Pay Per Click vs. Organic Search

If you are contemplating boosting traffic to your web site and therefore sales in your business, the first question you need to ask yourself is whether you should use organic search or pay per click.

First let’s define the terms. Pay Per Click (PPC) is an advertising campaign where you pay the search engine (such as Google – their PPC is called AdWords) to show your ads when people search for key words. Organic Search is where you either do the work or pay a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company to get you ranked high in Google’s non-paid listings.

There are THREE key differences between PPC and Organic Search:

  1. In a PPC Campaign, you can create a campaign and be getting results quite literally within minutes. At Google it can be as simple as creating an account (1 – 2 minutes), creating a campaign (and giving your credit card information) in 2 – 3 minutes and then monitoring as you start to get click thrus to your web site. An organic campaign, on the other hand, takes more preparation as you make changes to pages throughout your web site and the results take longer as well. Depending on the site and the content, results can take as long as several weeks.
  2. One of the reasons an SEO campaign takes more work is because you don’t have control over which page the search engine will link to so you have to make sure all of your pages are both optimized and linked in such a way that people can get to the page they want even if they click a search engine link that takes them to a page you didn’t intend them to go to. With a PPC campaign, you get to tell the search engine EXACTLY what page to link to so you can just focus on that one page and focus on the marketing content of that page.
  3. The third key difference is that, according to SEOmoz, people searching on the Internet are 8.5 times more likely to click on an organic search listing than on a paid ad.

Some of the trade-offs then are between SEO which over the long term is likely to have a bigger pay off vs. a paid search campaign which can have an immediate impact on your bottom line and having a very focused ad in paid search vs. needing to continually focus on the whole web site in organic search.

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