Paid vs Organic Search, What is the Difference?

If you are new to the world of online marketing and have just got to grips with how your customers are finding your website, you may have discovered the terms paid traffic and organic traffic. But what do these two terms mean? And how do they affect how you conduct online marketing or how a digital marketing agency conducts your digital marketing on your behalf? Read on for our quick guide on what the difference is between paid and organic search or traffic.

What Do the Terms Paid and Organic Search Mean?

Put simply, Organic Search is created from people finding your website on the internet organically i.e without an ad taking them directly there any traffic that results from this natural appearance in search engines is known as Organic Traffic. Paid Search, however, is when you or someone on your behalf has paid for that search result to appear and as a result, paid for any traffic that has resulted from that advertisement, this is also known as PPC. 


What is the Difference Between Paid and Organic Search?

Now that you know what organic search means, what is the difference between paid and organic search? When it comes to comparing Paid Search and Organic Search, the main factor involved tends to be cost. Paid Search, of course, relies on PPC (pay per click) or CPC (cost per click) frameworks. This means that in order to get results, you will need to pay for them. Depending on your industry, the price for this can vary greatly so it is important that you do your research before setting a campaign live. Organic, on the other hand, is a ‘free’ way to appear in search results. However, it is important to note that whilst it is free traffic, it may require time and resources in order to action. Organic traffic is driven through SEO rather than paid advertising and this can be a difficult mark to hit with a number of people aiming for the same thing.


Short vs Long-Term Gains – Paid Search vs Organic Search

When choosing between Paid and Organic Search, it is worth considering what exactly you want to get out of them. When it comes to seeing results from Paid Search, the results can be nearly instant if you have a well-handled campaign. After all, you are paying for the clicks and traffic that are coming through to your website. When it comes to search engine results pages, Paid Search results will always appear at the top. Therefore, they are more likely to gain a high percentage of click traffic from searchers, particularly from those on mobile, as it takes a lot longer to scroll past the paid results on a smaller screen. This makes Paid Search an incredibly popular choice for those looking to target customers searching for their product who want instant results.

Organic Search, on the other hand, relies on the creation of SEO-focussed pages and content. This content can take time to create as well as time to gain rankings within search engine results pages as your pages gain attention and authority. Whilst it can take time to rank organically, doing so can improve your page’s standing fantastically over time and continue to pull in traffic long after the initial cost in terms of building and optimising. This makes it a brilliant long-term tactic for businesses wanting to capitalise on an audience already searching for their product or service in search engines, without continuing to pay for traffic. It is also a brilliant place to start for smaller businesses who are taking their first dip into the world of search engine marketing.


Paid Search or Organic Search – Which Should I Choose for My Business?

The short answer to the question of whether to choose Paid Search or Organic Search Optimisation is to choose both. When it comes to online marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, potential customers will be attracted to your site in a number of different ways to it is important to have a rounded approach when it comes to promoting your business online.

In terms of ROI (or return on investment), Paid and Organic Search optimisation techniques can complement each other beautifully. Whilst ROI may seem hard to measure initially when it comes to SEO or Organic Search, the returns are something that will improve over time and build an authority for your business online, attracting customers from a wide range of different areas. ROI is much easier to measure when looking at Paid Search but can decline over time if not managed effectively so organic traffic can help support this when your PPC campaigns need an update as well as improve the quality of the clicks you do get.

Using a combination of Paid Search and SEO as part of your online marketing strategy can help you appear more in search results and instil a higher level of trust in your brand and make you an authority in your given area. If you are appearing in both the Paid results section and at the top of the organic search engine results section you are even more likely to gain quality clicks through to your website than appearing in just one of these sections.


Effective PPC and SEO Management

Managed well, both PPC, Paid Search and SEO, Organic Search, can be powerful tools to drive traffic to your website and boost conversions. If you are just getting started with digital marketing, take a look at our guide to getting started with digital marketing for a run-through of how to start.

Alternatively, if you are getting serious about making the most out of your SEO or PPC efforts, why not get in touch with the team here at SEM Consultants? We have been experts in all things digital marketing for a number of years and know how to get the best results out of the wide range of digital tools that are out there and save you money on your marketing efforts. Take a look at our PPC services and SEO services pages to find out more or get in touch online to talk to our team about what we can offer you.