Organic & Paid Search: Stretch Your Advertising Budget With this Dynamic Duo

October 3rd, 2023 by Marissa Maggio

Key Insights

  • Marketers who invest in paid search but don’t use SEO miss out on valuable opportunities to grow their brand, impact, and results.
  • Paid search offers immediate, measurable results, while organic search provides long-term, cost-effective benefits. Both are essential for a balanced marketing approach that captures the ideal target audience.
  • When you leverage these strategies in tandem, you can stretch your advertising budget further and gain a higher return on your investment.

Already diving into the world of paid search? You’re likely experiencing satisfactory — if not excellent — returns on your investment. Your click-through rates are healthy, your conversion funnels are a work of art, and the ROI numbers speak for themselves.

But, why stop at one win when you can score a double?

The ROI potential of organic search is often underestimated, yet its impact is monumental. With organic search, you invest in a long-lasting asset that continuously draws in high-quality traffic and gains.

By leveraging both paid and organic search, you create a powerhouse that maximizes your budget and outperforms each strategy used in isolation.

paid vs organic search

Comparing the Advantages of Organic Search vs. Paid Search

Organic search refers to the unpaid search engine results that appear when you type a keyphrase into a search engine, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

Organic search differs from paid search in two primary ways: You don’t pay for high-rankings, and you earn those rankings based on how relevant your content is to the user’s search query.

The higher you rank in the organic listings, the higher the traffic to your website.

Data from Brightedge shows organic search constitutes over 53.3% of all website traffic, while 15% comes from paid search.

However, despite pulling in a lion’s share of page visits, organic search shouldn’t trump your paid efforts, and vice-versa. Choosing one approach at the expense of the other only risks leaving valuable opportunities on the table.

Organic and paid search are complementary marketing strategies. When used together, they yield results much greater than the sum of their individual parts.

Benefits of paid search

Paid search is popular for a reason. It’s fast-acting, easily adaptable, and you can measure its performance down to the most granular details.

Some of the top benefits you get by investing in this marketing strategy include:

  • Immediate visibility: Unlike organic search, which can take time to yield results, paid search offers immediate visibility. As soon as your ads are set up and approved, they can appear in relevant search results, driving instant traffic to your website.
  • Targeted reach: Paid search allows for precise targeting based on a variety of factors, such as keywords, location, demographics, and device type. This level of targeting ensures that your ads are shown to a highly relevant audience, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
  • Measurable and actionable results: Paid search offers detailed metrics and insights into your ads’ performance. This data helps you assess the effectiveness of your campaigns and make more informed decisions. You can optimize by testing different ad creatives, landing pages, and keywords.
  • Cost-effective: While you pay for each click, the ability to set a budget and bid strategy allows you to control your spending. Additionally, the targeted nature of paid search can lead to higher conversion rates, making it a cost-effective advertising method.

Benefits of organic search

When marketers invest in an organic search strategy, they’re investing in the tried-and-true practice of search engine optimization (SEO). This technique involves optimizing a website to appear higher on the search engine results page.

Successful SEO encompasses many different moving parts, including:

  • Keyword research: Identifying and targeting specific keywords relevant to your business helps tailor your content to attract qualified traffic.
  • Link building: Acquiring backlinks from reputable websites boosts your site’s authority, which can improve its ranking in search engine results.
  • On-page optimizations: Improving elements like titles, meta descriptions, headers, and content itself ensures that both search engines and users find your pages relevant and valuable.
  • Technical SEO: Optimizing your website’s underlying code, speed, and structure makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content.
  • Local SEO: Optimizing your site for local search helps you rank higher in geographically relevant queries, making it easier for local customers to find you.
  • User experience (UX): Enhancing your site’s usability and navigability keeps visitors engaged and signals to search engines that your site is user-friendly.

Each of these tactics plays a distinct role in optimizing your site for a better position in organic search results. When utilized correctly, effectively, and efficiently, they can lead to several compelling benefits, such as:

  • Increased organic traffic: By optimizing for relevant keywords and creating quality content, SEO helps increase the visibility of a website in search engine results, leading to more organic traffic.
  • Improved user experience: In revamping the structure and content of your website, you make it easier to navigate, which can improve the overall user experience.
  • Higher conversion rates: Through targeted optimization, SEO can attract more qualified leads to your website, leading to higher conversion rates, as visitors are more likely to take desired actions.

Why You Need a Paid Search + SEO Strategy

Adding SEO to your paid search strategy isn’t about dishing out hefty dollars or doing extra heavy lifting to reap results.

This one-two punch is about working smarter, not harder. When you adopt a comprehensive strategy, your paid and organic search efforts merge to inform each other for a budget-friendly, high-impact approach.

SEO is one of paid search’s biggest allies and strategic influences. It works to bolster the impact of your pay-per-click (PPC) ads by offering numerous advantages, including:

  • Brand credibility: If your site ranks high in organic search for relevant keywords, it may enhance your brand’s credibility and authority. This trust can translate into higher click-through rates for your paid search ads.
  • Improved quality score: Google’s Quality Score considers the relevance and quality of your landing pages. If your organic search efforts result in well-optimized landing pages, it might indirectly contribute to a higher Quality Score for your paid search ads, leading to lower costs and better positioning.
  • Shared insights: Your paid search campaigns can gain data from your organic search efforts, including effective keywords and user behavior. With these insights, you’re able to ensure more effective targeting and ad creation.
  • User experience and relevance: Successful organic search optimization involves creating relevant, engaging content that resonates with users. By leveraging this content in paid campaigns, like Google ads, you create a consistent user experience that enhances conversions.
  • Double visibility: Appearing in both organic and paid search results increases your overall brand visibility and reinforces your message, making users more likely to engage with either your organic result or paid ad.

Use case: Paid search & SEO for improved keyword visibility

Seeing double doesn’t always mean it’s time to visit your nearest eye care clinic.

In the search engine marketing world, double visibility for certain keyword searches opens the door to increased brand awareness, clicks, and conversions.

By occupying both paid and organic real estate on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you crowd out competitors and offer multiple avenues for potential customers to interact with your brand.

Our higher education client, Tulane SoPA, reached double visibility in the SERPs for the keyword “MPA degree New Orleans.”

mpa degree nola

The top page, flagged as “sponsored,” is the university’s paid search effort, and it leads to the corresponding landing page for the Master of Public Administration program.

mpa degree nola

Tulane SoPA’s organic listing for the MPA degree lies just below Google’s “People Also Ask” feature, still on page one.

Interested prospects searching for the perfect MPA program in their preferred locale are met with multiple signals pointing them to Tulane SoPA. When they click through to one of the pages, Tulane SoPA has higher chances of increasing their conversion rates.

The ROI Potential

The ROI of an organic vs. paid search strategy may look different, but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. With a combined search strategy, you can do more with your marketing and have better returns, without breaking the bank.

Used in tandem, paid and organic search stretch your budget further. Their complementary inner workings drive more conversions and dollars to your brand, particularly by:

  • Increasing overall traffic: By targeting different segments and stages of the buyer’s journey, both paid search and SEO can drive more traffic, improving overall reach and potential conversions.
  • Increasing conversion rates: Utilizing insights from both channels can lead to better targeting and more relevant content, thereby increasing the likelihood of converting visitors into customers.
  • Offering data-driven optimizations: Using data from both channels allows for more informed decisions and continuous optimization of both organic and paid strategies, leading to improved performance and ROI.
  • Allocating resources strategically: Understanding the performance and ROI of both channels enables you to strategically allocate resources, investing in areas with the highest returns.

Increase Your ROI With SEO & Paid Search Experts

Sticking to just one marketing channel is like running a race with one shoe. You might still finish, but you’re hobbling your chances for a winning performance.

A superior marketing strategy is holistic, leveraging both the quick returns of paid search and the sustainable growth offered by SEO.

At Search Influence, we put these winning, comprehensive strategies within your reach. With over 15 years of experience offering custom solutions, analytics-based strategies, and results you can measure, we are your partner in optimizing your full potential.

Interested in learning more about merging organic and paid search in your strategy? Let’s talk about it.


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