there are two roads to reach the top of the SERPs and marketers often struggle to understand which route is best for their business. Do you follow the organic search marketing path or take the road of paid search advertising? Or, do you utilize both pathways?
What Is Organic Search Marketing?
When a user enters a search into Google, there are a number of results displayed on the page. The majority of these results are considered organic results. In other words, they appear on the page because Google’s complex search algorithms have deemed them to be the most relevant and valuable sites to answer the user’s search.
These are considered organic results because these ad ranks are not achieved by paying, but rather naturally through SEO practices. SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the practice of building websites and content that boosts the site’s ability to rank on organic search results.
What Is Paid Search Advertising?
Some of the links and content that appear on a SERP are sponsored results. They did not obtain that position organically. Instead, a site owner paid to have their ad message appear for a given keyword. How much a business pays depends on the competition for that keyword search from other advertisers.
Paid search ads follow the pay-per-click model, which means that the advertiser only pays when a user actually clicks the sponsored search result and is brought to the ad’s website.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Organic Search Marketing?
Understanding which route is better means learning the advantages and disadvantages of paid and organic search marketing.
The advantages of organic search marketing are:
- It doesn’t directly cost any money, just time and patience.
- Organic results are more trusted and preferred over sponsored links.
- If you have a great website that is updated often with valuable content (blogs, white papers, case studies, etc.), then achieving organic search marketing success can happen with very little added effort.
- Once you achieve a high, organic search position, you maintain that position until your site or another, competing site changes its SEO.
The disadvantages of organic search marketing are:
- Moving up the organic search listings and acquiring a top spot can take months and even years of careful optimization.
- Most users won’t scroll beyond the first few results, so you really need to rank extremely high with your organic efforts to see real value.
- For some keywords, the competition is so high that it is nearly impossible to achieve organic search marketing success, especially against websites that have established their position for years.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages of Paid Search Advertising
Now, let’s take a look at how the other side lives.
The advantages of paid search advertising are:
- Sponsored ad results can appear above even the top organic results, which increases the likelihood of drawing a click and ensures that, at the very least, the person sees your ad message.
- You can reach the top of the SERPs in no time at all, compared to the months of grinding that organic search marketing takes.
- An effective way to get your company listed on even the most competitive search terms.
- You only pay when someone actually clicks your ad link and visits your website.
- Google offers plenty of audience segmenting options and tools to help advertisers achieve success.
The disadvantages of paid search advertising are:
- There is the obvious paid component, which may not be in every business’ budget, especially for high-value, expensive keywords.
- Sponsored links and content can often feel like spam to search users.
- Google Ads is easy to use but incredibly hard to master. You may waste valuable dollars and time just trying to understand how to use paid search advertising to your advantage.
Which Is Better? The Answer Is Both!
The debate between organic search marketing versus paid search advertising shouldn’t be treated as an either-or scenario. Instead, marketers should think strategically about how to utilize both roads to their advantage.
For example. paid search advertising is a great way to rank on the pages where you struggle to appear through organic strategies. You can also use paid search ads to learn about customers and what sort of offers they find appealing, which can be used to enhance your organic efforts!