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Battle of the Click: PPC vs Organic Traffic

Amy Raymond Posted by Amy Raymond on December 26, 2018

september 5, 2016arcadia football field6_00 pmDing-ding-ding.

This match will be your standard debate between our two opponents.

In one corner, we have the sure fire way to get your brand to the top of the page: the pay per click! Challenging in the opposing corner, we have the all-natural, brought to you by search engine optimization: the organic click!

When it comes to your brand’s website, both of these competitors have their advantages. But what are some of those advantages and which one will help drive your brand better?

Let’s get into it and see what exactly both of our contenders have to offer up.

Contender #1: The Pay Per Click

We have all seen them along the sides of our Google searches whether we are looking up something we have in mind to get later, looking up a recipe for dinner, or looking up the restaurant your family decided to meet at for dinner after work, to get an idea of what sort of menu you were in for when you arrived.

They are the small list of links being advertised and are primarily for when consumers are using a search engine to make commercial decisions by searching for what they intend to purchase. The companies that are involved and run these sorts of advertisements pay every single time a potential consumer clicks on their ad during their search. Perhaps you are looking up the hours for your local pizza parlor, or you are trying to find out if they deliver and an ad for their brand pops up along with the results. If you click that ad, that click is just one of however many clicks the company will have to pay for since it achieved its purpose: you clicked the link.

To incorporate these ads into their brand’s marketing, the company has to participate in an 'Ad Auction' that allows them to bid on triggers, key words, or terms that they want to be used to trigger their ad to show up.

So take the pizzeria as an example again.

To get their ad to show up as a pay per click advertisement, they would want to go through the Ad Auction and bid on keywords that would cause their ad to show up in view of their next potential consumer. For them, terms as simple as pizza, pizzeria, and pizza delivery would be keywords they would want to employ to target their potential new cliental that was looking for pizza in the search engine.

Once they have done that, the moment a new potential consumer types in the keywords the pizzeria bid on, the pizzeria’s pay per click advertisement will be shown to entice them to their website.

Yet if they are employing the pay per click tool in their marketing, the pizzeria will have to stay on top of changes to items such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads to ensure that their ads are getting out there and the keywords they previously bid on remain relevant.

If you are going to incorporate pay per clicks into your marketing strategy, you will need to know the keywords that you will need to trigger your ads, the negative keywords that will keep your ad from displaying against irrelevant searches, and stay aware to make sure your ads are always up to date.

With this in place, you will have bought your new potential consumers’ clicks.

Contender #2: The Organic Click

When it comes to our next contender, we may be a bit more familiar with them. Whenever we are looking for basic information on a search engine, such as the actors in your favorite show or movie, information you need for your brand, or finding out the scores of your favorite sports teams, the search engine automatically generates a list of websites for what you are looking for without any ads.

Any of those websites that you proceed to click on then gets an organic click.

Most of the search queries search engines receive end up being the type we just mentioned where the consumer is looking for a specific website or they are looking for general information on a particular topic. They are not out to buy anything or to become a new consumer, they are just looking to get around the internet or educate themselves.

One easy way to see this in practice is to tinker around with Google Insights for Search. From here, you can see the most commonly searched keywords for the last ninety days. At the time of writing this, a glimpse at the trending searches showed that the majority were for queries such as Penny Marshall, Michael Flynn, Chick-Fil-A, the Los Angeles Lakers game, and Alfonso Ribeiro. Of these examples, only one could potentially relate to a potential consumer interest that would cause an ad to be shown. So whatever websites got clicked from those queries would earn an organic click from all of those who chose those sites.

Now to ensure they were in a position to get those organic clicks, the webmasters had to ensure they were in a position to get onto the first page of Google by using search engine optimization practices.

Keyword analysis would be one focus of practice if you are working on trying to build up your organic clicks.

To help get your brand’s website get to that front page of the search engine and build your organic clicks and traffic, you will want to take note of the keywords that would lead a consumer to you. Take the time to consider everything you would use to try to find your own brand in a search engine and create a list to get a sense of what you would need to have in mind to lead your potential consumer base to you. From broad keyword phrases to the exact keywords or phrases, you will want to make sure your bases are covered to help bring the consumer to you and make you climb the search engine’s page list, instead of being pushed to the second page or beyond where your brand’s website will not be seen when someone is searching for information relevant to your brand.

A few of these keywords can also be placed within the title and meta of your brand’s website to help boost your brand’s spot on the search engine’s page list and give those potential consumers a more accurate description of your brand when they are staring at a page of links and trying to figure out where to begin. You can also place a few strategic keywords within the page to help draw traffic in that way.

This will become an ongoing process, as you will want to be aware of what keywords will help bring more consumers to your brand organically.

Let’s Fight it Out

Now that we know more about our two contenders, let’s take a look at the battle between the two. Among the two types of clicks, which one is better for your brand? Which one is it wise to invest the time and money into building? What do they both have to offer and how do they compare against each other?

Let’s take a look:

Pay per click is driven towards consumers and will get your page to the top of the search result list if your consumer searches for the keywords you’ve bid on during the Ad Auction. When the ad succeeds in leading the consumer to your page, you will pay out a few because it has done its job successfully and helped build the traffic to your website. Odds are if that consumer found you through a pay per click advertisement at the top of their search, they are potential customers. But keeping your PPC campaign in tune with your audience or buyer persona is imperative, because you could be paying for clicks from people who aren't prepared to buy from you. 

On the other hand, the organic clicks you will receive will be built on naturally, from consumers who are closely related to your buyer persona. This also builds trust with your audience - you are now the thought leader. Having built up a successful bundle of keywords through search engine optimization, your brand can get to the front page of the search engine results without having to put money forth for the advertisement of the pay per click ad.

Both types of clicks and trying to build traffic and both means are going to require resources, testing, and maintenance to ensure you are getting the most out of the two types of traffic generated from the search engines.

Taking a closer look at the two of these types of clicks from the search engines, it becomes a wise investment to focus first on building up your organic clicks and traffic to your brand’s website. With the nature of the two clicks, your brand is far more likely to come up as part of the results of someone looking for general information on the services that they need or are interested in learning more about than someone looking to make a decision at that moment simply because most of the search engine’s queries are more informational than commercial.

Yet as you work at building your organic traffic and learn the keywords needed to bring your consumers and potential new consumers to your brand, you will be learning what keywords you would need to bid on through the Ad Auction to build your pay per click advertising if and when you choose to implement that as part of your marketing and advertising plan. Or if you already have the pay per click instituted, building your organic click traffic will help grow your knowledge of keywords to make your pay per click advertisements more successful.

The Winner…for now

For now, the organic click wins because it is an investment in your brand’s future as you learn what is going to make your brand’s website visible to more natural searches and to build your way to the top of the search engine results pages. As we mentioned, more search engine queries are informational than commercial and you can use this to your advantage in building your organic clicks and traffic. Since more potential consumers would stumble upon your brand and your services by looking for information, the wisest move is to build organically.

Yet over time as you build your organic traffic and discover the bucket full of keywords that are going to bring consumers to you through the search engine, you are building a larger foundation for building your pay per click traffic by knowing what to invest in to make your pay per click advertisements more visible.

While the organic click traffic comes out the winner for now, over time and with the information gathered, the pay per click could easily rise to be a better contender and a better solution for your brand’s online presence. 

Topics: Inbound Marketing

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