Paid vs. Organic Search Engine Strategies

What’s the Difference?

Paid marketing, or SEM (Search Engine Marketing), is what happens behind the scenes when you see the Google results marked “Ad” after completing a search. This can be done through Google AdWords.

Organic, or SEO (Search Engine Optimization), marketing is what companies use to get their results on page one. Google uses and algorithm to decide which results are most relevant based on the keyword searched.

When I search “kittens,” there is a paid ad followed by the most relevant website result on the first page.


The Importance of Keywords

No matter what strategy you use, keywords are king. If you don’t focus on the right keywords, your website will not receive traffic, and probably will not receive a good ranking when Google’s algorithm judges the content (Jantsch & Singleton, 2016). Before doing any advertising, you should create a master list with main keywords, high-priority keywords, and long-tail keywords (which are great for blog posts). Google AdWords includes a keyword analyzer. This is helpful for SEO or SEM.


What are the Pros and Cons of Paid and Organic Strategies?

Paid Strategies

If you can afford them, paid strategies are great. They produce immediate results with an ad campaign that requires a rather minimal amount of effort. This is great for gathering an audience and getting on the first page quickly.

Paid strategies are, of course, paid. The system is pay per click, but oftentimes clicks become a bidding war where the business with the most money wins (Google, 2017). This can be especially difficult when using general search keywords.

Organic Strategies

Organic strategies attract the attention of your audience over time. The results are delayed due to the algorithms that support them (Rose, 2017), and people who try to use back doors to cheat the system are heavily penalized (Jantsch & Singleton, 2016). Organic strategies require a clear plan and patience. They also require the user to stay on top of the algorithm changes. One unnoticed change can set your website back several pages.

However, over time, organic strategies can give you the biggest bang for your buck. A page one ranking will create more traffic than an ad (Jantsch & Singleton, 2016). Oftentimes, people skip over the ad section when they do a search. Many have learned that the most relevant information is the information that a search engine has placed organically. This is why Google is always perfecting and correcting their algorithm.

Here are a few tips for making the most of an SEO strategy (Jantsch & Singleton, 2016):

  • Have a master list of keywords, and use the AdWords keyword analyzer.
  • Use a genuine link-building process. The use of a combination of a blog and social media can make this happen faster. Always link content back to your website.
  • Ensure that content “above the fold” (what is seen when the page loads) is keyword-rich, provides a clear call-to-action, and remember that the location of images, text, ads, forms, and videos affect value on Google.
  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly.
  • Use Google Analytics to monitor the traffic on your website.
  • Yoast is a great resource for determining how well your SEO efforts on going on your website.




Google. (2017). How ads on Google get results. Retrieved from Google AdWords: Google AdWords

Jantsch, J., & Singleton, P. (2016). SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers & Entrepreneurs. Create Space.

Rose, C. (2017, August 15). SEO 101: How Long Does SEO Take to Start Working? Retrieved from SEO Mechanic:


1 thought on “Paid vs. Organic Search Engine Strategies

  1. Thanks for the inclusion and attribution in your blog post! Also great information.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close