Last updated on June 18th, 2009
Organic search garners more trust by clickers, for sure. Searchers know you’re not paying to get your web site up there (at least not directly like the sponsored ads on the side).
Organic search can also bring a greater volume of traffic than paid search. And technically, when your site shows up in the top spots naturally, it’s got to be more relevant than those paying for the top spots in the paid search listings have to be.
So goes the argument in favor of organic search put forth by Ken Saunders at Search Engine Experts in a recent DMNews. Then William Leake of Apogee Search Marketing makes the case for paid search:
Paid search marketing can impact sales on the very day it’s implemented, while, yes, organic search services can take months to show results. Also, paid search can be changed on a whim, while adjusting your organic SEO will again have a longer time line. Leake also puts forth the idea that PPC allows you to better choose keywords that will convert. However, he’s missing out on the fact that performance from organic search marketing can also be tracked to that same level with good tracking software.
I’d throw in one more advantage of organic search marketing: it adds more value to your site to make it a bigger business asset. A large component of SEO is creating content that is useful for your site visitors, so an organic search campaign is going to provide you with expert content that can be used for years and years to grow your site. Each of those pages, when optimized properly, can act as a landing page, and best of all, there’s no per-click fee – it all belongs to you.
But the real point here is that neither organic search nor paid search is “better”. Both are tools that can complement each other nicely, depending on the industry and business being promoted.
If one is essential, however, organic search would be it. Build your site into an excellent resource, optimize it structurally, grow your inbound links – and use paid search to get traffic until your organic campaign is bringing you traffic or to take advantage of quick promotions, like for special holidays, etc.