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How many times have you clicked on a paid ad without realizing it? With the latest update to the search engine results page (SERP), Google now displays up to four paid ads above organic results. While this doesn’t mean that paid marketing is a better option than organic marketing, their prominence can make it more difficult for the user to see your website’s organic results. For example, the results for “coffee vendors for offices” shows three ads before the first organic listing.

organic vs ppc advertising

Ultimately, it’s valuable to understand the differences and benefits of using both paid (PPC) and organic search marketing in your marketing plan. Knowing the unique benefits of each will allow you to decide how to use each based on your timeline, budget, and desired results.

Organic Search Marketing

Organic search marketing is any part of your company’s marketing that naturally attracts visitors to your website. From search engine optimization (SEO) to social media to blogging, each of these tactics helps visitors find your website. Let’s explore how each tactic can contribute to your company’s overall organic marketing results.

Your company’s organic marketing strategy is something that requires constant attention, whether it’s weekly or monthly. Overall, the purpose of the following tactics is to help your website naturally gain credibility within search engines like Google so that your business ranks higher on the SERP.

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Is your website properly optimized to include core keywords for your business? If not, it will be difficult for your website to rank for those keyword searches. Consider conducting a website audit to determine how your website is ranking in search engines, which includes which pages are doing well and which ones aren’t. This may require some keyword research to determine relevant search phrases for your business.
  2. Blog – If you have a blog on your website, this can assist your company’s credibility in search engine results, especially if you’re using content that your customers are searching for.
  3. Online Listings – Ensuring that your online listings are up-to-date and accurate is another tactic that can help your company’s organic results. Using a tool like Moz Local can reveal any inconsistencies or inaccuracies for your company.
  4. Social Media – While your social networks are separate from your website, ensuring that your profiles are set up with your company’s information will help your social media profiles rank on SERPs, which will ultimately lead more visitors to your website.

Writing blog articles, optimizing your entire website and completing online directory listings is a process that never truly ends. Organic marketing is a long-term strategy and it will take time to see results, in the form of ranking, traffic and business leads. While there isn’t a precise time period, it will likely take at least 6 months (if not more) before you see a major difference with seeing results.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing

If organic marketing is the long-term solution, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a great way for companies to see results quickly.

Planned by developing a campaign and by creating a set of ads, you can decide if you want to use Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or both. These are the two main platforms used to increase a company’s reach beyond organic marketing.

What aspects should you consider when developing a PPC strategy?

  • Audience – When setting up a PPC campaign, Google allows you to be specific with targeting. Depending on which type of ads you use, display or text, there are a number of options for targeting your audience, including demographic data, geographic location and searched key phrases.
  • Budget – Fortunately, PPC can be used with budgets of all sizes. Whether you have $200 per month or $2,000, you can create a paid search campaign. While results will greatly differ depending on your spend, the good news is that you can start small and grow your paid search campaign in the future.
  • Campaigns – Determining the focus for a paid search campaign is also important. For example, you can create a campaign focused on an event, region, service or product.
  • Conversions – Conversions are the number of people that took a specific action after clicking one of your campaign ads. Google will track what happens after visitor initially clicks the ad – whether it’s signing up for your email list, making a purchase or another action.

Key Differences Between Organic and PPC Search Marketing

One difference between pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and organic search marketing is in relation to time. Often, you won’t see results with organic marketing for several months, as this strategy takes time to build authority, higher rankings and traffic for your website. For PPC marketing, this strategy can produce results more quickly in the short-term, whether it’s days or a few weeks. Together, the two can provide superior results for your business.

Organic and paid search strategies also differ in their approach. In organic search marketing, several methods are used to optimize your website, including SEO, blogging, online listings, and social media. With PPC marketing, the focus is solely on creating ads and setting a budget for your campaign. For either strategy, targeting a relevant list of search engine key phrases is vital to attracting the right audience to your website.

For many business-to-business companies, Proximity Marketing employs both organic and PPC marketing tactics to achieve short-term results while building long-term credibility in search engines. If you’re ready to enhance your organic and PPC marketing, contact us today to learn more.


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Beth is our VP of Digital Marketing Strategy who, besides drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, helps clients generate more business. Whether they’ve partnered with Proximity Marketing for a decade or just joined the family, Beth helps clients achieve success and achieve measurable results.

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