If you’ve searched for something on Google recently, you’ve probably noticed a mix of content. You’ll see some ads or sponsored content mixed in with the content that shows up naturally in your search engine results. As a consumer, you might not pay much attention to the difference. But when you’re thinking about your business’s digital marketing strategy, it’s a very important distinction. In this week’s blog post we’ll explore paid ads vs. organic content and what a business owner needs to know.
Paid Ads vs. Organic Ads
On the surface, it might not seem like a difficult concept to understand – paid ads are ads you pay for, right? And organic content is free for you to create and publish. But that’s just scratching the surface of the difference between these two types of content.
Time vs. Money
The main divider in these two types of search engine content is not just money – it’s also time. Paid ads on a search engine like Google will take your content to the top of search engine rankings immediately. This makes it easier for your potential customers to find your company and the products or services you offer, even if your website is brand-new. People rarely go past the first page of search engine results so getting that top spot can be the difference between hundreds of new leads and none at all.
If that’s true, why bother trying to rank in organic search results?
Why does your business need to build organic traffic into your digital marketing strategy at all?
The answer is found when you start thinking in terms of months or years, instead of days. Sure, paid advertising works fast. (After all, that’s why it’s called a quick lead).
Fast Isn’t Free
But those fast results come at a cost. Paid search advertising is one of the most effective forms of pay-per-click advertising – that’s why it’s also one of the most expensive. Users on search engines are usually searching for highly specific keywords because they have already decided to purchase an item. Now they just need to find a place to buy it.
If you’re a small business running ads on all those high-buyer-intent keywords for months or years at a time, those costs will eat into your profits significantly. It’s not a good long-term solution to build and grow your business.
Why You Need Both
It’s not all about paid vs. organic content when it comes to search engine results – it’s also about organic and paid search. Your digital marketing strategy probably shouldn’t be either/or. It should be a thoughtful and strategic combination of both kinds of content.
Creating paid ads is a quick process that gets you quick results. Organic content is a longer game – it can take 6-12 months for your content to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Organic Content for the Long Term
It takes longer because search engines like Google are looking for signs that your blog post or website is a credible source and useful to your users.
They measure things like:
- How long your users spend on a page – do they click on it and leave immediately because they can’t find what they need?
- Do they find your content so helpful they share it on their social media feeds?
- Do other websites link to your page because they also find it credible and useful?
All of these factors tell the search engine algorithm that your site should be shown prominently in user searches, because it matches what they’re looking for. You can accelerate this process by using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques like targeting specific keywords in your content. And you can also make sure your site is set up to be easily understood by search engines. But even with the best SEO, organic content takes a while to get a high volume of search traffic.
Patience Pays Off
Organic traffic is worth the wait though. Consumers are increasingly wary of ad content. Some will click through to paid search results but others will distrust paid content. After all, paid search ads don’t offer a guarantee that your content is what they’re really looking for. To the consumer, it’s just that you have the budget to advertise. Organic search results are often seen as more trustworthy.
And organic traffic keeps getting you consistent results that grow over time without any additional investment of marketing dollars. You invest the time once to create the content, and it brings in leads and customers for years to come.
Using paid search ads to get your digital marketing off the ground while your organic content starts gaining traction is a winning combination. Using both forms of content together wisely can bring in business to pay the bills in the short term while setting you up for long-term success.
Smart Social Media Moves
Organic and paid content isn’t just something to think about for Google Ads or other search engines, either. You can use the same combination of Facebook Ads and organic Facebook content or other social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest to boost your social media results, if those are platforms that work well for your business. Attracting more users to your social media feed at first can help your organic content get more views and create more impact over time.
And don’t forget to share your organic content on the relevant social media channels either. Social shares help boost your search engine rankings for your content, so make sure your content marketing and social media strategy are working together. You should include your content in your email marketing plan too – the more readers of your blogs and website, the higher your search rankings.
The Power of Paid Ads and Organic Ads
Paid ads and organic content have different strategies and timelines, but they share a common goal – getting your business the growth you need to succeed.
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