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How to choose between organic search listings and PPC

When deciding how to get your new (or old, whatever the case may be) website into search engine results pages (SERPs) and get visitors to your site, you basically have two options to choose from: organic search engine optimisation, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Both methods have pros and cons, so it’s wise to list these before making a choice; the decision will have a big impact on the success of your SEO program.

Organic search listings are the result of non-paid means of search engine optimisation, such as relevant content and strategic keyword placement. PPC listings are basically advertisements for your site’s pages, and their placement in the SERPs depends on competition for the keywords within the ads, among other factors.

One of the main pros of organic search engine optimisation is its low cost. PPC advertising can become a very expensive proposition, especially if you rely on it entirely for all your traffic generation needs. Organic listings cost very little; in fact, if you manage your site’s SEO on your own, organic listings will cost next to nothing, other than time spent on keyword research, content writing, and maintaining your site. PPC’s costs depend on the amount you bid on the keywords contained within those ads, and those costs can really get up there over time.

A con of search engine optimisation aimed at generating organic listings is that it can take a substantial amount of time, while PPC is a comparatively quick solution. However, organically generated links are more credible to searchers, so are more likely to be clicked on than sponsored links, and generate more traffic over time. If what you’re looking for is instant leads, PPC might work in the short term while you’re working on a more comprehensive SEO strategy.

When you’re deciding between organic and paid listings, think of this: Would you buy a magazine whose pages were full of advertisements and no content? No. Traditional advertising depends on editorial content to draw in readers, who then are exposed to advertisements as they read. The same goes for online marketing. While advertising is important, attracting visitors with solid content is of equal or greater consequence. For the best website possible, it’s prudent to mix organic listings and PPC for a good balance of paid and unpaid traffic.