Posted by Renee Schmidt

Organic SEO vs.Paid SEM; what’s best for search engine marketing?  Should you spend money on Organic Search, Paid Search or both?

Although the decision is not so black and white, one thing’s for sure; first, we have to know what SEO is. On SheBytes last week, I explained in the post “How To Choose a SEO Company”, that SEO is simply the “process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines.

According to Blue Fly founder Robert Weil; “there is a time and place for both” approaches to Search Engine Marketing. “Each method has both benefits and drawbacks”, he says.

With this concept in mind, I’d like to focus separately on Paid Search and Organic Search, to compare them.

Paid Search

With a pay-per-click setup, the first step is to design simple ads for a search engine (almost always it’s for Google). You then match the ads with desired keywords which you imagine people who can be potential clients will be searching for.

This way, Google will present your ads to people who are searching for those specific terms and your website will get exposure and clicks on a pay-per-click basis (simple enough; you pay each time your ad gets clicked on).

Now for Organic Search…

Organic

Let’s put ourselves in the client’s shoes for a moment:

Say I’m a client. It’s irrelevant what I do, or what I’m looking for. I’m searching for a service. The first thing I would do would be to start searching for something online. After typing in a couple of words into Google; I’d be most interested in seeing those results which are most relevant to my search query (fancy word for entry).

By having an SEO company (like Blue Fly), optimize your website; by making it more search friendly, you will pay on a monthly basis and your site will appear higher to the top in Google search.

Bottom Line

Now that the differences between the two have been highlighted, I’d like to focus on something which Weil says, “in his experience, the return on investment with SEO is almost always superior to pay per click.”

While Paid Search will give you more of an immediate traffic boost (artificially so), Organic Search takes time and will grow your business naturally. Blue Fly says that “studies have shown that only 10% of searches click on the pay per click sponsored results, “versus 90% on organic”!

This is definitely an important thing to keep in mind while trying to decide between the two, but to me it seems that the best strategy is to pursue both simultaneously while closely managing the spend and the progress.

So now that you know, go ahead and get started ;) !

Photo credit [via]