Paid and organic search results are two different types of traffic generated by search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) respectively. Although there are key differences between the two types of search results, there are still many business owners who are not familiar with the data analysis provided by their website analytics solutions, possibly Google Analytics. This often leads to wrong web marketing decisions and loss of competitive market share.
When users enter a keyword or a key phrase in the search box of their search engine, they get millions of return results in seconds. From these results, some are highly marketed and paid listings, either placed right underneath the search box or randomly on the page if run through Google Adwords and some are simply gathered by search engines and ranked by relevance to the search topic. Therefore, each time a user enters a keyword or a key phrase in a search engine, the search engine returns paid search results and organic search results.
a) Paid search results
Paid search results are what their name implies: paid listings that run through pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements. The logic is as follows: the website pays a certain fee to the search engine to list a certain amount of links that are related to particular keywords. Each time a user clicks on the link of a particular ad for a particular keyword, the website pays the search engine because its ad is clicked. The more competitive the keyword, the higher the bid on the search engine as it typically happens with Google AdWords, where websites bid on keywords or keyword phrases relevant to their target audience.
b) Organic search results
Organic search results are results gathered by search engines and ranked by relevance to the keyword or keyword phrase. Unlike paid search results, organic search results do not involve any fee and are indexed based on content relevancy and keyword match.
In reality, organic search results are more effective than paid search results because:
(1) Although there is no cost involved, the returned results are 100% relevant to the keyword because they are based on quality content and keyword match.
(2) Nearly 70% of search engine users click on organic search results and especially the 10 first organic results that appear in search engines. This generates more traffic for the website.
(3) Nearly 75% of search engine users feel that organic search results are more relevant than pay-per-click ads.
(4) Nearly 66% of advertisers report that they don’t fully trust pay-per-click ads.
(5) Usually people who click on organic search results have a higher level of education because they make specific research on academic topics.
(6) As a result of all the above, websites that are linked to organic search listings are more likely to achieve higher ranking in search engines and maintain a record of high ranking history, which allows for higher traffic levels.
On the other hand, paid search results tend to get higher ranking than organic search results because they is a fee involved. Advertisers pay their hosts and search engines to achieve a high ranking in search results. However, although a fee per keyword is $0.25, a highly popular keyword may even exceed $15.00. Therefore, paid search results require really careful planning for effective web marketing strategies.