It’s common knowledge nowadays that the higher your website ranks on search engines, the more visitors come to your website. The reverse is also true: the lower you rank, the less clicks and traffic your site gets. If you have decided to push the position of your website then you need to know some basics about search engine results.
Search engines show results in two different categories - Organic and Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). It’s important to know the difference between the two before making a decision on how to allocate your marketing budget between them.
What’s the difference between organic and paid search engine listings?
They appear on their own merits. They are achieved by search engine optimization, of your website. SEO experts help search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, MSN etc. to index your site in the right category, and serve them as results based on their relevancy to visitors’ searches.
Pay Per Click listings are basically paid search advertisements and are usually distinguished as "sponsored links".
How do you identify organic searches vs. PPC listings?
They appear down the middle of the page and are usually just thought of as the “regular” listings.
Paid listings appear on the right hand side and top of the page of search engines (e.g. Google Adwords) and look like advertisements.
Which one will give me more traffic?
In fact, recent studies of search results on Google and Bing report an astonishing 94% organic compared to 6% PPC!
Experts attribute this to a bias or preconception on the visitor’s part about the relevance of the ads. It’s been shown that, in general, people tend not to pay attention to ads.
Basically, PPC is quite literally Pay Per Click. Costs differ depending on the search engine and can be as low as 5 cents per click, and up to as high at $20+ per click. It really depends on how competitive your search keywords are in your industry.
Organic, or SEO, is often referred to as “non paid” traffic. Basically you don’t have to pay per click. The “real” cost of organic searching is based in the cost of your SEO efforts to improve the ranking of your website. It is a continuous process and requires a search engine optimization expert onboard.
It can be quicker to implement a PPC campaign and therefore faster to obtain paid listings on search engines. It can take a PPC management company probably only a few days to set up a company’s campaign, although it usually requires an ongoing commitment to properly manage it effectively. Keep in mind that these listings are simply ads for your company website.
SEO takes longer with no surefire or immediate result. Search engines’ algorithms constantly change. There are a number of activities that need to be continuously performed in order to gain a higher position.
ROI of an organic search
It is a long term strategy. The rewards usually outnumber the costs of building a search engine friendly website. The key is to not only build a site that is found organically, but to build a website that also converts visitors into leads.
If you have a website that is underperforming in terms of traffic and converting leads, investing in upgrading your site, or in many cases, a complete overhaul of your website, will pay you dividends you never thought possible.
ROI for PPC
Pay Per Click can be effectively employed for targeted search queries for services. They need to be implemented for a specific purpose such as a promotional campaign to generate high ROI.
Many small businesses are paying top dollar for Pay Per Click services that create expensive campaigns to create sponsored links on page 1 to attract traffic to their websites. Often companies find it is not a good investment as they get poor returns for high costs.
Also, many businesses report quite a lot of interest as long as they are employing PPC. As soon as they stop (usually due to the high cost) they find the traffic to their website quickly dries up.
Making your decision
Keep in mind that boosting your website’s ranking on the search engine listings is not an exact science and it can be a bit of an art. However, it’s always a good idea to design a strategy around both to deliver the right results for your company.
Ask the experts
Hiring a reputable and experienced digital marketing consultant can help you define your company’s goals, significantly increase targeted traffic to your website, create greater awareness of your company or service, and convert more leads.
This in turn will result in boosting your overall online presence, and will take you far towards pumping up your bottom line.