Often, I'm asked about Paid and/or Organic Search and how they differ from one another. Business owners especially want to know which one is better or more beneficial for their business, but ultimately, this comes down to the type of business, budget, timescale, and a number of other factors that are addressed when initiating an Online Marketing Campaign. For now, let's answer some of these questions in a general sense.
What is Paid Marketing?Paid Marketing, Advertising or Search, is basically paying for Google results. When you enter keywords into a search engine, you'll notice that the results at the top and the right say "Ad" next to them (image Paid Search Results). These are paid results. Users are less likely to click on these results (around 10%) as opposed to Organic Search Results, though this is still an effective way to get impressions--users seeing your ad--and additional site traffic.
Google offers an entire interface and a tremendous amount of data to help marketers fine tune Paid Marketing Campaigns (AdWords) and maximize their results, especially in terms of return on investment (ROI). Paid Campaigns have a set budget, which marketers use to get as much traffic as possible to landing pages. These landing pages are where data is collected and potential conversion happens--visitors are ideally converted into customers.
What is Organic Marketing?Organic Marketing, Advertising or Search is based off of naturally occurring results (image Organic and Paid Results), ranked by search engine algorithms. It starts with indexing your website, which is when a search engine uses automated bots (a.k.a. crawlers or spiders) to scan all the pages and content on your website and then rank it based off of this content. Also playing into your rank may be reviews on other sites, links to and from your site, security, load times and a plethora of other variables.
Search engine marketing can prove highly effective if you're able to achieve first page results, but certainly is a game of dedication and patience. Marketers will implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO), create content--blogs, landing pages, videos--and make use of link campaigns, directory sites, social media and more to build a website's rank over several months.
Paid Marketing or Organic Marketing?
Succinctly, both are effective, but here are a few situational examples to consider. If my client doesn't have a huge marketing budget, but can afford time for results, then I will often suggest Organic Marketing. Conversely, if the market for their industry and area is dominated by well established competition, than I'll likely suggest Paid. Moreover, I most often won't rule out either, and thus suggest both for most of my clients; this allows clients to dominate the entire first page Organically and with Paid Ads.
Ultimately, Organic Search Engine Marketing allows clients who can afford three to six months for results to get a potentially huge payoff if making it to the first page. With Paid Ads, though there's a smaller amount of users clicking them, it enables clients to start building presence and traffic online almost immediately.