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Organic Search vs Paid Search | BlueRock Digital

Written by Giovanni Napoli | June 29, 2022

Google has become an important part of our daily lives - just consider how often you say to yourself, "I'm going to Google it," when you need an answer, or are looking for a product, service or business.  

When searching in Google, the search engine will generally provide you with both “organic” and “sponsored” results. The key difference is that the sponsored results (otherwise known as Google Ads) have been paid for by a business - the fee the business pays Google guarantees that their site will appear in the search results for your search query. Organic results, on the other hand, have not been paid for and are shown to you based on Google’s algorithm. 

Understanding the difference between organic and sponsored search and how to use them is crucial if you have an online presence - both play an important role in your marketing approach, but which one is right for your business will depend on your goals and budget.

So let’s dive in - what's the difference between organic and paid search, and which is better for your business?


Organic search

The algorithm behind Google is designed to provide users with the most useful information for what they’re searching for. 

To get your business ranked in organic search results, you must use SEO (search engine optimisation) tactics to make your page appealing to Google's algorithm. You’ll need to consider factors such as the quality of the content on your website and what “keywords” (a.k.a. terms that people are searching for) you’re using. The information on your website is analysed before giving it a ranking score and a position within the search results.


The benefits of organic search


It’s requires less upfront cost than paid advertising

While technically, you don’t pay for your business to show up in organic search results, in order for your business to rank on the first page of Google, you will need to spend some money on maximising your SEO. Things like keyword research, creating great content and optimising your website take time and resources to get right. That being said, SEO is often seen as a more efficient way to maximise your visibility online. Once you’ve implemented SEO, the cost-per-click of organic traffic to your site is zero. 

It’s sustainable

Organic traffic doesn't require ongoing expenditure. Once your website is ranking well for relevant keywords, it will continue to bring in targeted traffic without any additional investment. So optimising your website for organic search is a more sustainable approach in the long run. 

Over time, your website will naturally rise in the rankings as you add new content, build links, and engage in other SEO best practices. This approach may take longer to produce results, but it will ultimately be more effective and less expensive in the long run. 

It can be perceived as more ‘genuine’

Organic search is often seen as the more “natural” way to find information, and as such, it is often seen as more trustworthy than paid results. Organic search results are also generally more relevant to the searcher than paid results, which can be tailored to match the advertiser’s needs. 

While paid advertising can often be perceived as interruptive and annoying, organic results are based on relevance, not money. In other words, when you optimise your website for organic search, you're more likely to gain the trust of potential customers because they can see that you're providing them with what they're looking for. 


Paid search

Paid search is the process of using search engine advertising to generate clicks to your website, rather than earning those clicks organically. You can think of it as a way to buy visits to your site, rather than waiting for people to find you naturally through search engines. Paid results sit at the top of a search page, above the organic results. 

Paid search is a huge and growing industry. In 2019, over 55 billion U.S. dollars were spent on search advertising, and according to the latest forecasts, spending will surpass 86 billion U.S. dollars by 2023. The most popular paid search platform is Google AdWords. Other platforms include Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) and Yahoo! Gemini

With paid search, you create ads that target specific keywords that you think people are searching for. When someone searches for one of your targeted keywords, your ad has the chance to show up in the search results. 

If someone clicks on your ad, they’ll be taken to your website, and you’ll pay the search engine a small fee for that click. The amount you pay per click depends on how popular and competitive the keyword is that you’re targeting. 


The benefits of paid search


It can be cost-effective

Paid search can be an effective way to drive traffic to your website, especially if you’re targeting high-value keywords. It can also be a very cost-effective form of marketing since you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. 

It provides instant results

Paid search gets a big tick in the debate thanks to its fast turnaround time. When you advertise on paid media, you can observe results as soon as your ads go live. 

In most situations, advertising platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads will review and approve your campaigns and advertisements within minutes. The fast approval time, plus maximised delivery or presence of your ads, helps your business get instant results. 

Whether you’re looking to earn clicks, quote requests, purchases, or views, you will often see results immediately.

It’s measurable

Paid advertising is one of the most measurable forms of marketing available to businesses. Through platforms like Google Ads, businesses can track how many people see their ad, how many people click on it, and how many people take the desired action (e.g. make a purchase). 

This level of insight is invaluable for understanding what works and what doesn't work in a marketing campaign. It also allows businesses to make real-time adjustments to improve results.


Can organic and paid search work together?

There are a few ways organic and paid search can work together, and many businesses will use both approaches depending on their goals and budget. 

Remember: paid advertising will generate instant results, whereas organic marketing is a long game, but both have their benefits, and you may find that the most successful approach is a combination of the two.

A few ways to integrate the approaches are:  

  1. Use paid search ads to supplement your organic results. This means that you're still focusing on ranking high in organic search results, but you're also bidding on keywords so that your ad appears alongside your organic listing.
  2. Use paid search ads to target keywords that you're not currently ranking for organically. This can help you reach new audiences and drive traffic to your site even if you're not ranking in the top spot for organic search results.
  3. Use both paid and organic search together to create a comprehensive search strategy. By combining the two, you can reach more people, target specific keywords, and improve your overall visibility in search engines.

No matter which approach you take, it's important to keep in mind that paid and organic search are two separate entities. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but using both can help you get the most out of your search marketing efforts.


Maximise your results with an organic and paid search strategy 

We know SEO and Google Ads can be daunting concepts to wrap your head around. The team at BlueRock Digital are experts in all things digital marketing and are here to make your life easier.

Whether you want to optimise your website to increase your organic ranking, or you want instant results with paid search, we can help boost your ROI and create loyal customers for your brand.There are a number of benefits that come with increasing your organic and paid search presence. So, if you’re ready to increase your brand awareness, website traffic and total sales, get in touch for a free consultation.