Organic Search vs Paid Search Part 1

By jrosen | August 9th, 2012


As I sit here at my kitchen counter scarfing through my burned toast and cheap coffee, I’m compelled to write a blog heading into the weekend. One issue that keeps popping up with many of our marketing clients is how to allocate resources between Paid Search and Organic Search. Our digital marketing framework takes a look at creating an alignment marketing strategy that balances Organic Search, Paid Search, on-site Content Strategy (including blogging), Social Media and even community relations efforts.

But rather than get into all of that, I’d like to focus on this single issue recently brought to light by our friends at Wordstream. The main point that I glean from this article, which is very informative, is simple. There is a place for everything in your company’s marketing strategy – the toughest part is coming up with a clear case for what to try during which period of time and then allocating the resources and coming up with strategy to implement, being patient (yes, I said it), and tracking results. Then, the cycle repeats itself, with the caveat that each cycle should be more informed by the previous ones and efficiencies should begin to take shape.

Removing the jargon for a minute, let’s get down to common sense. Paid search means the ads that you see on Google after you type in a keyword. Companies are optimizing content and bidding dollars on a daily basis for their contextual ads to show up for searches relevant to their keywords. You’ll see data like that in the Wordstream article stating that Clicks on paid search listings beat out organic clicks by nearly a 2:1 margin for keywords with high commercial intent in the US. But if you’re a “headline-only” skimmer, you’ll miss out on the fact that the article nicely points out the key takeaways in their infographic.

But we like to try and keep it simple here at Cabedge, and this is our main take-away:

– When engaging in Paid Search, focus strictly on “intent to purchase” keywords. That is, if you’re a direct e-commerce company.

That’s it.

Don’t walk away thinking that you should shift your marketing strategy away from organic and more towards paid. Nope. Because as the article clearly points out, organic searches still get more clicks overall than paid searches.

More to come on Paid Search in the coming months, but overall, before your company buys traffic, we highly recommend you have a strategic goal and funnel to engage and convert that traffic into business. Or, have a plan to use paid search for A-B beta testing to track data that can improve your site’s user experience.

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