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A Closer Look at Paid & Organic Search

Organic Search vs. Paid Search: What’s the Difference?

According to our friends at Hubspot, organic search is based on unpaid, natural rankings, determined by search engine algorithms, and can be optimized with various SEO practices. In contrast, paid search allows you to have your website displayed on the search engine results page when someone types in specific keywords or phrases.

Both organic and paid search are complex topics, and can often leave startups and small businesses with many questions like: ‘Are Google AdWords worth it for my business?’ or ‘I rank on the first page of Google, why would I pay for firstpage ad space?’

More than likely, you’re not looking to become an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or SEM (Search Engine Marketing) expert. You just need answers to your burning questions. What’s the main difference between paid search and organic? Is paid search worth your precious marketing dollars? Or, if you’ve been in business a while, why would you pay for ads if you’re already on the first page of search results? We’ve got your answers.

The Benefits of Both Organic and Paid Search

There’s been a debate on whether paid or organic search drives better results for businesses. The less-than-sexy answer is pretty cut and dry: one is not better than the other. You need both. Users are clicking on both ads and organic results when they conduct searches.

Check out some of these eye-popping stats for both organic and paid search:

  • 41% of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on the search results page
  • For people looking to purchase a product, paid ads get 65% of all clicks
  • Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords.
  • The average clickthrough rate for an ad in the first position is 7.94%. A typical clickthrough rate otherwise is 2%
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors
  • 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search results
  • 72% of online marketers describe content creation as their most effective SEO tactic
  • 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases

Why Would I Pay for Search Traffic If My Website Ranks on the First Page?

Google Research shows that, when search ads are paused, 89% of the traffic generated by them isn’t replaced by organic clicks. In the data we’ve included above, you’ll see that the typical clickthrough rate is far higher for a paid ad, in comparison to an organic search result. If you’re looking to capture this search traffic, it’s important to run AdWords.

Think of AdWords and SEO efforts as critical pieces to your digital marketing efforts. You’re generating brand awareness, and will more than likely convert a sale from those potential customers looking for your products and/or services. Make sure you find the right partner who can help you achieve those top SEO rankings, as well as launch a pay-per-click campaign that garners clicks and conversions.

Next Helpful Read: When Should I Start Seeing Results from SEO?