The Differences Between Organic Search and Paid Search

Posted - April 4, 2014

Before determining which is better for your business, organic search or paid search, it is best to understand their differences. When a consumer searches keywords and keyword phrases in a search engine, two types of results are returned: organic and paid. Organic search results are web page listings that are the closest match to the keywords that the consumer used in their search. Paid results are essentially advertisements; a website will pay to have their pages show up when certain keywords are searched, this is also referred to Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Both organic search and PPC are unique, which is why it is important to understand their differences.

Organic Search

The search results that naturally appear when a user searches what they are looking for is known as organic search results. These results are ranked by the website’s page relevance to the keywords that the user searched. Organic search results with high rankings are gained by a carefully and properly executed organic SEO project. Organic SEO creates high organic search result rankings through proper use of strong keywords, high-quality natural flowing content, carefully strategized linking, and properly optimized webpages (i.e. page titles, meta tags, URLs, and more). Search Engine Optimization can bring your website higher organic rankings, but it does take time to achieve. By improving your site’s organic SEO, you will raise your site’s search engine ranking, which places it higher on the results of a search without having to pay for a PPC campaign.

Paid Search

Paid search results, also referred to as Pay-Per-Click (PPC), are the advertisements that appear when a user searches certain keywords. PPC is a paid traffic building tool that will show listings at the top or side of a search engine page. The listings appear based off bids on keywords, which is a paid form of website ranking. The website pays for these listings once the advertisement link is clicked. This does not necessarily require any organic SEO, but does require constant modification and observation to obtain the best traffic and conversion results for your company’s website. Organic search and paid search are very different, but determining which one is best for your company’s website depends on your company’s goals. For some businesses, organic search may be best if you are looking for a long-term investment for your company’s website, while for others, paid search may be the way to go for the short-term or time-sensitive promotions. In many cases, companies often benefit from a combination of the two; PPC can generate immediate website traffic while building on the site’s SEO to create high ranked organic search results.