In today’s world, the search engine is a powerful force. In fact, a study by Jupiter Research found that 81% of people find the websites they are looking for through a search engine, rather than directly going to a website’s URL. And for companies and businesses, this means that being easily visible on a search results page is crucial to success. For this, most companies turn to search marketing, which comes in two forms- Pay Per Click ads (PPC), and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). But the struggle for a lot of companies is figuring out which method of search marketing is the right one.

Paid Search

PPC advertising involves the sponsored links at the top of the page, as well as the ads on the side of the page. The keywords in your ad will determine where exactly it goes, but it will generally appear in these areas. Of course, one obvious difference between these ads and the organic search results below them is that Pay Per Click costs money. While this might deter you from using PPC, you have to consider that in some cases, it may be much easier to get paid ads to the top of the page than it is to get organic, unpaid results up there. If you have no experience with SEO and don’t want to hire an expert to help you, using PPC might be ideal. You’ll want to do plenty of research and find out which keywords you’ll want to target in your ads, and the popularity of these keywords will determine how expensive your ads are. You should also look into taking a class or consulting an expert on how to effectively use PPC. Depending on the competition, you may be able to have highly visible ads in a relatively short amount of time. Pay per click has also been known to have higher conversion rates- from click throughs to sales.

Organic Search

On the other hand, organic search results have a higher chance of being clicked than sponsored ads. Search Engine Optimization is the unpaid method of making your website visible via search engine. SEO is free, and is often called the “organic” way of search marketing. However, because your website will not have paid advertising behind it, it can be much harder to get it to a good spot on the page. You’ll need to have a specific plan for how to optimize your website’s visibility, or hire an expert to create a plan for you. Both PPC and SEO can be very difficult to figure out without any experience or assistance. As far as other benefits of SEO go, results can last much longer than pay per click, as once you stop paying for you sponsored ads, they disappear. Organic search results will stay as long as people are searching for your keywords and increasing your website’s traffic


There are pros and cons of both paid and unpaid search engine marketing. But if used correctly and effectively, they can both be incredibly helpful to your online visibility. If you’ve never had experience with either PPC or SEO, talk to an expert or enlist in a class that can maximize your results.