Organic Search vs. Paid - What's the Better Strategy?

January 20, 2023

When people are in need, they go to Google for answers. They might be searching for the definition of a word or to find the best local chiropractor. If you have a live website then you want and need to be found! If you are just sharing information or selling something, the name of the game is GET ON PAGE ONE.

When it comes to search ranking and getting on page one, there are two kinds of marketing: Paid results and Organic results. Both methods have benefits & drawbacks but are effective and today we'll discuss the difference between them. Understanding the advantages of both will help you get the most return on your online marketing investment.

Organic Search Results

Organic search results are the websites listed in the SERP (search engine result page) that most match the searchers key words. These are natural rankings determined by Google's algorithm and can be optimized with several different practices.

Organic Benefits

  • Trust & Credibility - High search rankings translates to high authority and leadership to the user. This perception leads to more trust and a higher chance of a click through rate.
  • Ranking - Once your domain gets good ranking, you'll maintain that position and will have built trust with the user and search engines.
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) - CTR is the percentage of people who click on your ad/link divided by the number of times your website link actually showed up. Organic results always have a higher CTR.
  • Inbound Marketing - This technique is a strategy of attracting more patients through created content. This makes it easier for patients who are actively looking for solutions to their questions. They can read the content on your site and see what your clinic has to offer.

Organic Drawbacks

  • Time - Depending on how competitive the key words are, this can take time to get indexed and start generating traffic.
  • Resources - Achieving high rankings requires a lot of effort - original content creation can be difficult, you can always hire someone or you can write it yourself.

Paid Search Results

Paid search results are just that - you are paying for that ranking spot on page one. Businesses can advertise by paying for their ad to appear when a user plugs in the search bar your specific keywords. Paid ads are displayed above the organic search results. This is not a long term solution (unlike organic results).

Paid Ads Benefits

  • Time - Paid results are placed at the top of the rankings once you pay for your ad placement - unlike organic, which can take months or years.
  • Targeting - You can target your specific audience with a custom campaign. For example: geo-targeting, income, age, marital status, industry, etc.
  • Potential for Quality Visitors - Searchers using keywords that signify high purchase intent may be more likely to click a targeted ad over organic results.

Paid Ads Drawbacks

  • Cost - The more competitive the key word the higher the bid price will be. Running ad words / paid search results, really requires high levels of expertise to run the campaign. If you aren't totally on your game, you will spend a lot of money for clicks that are unqualified traffic.
  • Momentary - The moment you stop paying for your ad, it disappears from the results page.
  • Untrustworthy - People are hip to how things run online nowadays, so they don't trust paid ads, they do however trust organic results.
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) - Users tend to click on paid ads at a lower rate than organic search results. Organic listings simply have more credibility.

What's the Right Strategy?

When it comes down to it, you want traffic to your website. On one hand, increasing organic results can be daunting. You need to create original content and implement SEO tactics. On the other hand, with paid ads you pay for every single visitor to your website.

Online Marketing Isn't One-Size-Fits-All

There is an appropriate time for investing more heavily in one approach than the other. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question, "what's the right strategy?"

In regards to organic SEO, my advice is to always be creating content to help boost your ranking. Content that you create today can pay dividends in the future. In regards to paid search, be analytical and spend wisely when you need to run ad campaigns.

If I had to pick one...

The right strategy may likely include both organic SEO and paid search campaigns. But, if I had to pick one over the other, I'd always choose the organic route.

Please, let us help you get more visitors to your website. This is what we live for!

TJ Delorie

TJ grew up with his mother's chiropractic office in the basement of their house. Back then, he used to love helping to develop film x-rays. Now, he has a master's degree in Film and Digital Technology and helps chiropractors all over the world develop their online marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Chiropractors