Search engine marketing (SEM) encompasses a wide array of terms, concepts, and acronyms. Most of them boil down to where your website ranks on a search engine results page. The ranking depends on whether you optimize your website for free tactics or purchase the ranking for paid tactics for user acceptance testing. It essentially comes down to organic search versus paid search.
As far as the two concepts are concerned, many questions arise—what are they? What are the differences between the two? Which is better? What are the pros and cons of each? And much more. This article helps answer some of these questions.
What are the Differences Between Organic and Paid Search?
In an organic search, the results in the search engine results pages (SERPs) are determined based on the relevance of the content to the keyword query. It essentially involves optimizing traffic on a website naturally using tags, titles, meta descriptions, keywords, URLs, and content like blogs and landing pages relevant to prospects.
The organic search focuses primarily on unpaid rankings in the search results. That being the case, it emphasizes search engine optimization (SEO)—the process of improving the quantity and quality of traffic to a website from search engines.
Paid search is a form of digital marketing or advertisement where Google and other search engines display ads in the SERPs. In this form of search marketing, an advertiser will pay for an immediate ranking, meaning the search results will rank above organic results in a SERP.
While organic search capitalizes on SEO, paid search marketing focuses on a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing strategy. In this technique, an advertiser or a sponsor will only pay when a user clicks on their ad. PPC is the most popular form of paid search marketing.
The Pros and Cons of Organic and Paid Search
As established so far, the key difference between organic and paid searches is the costs involved; organic searches are free while paid searches cost money. However, each search marketing approach offers unique benefits.
For instance, a key advantage of organic search is that it will not cost you much. As long as you master the art of SEO, you can optimize your website to rank much higher on SERPs. Organic searches deliver an impressive return on investment (ROI) since they require little resources to deliver optimal results.
More so, it boosts the credibility of your website thereby attracting more relevant users. However, organic search requires an extensive background, knowledge, and skills in SEO marketing. It also requires relatively more time to deliver results.
Unlike an organic search that takes time, paid search marketing delivers results almost instantly. Once you pay for a paid search, you can see your results rank high up on the search engine as soon as the ad goes live. It also offers keyword data for SEO. This is in the sense that when you advertise with Facebook or Google Ads, you receive massive and helpful pieces of user data such as location, age, keywords, and more. Even though it costs money, paid search marketing delivers a greater ROI. However, it costs money and provides short-term results.
What’s Better for Your Business?
Having understood the key differences, benefits, and drawbacks of each, deciding which one is better for you and your business becomes somewhat easy. Organic search is for you if you do not want to spend money or be limited to short-term results. However, paid search marketing is a perfect choice if you want immediate results with a more significant ROI. However, if you can, invest in both approaches strategically.