eCommerce Insiders

Paid or Organic Search: Which Strategy Is Best For Traffic?

If you’re marketing online, then you know that the key to conversions is by generating traffic to your eCommerce site. But how is this accomplished?

This is accomplished primarily by using one of two strategies-pay-per-click (PPC) or paid advertising, or organic search engine optimization (SEO).

There are inherent advantages to using both strategies, but is one better than the other? Read below to learn more about the advantages of each strategy.

The Advantages of Organic Search

Organic search, commonly known as search engine optimization (SEO) loosely refers to the strategies that are used in order for a website to be found naturally by the person performing a search engine query.

Specifically, when a person types in a group of words in a search engine’s query bar, the search engine will generate a list of website results based upon the keywords and their context to the query that was originally entered.

There are reasons why many marketers still swear by the use of SEO marketing campaigns, and there are reasons why you might find SEO to be a better fit for your needs.

1. SEO is inherently cheaper than paid search.

By its very nature, paid search (PPC) involves an investment. Specifically, advertisements containing keyword groupings are paid for using an auction bid system. Certain keywords are worth certain price points dependent upon their industry and their popularity.

For example, keywords for industries such as finance can worth up tens of dollars per click. A keyword in a less desirable industry might only be worth a few pennies per click.

Also, certain types of keyword questions can indicate the action that the site visitor plans on taking. Therefore, keywords that indicate that the site visitor is asking buying questions in the attempt to spend money will be worth a lot more money than keywords that indicate that the site visitor is simply attempting to find answers to their questions.

But organic search keywords in of themselves don’t cost a cent! They can be generated in-house by a trained search engine manager, or they can be generated by a contracted search account manager.

And it should be noted that even if a company pays for an organic search campaign, the upfront costs will be a lot less than it would cost to pay for a PPC campaign.

2. It’s a more enduring search engine strategy.

PPC campaigns are more cyclical in nature, especially when they’re generated around very specific sales promotions. After the goal of the campaign manager has been accomplished, there’s no need to continue to run the ad.

But there’s an inherent reason why PPC campaigns are temporary:

PPC campaigns are based upon the fact that each and every click that an ad generates is paid for upfront. This means that the account manager has to create a budget in order for their ads to appear online. And this means that once the budgeted funds are expired, the ads won’t appear anymore.

On the other hand, organic SEO links aren’t tied to monetary costs, so no matter what position they fall in search engine result pages (SERPs), they’ll appear indefinitely.

3. SEO provides more flexibility

When a PPC campaign ad is created, it’s created with a very specific niche in mind. If it’s created correctly, then it’s designed to generate very specific types of traffic.

This can be a good thing, but sometimes, marketers require a bit more flexibility. By using organic search keywords, marketers can use all sorts of content to generate a wide variety of traffic to the site.

The Advantages of Paid Search Advertising

With all of these things said, it should be noted that paid search advertising isn’t a bad tool to use. In fact, there are strong reasons why marketers should include PPC into their marketing campaigns. And in some cases, PPC might be the better option for very niched marketing strategies.

1. PPC doesn’t leave much to chance.

While organic SEO allows for more flexibility regarding the type of traffic that finds your site, there will be times when you don’t want to leave much (or anything) to chance! In cases like these, it’s best to pay for clicks that are being generated for paid advertising purposes.

For example, if you’re trying to generate leads to your sales page for a specific product, then you don’t want a modge-podge of site visitors to click on your link-you’ll want a very targeted audience to click on your link who are ready to make a purchase.

If you knew that you could generate the type of leads who are highly likely to convert, then you probably wouldn’t mind paying for them, right? That’s want PPC allows you to do.

2. You’ll enjoy higher levels of conversions based upon relevant results.

Again, when it’s time to focus tightly on conversions, especially when you’re trying to create segmented conversions, then you don’t want to waste time sifting through poor or irrelevant leads.

You want to know that your leads are looking for exactly what you’re offering. And that’s what paid search keywords allow for. On the other hand, keywords that are designed for organic search might appear in the search engine results based upon their context.

Think of it this way: Contextual results creates a wider-lensed, macro scenario. Relevant result creates a tighter-lensed, micro scenario. There will be times when macro is fine, but there will certainly be times in during your marketing efforts when mirco is key.

So which one is better?

The ultimate answer depends upon your current needs, and budget. But many smart marketers prefer to use both, in order to leverage the advantages of both strategies while offsetting their disadvantages.

Perhaps it would do you well to consider the same.

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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