Organic Search vs Pay Per Click (PPC)
Search engines provide two main sources of traffic for businesses, paid search and organic search. Both are valuable in their own right with over 68% of all website traffic coming from a combination of the two.
We have many clients ask us what the difference is between Pay Per Click and Organic listings, and which one we think would be best for their business. The answer is: there are benefits associated with both marketing tactics and it ultimately depends upon the individual needs of your business and the results you want to achieve.
Throughout this blog I will make reference purely to Google as this search engine accounts for 92.18 percent of the entire market share.
Organic listings are the search results you see after you type something into Google, located below the paid ads and below the local three pack (the map and list of 3 businesses within your locality). To get to the top of the organic results you will normally require the help of an SEO campaign (search engine optimisation). This works on optimising your website pages for highly searched keywords so that when someone types in ‘Plumber in Eastbourne’ for instance, your plumbing business would be there waiting for them in the top few search results. To get to the top of the organic results your pages need to offer valuable content among a number of other factors, as search engines crawl every page to check its authority and credibility.
Organic traffic (potential customers clicking through to your website from these organic listings) are considered by many to be the most valuable, above those from PPC, and I will highlight why below:
- Gaining a position on the first page and top 5 results in Google takes time however, once your site is there the results are often long-lasting.
- The first 5 organic results on the first page of Google account for around 67.60% of all clicks for a search query.
- A higher percentage of people click through an organic result over a paid ad as many view these as more credible
- Organic listings are free and whilst SEO is not, it is generally one of the more cost-effective marketing tactics
Organic results take time, so you do not see instant results. In our experience a new domain will take between 3 – 6 months to rank and an existing domain around the 3 month mark. Every website is different, and it depends upon the keywords you are targeting and their competition. However, once your site has established its positions within Google, you will find that many of these positions remain over time.
Pay Per Click
Paid search results appear at the top of Google, above organic search results. Essentially you are buying visits to your site and every time your ad is clicked and a user visits your website you pay a small fee to the search engine. There is a small box that says ‘ad’ to identify this result as an advertisement, but many appear not to notice this.
Generally, these ads are closely managed by a PPC expert, although you can set them up yourself directly with Google. There is however a lot that goes into a PPC campaign and in order to gather the right traffic and valuable leads it is always encouraged to use an expert in this field in order to see the right results.
What are the main benefits of a PPC campaign?
- Results are instant – if the campaign is set up correctly you will appear at the top of Google when specified keywords are searched for
- The traffic from a paid ad can be large in volume
- You can control your budget
- You have granular control and additional space on your ad to deliver your message with calls, locations, pricing and sitelinks as additional options.
Pay Per Click can be costly, especially if you are in a highly competitive market as the cost per click will be higher. However, with a well-managed campaign you can keep a reign on your budget. Results can be instant and enquiries large in volume. Traffic is often however not as credible and does not convert as well as organic traffic, and once you stop the campaign your ad disappears from the search engine completely.
PPC and Organic – Which is best for you?
As you can see, each marketing tactic has a variety of benefits associated with it. In order to make the decision in terms of which best suits you, the unique situation of your business needs to be considered. Talking through what it is you are looking for, and the results you are hoping to achieve, will help make this decision a lot clearer, whilst taking into account budgets and timescales. Ultimately, if you want instant results and have a good budget, then PPC is the place to be. Or, if you are willing to invest some time then organic search can provide long lasting results even after you complete any SEO campaign accompanied with credible leads that are more likely to convert.