One of questions I’m asked most often is what’s best option for advertising a web site, Pay Per Click adverts or search engine optimising to achieve top crawled or “organic” listings. My usual answer is “a combination of two”. Both have their uses and their own pros and cons. In this issue we will focus on “Pay Per Click versus “Organic” Search Engine Listings” and aim to give you some clear guidelines and business scenarios to help you plan a successful, integrated campaign that is tailored to your business goals and market situation. What’s difference? For those who aren't quite clear what term "natural" or "organic" search engine-listing means, they describe "editorial" search results on any particular engine. These results are professed to be non-biased - meaning that engine will not accept money to influence rankings of any individual sites. This is quite different than paid advertising (Pay Per Click) that appears in "sponsored" or "featured" results, in which higher positions are awarded to companies willing to pay most per visitor or click. Why is organic search important? Although paying for Pay Per Click listings initially seems obvious answer, organic search listings are still very important to both searchers and web site advertisers. Knowledgeable searchers, who understand difference between paid and organic results are more likely to hold natural results in a higher regard, much like a person reading a newspaper or magazine would be more positively influenced by an article about a particular product or service than by a paid advertisement from company that sells it. In addition, organic results even playing field. Companies or individuals with smaller marketing budgets can complete with larger organisations as natural results are based on relevancy to search term rather than amount you are willing or able to pay for each click through to your web site. What are cons? Unfortunately, it takes a certain amount of knowledge and programming skills to optimise for organic search listings. It can also take a ridiculous length of time to be indexed. It often takes anywhere from two days to as much as six months to be listed on a search engine. Several weeks is norm, but you could get lucky and submit just a couple days before an engine does a complete refresh of their database.
Which One Gets More Clicks? I am frequently asked "Which listing type do searchers click on more often: natural “organic” search engine results or paid “sponsored” adverts?" Recent studies have confirmed my standard response, that answer is a classic case of...it depends!
Searcher behaviour varies greatly depending on demographics of searcher (men v women, experienced Internet users v novices), type of search a person is conducting (information-oriented v purchase-oriented) and engine where search is being conducted.
To reach greatest number of potential customers and maximize results of your advertising campaign, you must be visible in natural organic results AND sponsored listings.
Here are six possible scenarios to help you prioritise and decide which path(s) to follow when setting up your search engine marketing campaign:
1. Limited Advertising Budget If budgets are tight or nonexistent and you can't afford to pay for website visitors, even after taking into account value of their desired online action, you will want to place a great deal of emphasis on effectively implementing search engine optimisation in-house. If you don’t already have knowledge or skills to implement this, download our invaluable guide to optimising your web site for both organic search engine listings and visitor use here: “Start at Beginning”: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html
2. Website That Can't Be Modified Optimisation for organic search engine listings typically involves modifying a site's design, content, and navigation. For example, heavy reliance on Flash, frames, or graphics may need to be changed in order to incorporate more optimised text. However, some businesses feel that an optimised website does not provide multi-media experience their customers require or expect. If your business falls into this category, then Pay Per Click advertising may be only way to achieve good results.