This question is something many business owners ask themselves constantly, and some may think one is better than the other. Whether you own a start up or an established business and looking to improve on things, be it to gain profits, client acquisition or retention, there needs to be some valuable marketing efforts put towards these goals.

So, which out of the two, paid advertising or SEO is better for you? This article will lay out the right information for you, so you can make the best decision. From the difference between the two to both their advantages and disadvantages to help better understand the one that will be more valuable.

Overall, paid and organic search is responsible for over 60% of traffic to websites. Hence the need to consider using one of these tactics. The average could be different depending on your niche, industry or sector and whether it is an ecommerce business or not. Still it seems like the numbers are high enough to convince any business owner when looking for ways to increase business revenues.

Organic search typically refers to results you would get on a search engine for a specific term, and is not influenced in any way by a paid advertisement. The ranking will depend on the keyword’s relevance. They are not the adverts you see on Googles first page above the fold, but rather are the images, articles, maps and any knowledgeable aspect of a website. A good definition of this can be found on this online source 

As the term suggests ‘paid search’ is a marketing activity that involves paying to advertise on Google to help you improve the visibility of your services or partner site services. Another term it is often referred to as is PPC or pay-per-click.

When you pay for advertising on a search engine, you would hope to have them displayed on the top of the first page, however it is not always the case that this can be established and will depending on factors such as keyword targeting as well as a process known as ‘bidding’.  

There are several ways you can bid for an advert and the focus can be on conversions, views, clicks or impressions.

The key is to know what action you want the advertisement to perform so as to decide how to bid and what amount to bid for.

 As a side note, google usually runs a bid auction when there is space available on the engine, once you place your bid, you are included in this auction.

Many other platforms offer these paid adverts such as social media spaces like Twitter, Instagram, and even Amazon. The SERP or search engine results page usually spits out a few results based on your keywords and it will show you both the paid as well as the organic results. The ones that are paid for have a little icon next to them indicating the word ‘ad’ in green.

To do this you will need to set up a Google Ads search campaign. The cost will be charged according to how many click on the advert. So, if one click costs you $1, and 1000 people click on the ad, then it will cost you £1000 from your ad budget. The basic idea behind it is to also drive traffic to your businesses website and highlight its products or services.

google ads

What are the advantages of Paid Search Advertising?

  • This is a quicker way to get results but is not necessarily the more efficient one
  • If you are in a hurry this would be the better option
  • You do have certain control over the performance i.e. only if you place an ad you may get clicks
  • It targets specific audiences
  • It has a high rate of return but only in the short term

What are the disadvantages of Paid Search Advertising?

  • It can be a more expensive solution and you are not guaranteed results based on your budget
  • Overtime this strategy is less effective
  • It needs more maintenance and updating frequently
  • You will need a larger budget if you want to see any results

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

This is defined as the process of refining the visibility of your website including your webpages organically, so they show up in the SERP or search engine results page on Google or Bing. 

Trying to get your business site to take up more real estate or climb higher up in the rankings is accomplished by professional services such as omaha-seo.com/ who will implement certain value-add tactics related to SEO. 

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using this form of marketing.

What are the advantages of SEO?

  • You can gain a higher ROI in a long term and more valuable manner
  • It is a less expensive option compared to paid advertisements
  • It requires little to no maintenance once everything is set up correctly
  • Helps build your brands credibility and shows people they can trust you
  • Increases traffic and leads on a consistent basis

What are the disadvantages of SEO?

  • It may take longer to see results depending on the type of strategy used
  • If you are in a hurry then it may not be the tactic for your business
  • Performance can’t always be controlled as it is based on the search engines algorithms

Both of these solutions, the common criteria is the placement of the SERP, the costs and the real estate it will cover on the internet. Organic content commonly takes up more space, while paid marketing is limited to only a few spots on the top of Google’s page. So unless it gets chosen, there is no guarantee that it will show.

Choosing to go the organic route tends to be the more effective solution to increasing business and gaining profits. It is also a long-term and viable option which pays out even after everything is set up and you have paid for the services of an SEO agency. You can save a lot of unnecessary hassles and costs when taking steps towards this and many industries have vouched for it.