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.

Crowded Space


PPC advertising involves up to four sponsored links at the top of the page, as well as the three sponsored ads on the bottom of the page. Things can get a little crowded on the Google results page when you add in the three mapped based results and then there is the section where Google tries to answer your search query using featured rich snippets pulled from web pages with as many as five results. That could mean your first organic search hit could be ten down from the top. Even if you employ rich snippets and have a robust “Google My Business” listing, PPC still occupies the first results someone would see. Even one knows this is Paid Advertising—right?

Paid Search (PPC)

You can have the #1 spot in a Google search with the right bid and the right keywords. 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. And organic, the work of SEO will almost never occupy the first position of a popular search. 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 actually and effectively use PPC. Depending on the competition, you may be able to have highly visible ads in a relatively short amount of time. For this reason, PPC gives you faster results than SEO. Pay per click has also been known to have higher conversion rates– from click throughs to sales.

Organic Search Longer Lasting and Cheaper?

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 the search engine. SEO is free (if you do it yourself and commit to ongoing work, tweaking and link building), 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 lucrative 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.