Search Traffic: Paid vs. Organic

The Fundamental Differences and How to Leverage Each Type

As a digital agency, we often have to explain the difference between paid search and organic search traffic, and what the challenges and benefits are respectively.

Many search engine users don’t understand the difference between paid and organic search, which is fine, as long as they are getting satisfactory answers to their search queries.

However, for the business owner who is using search marketing to promote their business, paid and organic search strategies are dramatically different in terms of budgeting, function, and purpose.

Take for example a simple search for “Vancouver electrician”. The top 3 results are entirely paid, followed by 3 Google Business Profiles, and finally 2 organic results appear, one of them being a business listing website (Yelp).

Those 2 organic results are then followed by Rich Results, 7 more organic results, and 3 more paid results.

For a Vancouver electrician looking to position themselves on this first page of search results, developing enough quality content and inbound links to rank organically would be a major undertaking. The easiest way to achieve a first page position is through paid ads.

This does not mean that organic results do not matter. In fact, optimizing for search (SEO) is just as important as ever, yet the process takes time and patience to achieve results. Often the easiest approach is to use Google Ads to bid on paid keywords for immediate positioning.

When to Use Google Ads for Paid Search

  • When you have a brand-new site that is commercially focused.
  • When immediate results are needed.
  • When you need precise control over which keywords you want traffic for.
  • When you need precise control over demographic targeting such as targeting by city, country, area code, mobile devices, or interests.
  • When your marketing efforts are time-sensitive.
  • When you want to dominate search results for your keyword category.

When To Use SEO for Organic Search

  • When long-term results are desired.
  • When you have the patience to achieve results.
  • When you have the willingness to commit time and resources to content creation.
  • When you want to be an authority within your industry.

Before choosing which method to focus on, simply ask yourself:

Does my website deserve to be ranked organically on the first search results page?

If the answer is “Yes”, then a SEO campaign for organic search should be considered. If the answer is “No”, then paid search is way to go.

Posted on: 03/06/2023
Posted by: Craig Hauptman – President & Founder

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