Paid Search vs. SEO: Which Is the Best?

The success of any online business depends on its ability to generate traffic for its pages. This indubitable fact spawns the debate about whether to use SEO or a paid search strategy. For a long time, marketers have focused on search engine optimization as it generates most of the traffic. According to research, 68% of online experiences start with a search engine. While this is true, new businesses have had it rough trying to generate organic traffic using SEO. And that’s where paid searches come to play as it drives traffic to a website using paid advertisements. Marketers have realized the need to use paid search alongside SEO to achieve their objectives. We explore each strategy, its benefits, and when to use them.

What Is SEO?

It is an acronym for search engine optimization and refers to the process of improving a site’s visibility for relevant searches. A visible site attracts more organic traffic as visitors are more likely to click on it. Search engines like Bing and Google use bots to crawl web pages each time a user types in a search term. Then the engine’s algorithms analyze the pages in the index, factoring in ranking metrics to determine the order in which the pages should appear. The main benefit of search engine optimization is that it’s free.

When Is the Best Time to Use SEO?

As highlighted earlier, not all businesses can benefit from SEO. Marketers need to determine the right time to launch SEO campaigns. Here are some tips.

  • When the business needs consistent results: Any marketer will tell you that appearing on a search engine’s first page requires lots of hard work. However, once your website manages to do so, you enjoy consistent organic traffic. Also, if you follow it up with an SEO campaign, you can stay at the top for a long time
  • When you want to enhance a site’s value: If planning to sell your website, it has to garner a high value to negotiate a premium price. A range of factors increases a site’s value, including consistency of organic traffic, traffic generated, search engine rankings over a while, page rank, to mention a few. You want to improve all such factors
  • When developing an authority site: This is one milestone many website owners seek to achieve. This is because an authority makes a website a resource center for a specific niche. Your website becomes the go-to website for information. The best way to become an authority website is to generate sustainable traffic to your pages, and SEO plays a critical role

What Is Paid Search?

Commonly referred to as pay per click (PPC), paid search is an advertising model that allows advertisers to place ads on advertisement platforms and pay for every click on the ad. The primary objective of the ad is to direct visitors to the advertiser’s website to complete practical actions like purchasing a product. Popular advertising platforms include Microsoft ads, Facebook, Bing Ads, and Google ads. Typically, advertisers bid for space on these platforms, and the highest bidder gets to display an ad. Auctions begin when a user types in a search query. If advertisers are interested in showing ads related to the search query, the auction is triggered based on the keywords the advertiser bids on. If the ad wins, it appears on the search engine results page. So when should you use a paid search?

  • When the company wants immediate results: PPC delivers fast results because once the PPC campaign is approved, ads become visible to millions of people. That’s why PPC is suitable for a company performing product launches, CPA marketing, squeeze pages, and affiliate marketing
  • If your site isn’t designed for SEO: Unlike paid searches, SEO requires content-rich websites. Content informs search engines that your site is relevant and is critical to search engine ranking. Not all sites are content-rich. For example, squeeze pages don’t have adequate content to merit a high rank on search engines. As such PPC Chicago campaign is more suitable for generating traffic

Both SEO and paid search both make effective marketing methods. Most businesses opt for an integrated marketing strategy by using a paid search and SEO, but their marketing objectives should also help them determine the best approach.

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