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SEO vs. Pay per Click Search Network | a comparison

Working with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is like building a long-term romantic relationship!

Results do not come overnight. You have to build trust in your website step by step. You need to work on yourself and your image and show the best possible version of yourself. But once you establish that trust and gain a stable position in your partners’ heart, chances are you will not lose it very easily.

You still need to work on it regularly, but you are not under immediate threat unless you do something really stupid, like cheating.

In both love and SEO, cheating can be fatal!

In SEO, cheating means using techniques that search engines will find unfair in order to move up the rankings. There is an entire list of things you should not do for SEO (usually called Black Hat SEO) — We will cover them in a future post, no worries! 

On the other hand, Paid Search Engine Marketing systems, such as Google AdWords, could not be compared to a romantic relationship. You could call them flings, or you could call them sugar daddy dating or something a lot more unpleasant than that. These relationships work only as long as someone is paying.

On the bright side, you do not have to wait for results; they are immediate if you are willing to spend enough. But since there is no true love involved, it is a lot easier for the relationship to deteriorate. There will always be someone else who might be willing to offer more than you do.

Users still click organic results a lot more often

Click rates on organic search results are much higher, and there is a tendency for users to have more trust in the legitimacy of Google’s organic results than in that of paid results with AdWords. In 2014, around 77% of clicks resulting from search results went to organic results, with only the remainder pointing to other options: click on paid results or no click at all.

First place in organic results in Google generally got more clicks than all paid results combined: 31.24%!

Looking at the data for 2018, in spite of recent efforts by Google to make paid results look almost identical to organic ones, the situation is much the same, with the distribution of clicks between organic and paid being almost identical. These results are explained by the natural psychological tendency to avoid straight-forward persuasion. We all have it! You will notice it is much harder to convince a friend of something if you start by saying: I will now begin my efforts to convince you.

Yet, there is not a universal consensus in terms of such data. Some are providing data to show that organic results have been losing clicks, especially on mobile searches and product-oriented searches. Yet, the total number of clicks for neither category has decreased, since the total number of searches on Google keeps growing.

Imagine you are getting a slightly smaller part of a much larger pie. Even 15% of a huge pie would be enough to keep pay per click services happy.

What does this mean for my website?

Well, it means you could probably use a bit of both strategic channels:

  • SEO for the long-term visibility of your website and for it to be considered more legitimate; investing more now, to see results later
  • PPC / AdWords for short-term results, to get traffic until SEO begins showing results; pay as you go

Whatever you choose, it might be advisable to hire a specialist to do it for you. It is equally important to keep track of what the visitors do and optimize your campaigns on the go — of course, you can use Visitor Analytics for this.

Please keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there, and although this is not a general rule, we have noticed many cases when user behaviour is a lot different depending on how they got to your website. PPC users sometimes spend a lot less time and click fewer pages on your website, compared to users coming from organic searches. Therefore, make sure your content is great for both types of customers!

Want to know more about improving your website content or traffic? Check out our Great tools to use when you are editing your website content, learn what is pay per click and apply these 3,14 tips to boost your traffic!

This page was updated on: 18. June 2018 - 08:22