Google dominates the search engine market with an impressive 92.47% share. Consequently, every business aims to feature prominently in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Small and medium-sized enterprises require a well-crafted strategy to establish their presence and compete against larger corporations. Implementing both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can enhance visibility in search results, leveling the playing field to some extent.
However, the relationship between paid and organic search is intricate. While many marketers recognize the synergy between SEO and SEM (search engine marketing), the interaction between organic and paid search is multifaceted. Even minor details can significantly impact your success in SERPs.
SEO VS SEM
In 2021, the expenditure on search advertising in the United States amounted to $84.7 billion. However, the fact that paid search budgets have increased does not imply that relying solely on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising will ensure business success in the digital era. Organic search still accounts for over half of all web traffic, highlighting the critical role of search engine optimization (SEO) in marketing.
SEO often compensates for the limitations of search engine marketing (SEM) and vice versa. Nonetheless, this does not mean that paid and organic search automatically complement each other. When formulating a comprehensive strategy, it is essential to consider how organic and paid search interact on Google in order to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing endeavors.
Search engine optimization and paid search offer two different ways for a website to appear in Google search results. Each method has its perks and drawbacks. Search engine optimization is a particularly good choice for:
• More limited budgets
• Long-term strategies
• Building brand trust and reputation
Pay-per-click advertising is ideal for:
• Fast results
• Larger budgets
• One-time sales
Because search engine optimization and paid search operate in such different ways, it typically makes sense to include both in your strategy. PPC will yield results almost immediately, while SEO takes longer to build. But when your PPC budget runs out, a strong SEO foundation will allow you to keep showing up in organic search results.
One common misconception is that paid search cannibalizes organic traffic. This notion suggests that pay-per-click (PPC) ads appearing at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) consume the traffic that would otherwise go to organic search results.
However, this idea was debunked by Google more than ten years ago. Their study revealed that pausing paid ads did not result in a significant diversion of traffic and clicks to organic results. Across various industries and more than 400 ad accounts, nearly 90% of the traffic initially generated by paid search remained unaltered during the pause period, indicating that organic clicks did not replace the absence of paid search clicks.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are not necessarily more successful than organic search results in general. The disappearance of a significant percentage of traffic does not imply that PPC ads are inherently more effective.
When a lead is at the stage where they are ready to make a purchase, they have likely already conducted their research. They no longer rely on clicking on organic search results for additional information; instead, they are motivated to take action and convert into a customer.
The concept of paid search cannibalizing organic search fails to consider user behavior. Many consumers initially avoid paid ads based on principles, and seeing a brand’s name in both organic and paid search results can actually build trust subconsciously.
While there are cases where traffic cannibalization may occur, it is more common for multiple concurrent paid ad campaigns to hinder each other or for organic ranking efforts to compete and cancel each other out. By implementing effective SEO and PPC strategies, you can likely avoid these scenarios altogether.
Next we will talk about Ad Click Performance. Stay tuned!