Which Is the Most Effective Method of Search Marketing – Organic Search or PPC?

The internet continues to grow exponentially. It’s no longer a part-time distraction, wholly the preserve of the chosen few, but is now part of everyday life. Everyone relies on the internet, not only for leisure, but also for business. Search engines are now an essential platform for anyone using the web: they give users the capability to extract the targeted information they’re searching for quickly and accurately. All businesses want to succeed, and to do that they now understand that if they want to attract the maximum attention, then they need to feature prominently in the search engines rankings.

SEO has developed hand in hand with the growth of the web, and has become increasingly more complex and competitive: every practitioner has their own preferred method of getting their client to the first page of the rankings. Some prefer to use the power of the social media to maximise rankings, others favour link building. The issue that troubles many clients new to the world of online marketing is how to achieve the maximum impact in the search engines rankings at a price that’s affordable. There used to be a straight choice between, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and organic search marketing: now, though, the choices aren’t quite so straightforward. So, is there a preferred method for online marketing? Which form of advertising is more effective – organic search marketing or PPC advertising?

Pay per click advertising is pretty simple to grasp. It’s based on your ability to pay for marketing: you pay a flat fee to a search engine host for a paid ranking page. Each time the advert is clicked, advertisers pay the search website. PPC advertisements are listed on Google as ‘sponsored links’ and appear at the top or the upper right side of the page. Most of the larger, well- established search engines – Yahoo, Google and Bing, base their fees on a system called ‘keyword bidding’: the more popular the keyword, the more you’ll have to pay for it.

So, what are the advantages? PPC advertising has been proven to be effective: they can have a positive impact on the search engine rankings and achieve this very quickly. However, not everything in the garden is rosy. Advertising can be expensive and ‘important’ keywords can often lead inexorably to a keyword bidding war, with the highest bidder securing the prize. There is also anecdotal evidence of the existence of fraud, where rival advertisers have been known to click on your link without any intention to buy, thus costing you money with little to show for it. The other criticism is whether PPC advertising is sustainable. Sponsored links might create a flurry of initial interest, but this will drop off unless you continue to pay for the privilege and keep your website fresh and updated.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Organic Search marketing. OSM is a more effective means of advertising one’s wares on the internet and can lead to longer term success: however, it has to be said it can be a bit of a slow burner. OSM is based on techniques like link building, keyword optimisation, Meta data optimisation and blogging. To increase your website’s organic search engine ranking, you will usually need to use the services of a reliable SEO company, unless you’re completely up to speed with all the latest techniques.

The obvious advantage of organic search marketing is the price: any expenditure incurred is usually based on a flat fee. Although it may take longer for your website’s profile to grow, there is compelling evidence to suggest that once the site has made its way up the rankings, it is more likely to stay there. There have been a number of surveys claiming that up to 80% of users trust organic search engine results over PPC advertising. SEO and organic searching might not give the instant gratification that today’s younger generation craves for, but will prove to be more effective and sustainable in the longer term.

All internet marketing strategists have their own fixed opinions about the relative merits and limitations of both forms of marketing. At the end of the day, you pay your money and you take your choice. If your business is looking for the quick fix and an instant lift in the rankings, then PPC advertising is for you. If your business is more of a tortoise than a hare, then organic search marketing will suit you better. It might not set the world alight initially, but it’s far more sustainable in the longer term.

Jason Walker

Internet Marketing made simple


Categories: SEO

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