SEO vs. Paid Search – How Do We Choose?

By Yosi Anunson, Account Supervisor

This is an all too familiar question that we’ve had to answer as brands become more search savvy and demand a higher return from their websites.

The things we know about Natural search is, more searchers click the natural results versus the paid ads, so you'll get much more traffic for less (or FREE). Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often very tech heavy and can take a long time to implement. Ultimately, however, it can generate the rankings and traffic that deliver a return that will impact a client’s bottom line.

A weak SEO program requires time to generate the results, links, "tweak" the page content and keywords to get those all important high rankings we all desire.

For paid search, the fact is that it will provide an immediate boost of qualified visitors, leads and sales giving you fast results within a very short amount of time. In fact, a paid search program is the best option if you seek fast results and a good ROI while you are waiting for your SEO program to "take off."

So, as a short term strategy paid search has the clear advantage over SEO. But, the disadvantage is the cost involved. Depending on the market demand for your keywords and clicks, your paid search campaign can generate tons of traffic and can cost a lot of money.

We all know that we should constantly strive for maximum results and ROI for your budget. So, if your marketing is making you a profit - even if it's a thin profit - it's worth it.

By this model, paid search is a no-brainer, but paid search will leave you with thin margins. To further increase your margins over the long haul launch a SEO campaign and close the search loop for the best ROI possible.

So, how do we choose? Engage in both, paid search as your short term strategy and SEO as your long term strategy.


dgould said...

Well said, but we always need to remember that there's no free lunch. We often refer to click throughs on natural search results as "free" traffic. Remember, there is a cost to implementing SEO strategies. Whether it be the labor for the development and implementatation or the opportunity cost associated with what that labor could have otherwise been doing. Alhough in the long term, as you mention, SEO strategies have some degree of durablity and will keep on delivering long after the one click that a paid search ad delivers.

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