Organic vs. Paid Search Results
Organic Results Win Most All Search Results
Revised April 24, 2019
Originally Published June 15, 2017
When it comes to search engine results, the closer to the top a site ranks naturally, the better. However, even though organic/natural ranking is free, it takes great content, proper SEO techniques, and time to achieve.
Paid ads on the other hand, allow for immediate first page placement, often the same day. However, the cost can be prohibitive to many small businesses.
As well, one must ask if the paid ads really have better results and conversion (do they provide a worthwhile return on the investment).
Organic Results Outperform Paid Ads
There's plenty of research that shows free, organic/natural search results perform far better than any paid advertisements. For whatever reason, consumers seem to place more importance on the organic search results than they do on paid ads above the natural results.
According to numerous industry experts:
- Over 80% of all users find their information via search engines versus directly going to a site
- Nearly 70% of clicks on Google searches are to the first 5 organic results versus paid ads
- Organic results are chosen about 8.5 times over paid ads
- Depending on the research, paid ads only receive 6-15% of clicks from paid search results
With so much evidence pointing towards organic/natural search results as the best option for businesses to focus for generating new leads, many businesses wonder why they should even consider using paid ads.
Paid Ads May Help Supplement Organic Listings
While the data shows that organic SEO is of definite importance, it does not mean that all spending on paid advertising should come to a halt. Paid advertising could in fact supplement, and help organic results.
From this perspective, if a business utilizes paid advertising, (as well employs proper SEO techniques to receive top organic results in the same search query) the paid ad that appears in the same search result as the organic results may:
- incite a consumer to choose the company with both a paid ad, AND organic listing;
- versus the competitor with only a paid result, or only a natural result.
Proper website SEO must be adhered to for a chance at receiving natural first page ranking in search results, let alone top five.
While the balance of efforts should lean in favor of organic SEO to achieve top ranking, that does’t mean other methods should not be employed.
Finding a Balance Between Organic Results & Paid Ads
As discussed, it seems reasonable to conclude that businesses who dominate both paid and natural results are probably more likely to gain the business; versus those who only show up in organic, or only show up in the paid ads.
However, since organic ranking is an on-going process, and takes time to get first page ranking, new or emerging businesses might wish to utilize some paid ads for immediate sales.
Ideally a balance must be struck whereby:
- the majority of time is focused on a website’s natural ranking and SEO,
- balanced with a reasonable budget for paid advertising to supplement and prop up the natural rankings,
- which in turn can improve the site's overall authority.
Focusing Efforts On Website SEO
As with all online marketing and advertising, the company’s website should be the main hub of all information and marketing efforts.
By making the website the main hub of all efforts, one is intrinsically improving the website's overall SEO with incoming link authority.
Outside efforts (including paid ads, social media channels, and other external platforms) should all link to, and support the main website hub. These efforts will supplement the website's goal as the main hub to achieve top organic ranking in searches.
Again, while some paid advertising can be of use in certain situations, (such as new businesses needing immediate exposure), the majority of focus should be on natural/organic SEO.
Paid search ads should supplement and help support organic listings.
To achieve top organic ranking, the website must be:
- the main focus of all online and offline efforts;
- it must be a centralized hub for everything company and marketing related;
- including social medias, and other sales channels.
By using all channels to support the website as a main hub, the site's overall SEO will be improved, and ranking in the organic/natural listings will improve accordingly.
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- Design & Development
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- Marketing, General
- Online Security
- Organic / Natural SEO
- Search Engine Marketing
- Website Conversion
- Website Technologies
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