Organic vs. Paid Advertising: What You Need to Know

google search engine

In the digital marketing world, one of the first things we hear when onboarding a new client is: “We want increased visibility, growth and business acquisition! Optimization and all the internet things!” While we love being able to service and provide as many of “the things” as possible, brand awareness and revenue is best enhanced in conversations around organic and paid advertising. There is a lot of debate in the industry between the two concepts, so we’re going to unpack the approaches and explain where we stand on the issue.

How To Optimize Organic Web Traffic

organic marketing mushroom

No, we aren’t talking about mushrooms or produce, although we do love food. We are talking about organic web results. Organic search traffic serves as a conduit between your business via search engines and potential customers without having to pay for these results. This is done by making sure your website and digital assets (including social media, apps, or premium content marketing pieces) have relevant content with quality inbound links from other trusted websites. 

Search engines and users have become savvier with the keyword phrases typed in the search bar. As such, Google provides them with more relevant results for long-tail keyword phrases. For instance, instead of searching for the term “shoe”, most users are expanding their keyword phrase to “high-heel cocktail shoe,” for better results. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is no longer an option for businesses looking to compete in the online world. Your business may produce the best custom leather handbag, but your sales might not reflect that if your Google search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant search queries aren’t connecting the dots.

We Love Organic and You Should, Too

At LuckyTamm Digital Marketing (LTDM), we are fans of all things organic, especially garden herbs, farm-raised eggs, oh and of course creating all-natural high-quality content such as blogs, whitepapers, email drip campaigns, ebooks, or social media posts. When it comes to SEO optimization, we believe we are farmers planting seeds across the internet that will grow, expand, and adapt over time in response to audience personas. Our methodology is not to be confused with the Blackhat SEO tactics of keyword stuffing and link farming

We also recommend any post intended for blog publication abides by this checklist: 

  • Page titles on point – Capturing search traffic begins with optimizing in the right places. 
  • Avoid duplicate content – Google hates this and so do we. Be authentic with your posts. If you’re repurposing, find a new way or angle to appeal to the audience. 
  • Use good eta descriptions – This is the hook to capturing a reader in a search query. Well-crafted snippets should be succinct and invite the user into the story.
  • Don’t forget the alt tags – This is for video and imagery that search spiders/robots cannot understand. Give them the language they can understand by leveraging alt tags to describe the media. This is also important for improving page rankings and being mindful of visually impaired users. Your website should be accessible for everyone. 

Using Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to Build Organic Growth

google keyword planner

When building out a content strategy for a client that needs a more budget-friendly approach, we recommend tapping into two free tools: Google Ads Keyword Planner and Google Trends

Google Ads Keyword Planner helps businesses discover new keyword ideas including broad, exact, and longtail keyword phrases that your audience may be searching for. The tool also provides search volume and forecasts of historical metrics to help understand how those phrases might perform in the future. 

Google Trends, on the other hand, utilizes the popularity of top search queries among searches across various regions and graphs out that information over time. This is fantastic for content curators (aka Client Happiness Heroes at LTDM) as it provides data-driven insights that may be applicable to client accounts. This information also helps compare relative search volume between two or more keyword phrases or search terms which can be impactful when needing to make crucial decisions within a strategic framework.

Paid Advertising: Pay Per Click (PPC) Explained 

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of organic SEO (and produce), let’s shift gears to the other piece of the advertising equation: paid advertising. For businesses that have no historical data or authority with Google, there is another way to leapfrog to the top of the search pages. Google Ads and social media ads are quick ways to infiltrate the feeds of users searching for your product or service, but who don’t necessarily want to click beyond the second page of search results. 

The beauty of these services is audiences can be targeted based on interest, zip code, gender, device, or geographic location. Paid ads on Google and social media can be put to work upon submission of artwork and campaign outline.  Compare this to traditional advertising billboard methods, which could take weeks to go through the process of checking ad space inventory, having creative developed and manufactured, installation, etc. 

Through these data mining/machine learning capabilities the likelihood of increasing brand awareness is much higher and faster than with organic methodology. The paid advertising model is set up so once an ad is clicked on, the search engine charges the advertiser per click (hence pay-per-click, aka PPC).  Unfortunately, this can be a waste of valuable marketing dollars if these monies are not managed properly. 

Is PPC Right for You?

When considering if PPC is right for you or your business, these are the top three things you should consider:

  • Budget range – Media spend can vary from client-to-client and how aggressive the client wants to be with their advertising budget. Your marketing team will thank you if you come to the table with a proposed budget range in mind, instead of leaving the pricing wide open. 
  • Landing page – Since the objective of PPC is to capture search traffic, the landing page is put together as a welcoming place for that traffic. This should be set up to give the user something for free (e.g. a guide, checklist, whitepaper, must-have) in exchange for lead information that is dropped into a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. 
  • Relevant keyword phrases and target geographic areas – This information can expedite the work of the marketing team to make sure your target market and campaigns are being set up properly. Search volume varies from market to market and can be a very time consuming process to research if the market area isn’t specified. Many variables within the campaign can be changed or updated based on relevancy and user interaction over time. The key component is knowing where to start to initiate that process.

Choosing Between Organic and Paid Marketing

When asked, “Which is better, organic. or paid marketing?” The best answer is both. If you have the budget and the team or marketing support group in place to administer a strategy encompassing both methods, the likelihood of catching the attention of your target market is far greater than putting up a billboard in rural America and expecting the phone to start ringing. 

Advertising in a hyper-connected world led by distractions, automation, and competition only works when campaigns are well-planned, implemented, and maintained over time. If your organization struggles with reaching your target audience and could use professional assistance, get in touch. Our team has experience and technical know-how of “the internet things” to drive campaigns that impact customer acquisition and sales revenue.