top of page
paid vs organic search

Assuming you have not skipped anything, you have completed...

STEP 1 - STEP 2 - STEP 3 - STEP 4 - STEP 5 - STEP 6 - STEP 7


STEP 2: WIX SEO COURSE - Paid vs organic search traffic!

The difference between paid and organic search

Google, Bing, and Yahoo are all businesses, and as such, they need to make money to maintain their service. It is so important you realise that search engines are businesses. As businesses, they need to make money to keep their search engine going.

Search engines do not make any money from organic search. In fact, it costs them an awful lot of money to maintain all their massive global data centres, so they need to make money from paid adverts to maintain everything and pay all their staff throughout the world.

To give you an understanding of the revenue the number one search engine generates – Google turned over $146 billion from AdWords in 2020.

Paid search

You can set a campaign up through Google AdWords or Bing Ads, and agree to pay a maximum set price each time someone clicks on your advert. This means you are paying an agreed amount of money every single time a different person clicks on your paid search engine listing.

Organic search

Organic search listings are displayed on the search results pages below the paid search listings, but unlike the paid search listings, you are not charged every time somebody clicks on your listing.

The pros and cons of paid search

The top three pros of paid search are…

  1. Instant exposure - You can set up a paid ad campaign and have it live and driving clicks to your website within 10 minutes.

  2. Ability to pay for the top spot - If you have got a deep pocket, then anything is possible. The more you are willing to pay for each click (visitor to your website), and the more relevant your ad is to the search query, you are more likely to secure the top spot.

  3. Access to extra search data – Although Google have limited the amount of data, they provide you through AdWords, you still get access to more keyword data than you do through normal organic via Google Analytics.


The top three cons of paid search

  1. You must pay for every click / website visitor - It does not matter if the person who clicked your paid listing contacts you or not, or they hit the back button, you still must pay an agreed amount of money for that visitor.

  2. Paid listings receive a lot less clicks than the organic listings (around 20% to 25%) – The actual percentage does vary depending on the industry you are in and the keywords you are targeting. Some industries receive a higher percentage of paid clicks than others. The reason a paid listing receives less clicks is because most people just do not trust the paid ads, because they know you just pay to be there.

  3. The companies with exceptionally large advertising budgets usually monopolise the top ad positions - If you are looking to get the top ad position and competing against the big brands, you are probably not going to do that because they have just got their AdWords account set to ‘no matter how much somebody else pays, just pay more’.


Pros and cons of organic search

The top three pros of organic search

  1. Organic listings receive around 75% of the search clicks - People trust the organic listings more than the paid listings.

  2. You are not charged each time somebody clicks through to your site - You can have your organic listing ranking on the first page and 10,000 different people can click it and you are not charged anything.

  3. Lower cost per lead / sale – If you run both paid search listings against a well-run SEO campaign for a 12-month period, you would receive a lower cost per lead through your organic listings than your paid ad listings.


The top three cons of organic search

  1. It takes time until organic search starts to drive clicks through to your website. Around 3 to 6 months, depending on competition level - If you are in a very niche industry with no competition in your area, and you are targeting just local people, then you are probably going to get ranked before the three months if you follow a solid local SEO strategy plan.

  2. You need to invest time in keeping up with all the latest SEO and Google changes - To give you an idea, Google make updates to their search engine about three times a day, but you probably only hear of about major updates they make to their algorithm once every seven months. To fully understand SEO, you need to keep up with the latest updates, industry chatter and experiments that are going on within the SEO space.

  3. Lack of keyword data – Way back in October 2011 Google stopped providing extensive keyword data within Analytics and instead started marking most of the keywords people used to find your website as ‘not provided’. This does not mean that there are not ways we can guestimate what keywords your prospects have typed into Google to find your website.


Now that you understand the pros and cons of both paid and organic search, I have one question for you…

“Which is better, paid search or organic search?”

If your budget allows, use a combination of BOTH paid and organic to run a quality lead generation campaign.

You can also run a mini paid campaign through Google AdWords for a couple of weeks before you start your SEO campaign, so you get access to that extra data. At least you will be able to see if your website converts your visitors into enquiries as a bonus.


1. List down all the phrases that your potential customers might search to find your business.

2. Type the first one into Google and hit the 'Google search' button.

3. List down in a spreadsheet all the websites who are running a Google AdWords campaign (the have an 'Ad' sign to the right of their website URL.

4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the rest of your phrases.

5. Remove all duplicates from your spreadsheet.

6. These are your paid search competitors. Study their ads. Study the title and description of their ads.

7. Now ask yourself - "What does my paid ad need to say in order to stand out from the crowd?"

8. Login to Google AdWords and play around setting a very simple campaign up using the list of phrases from your list in point 1 above and the ad copy you created from point 7.

9. You don't need to go live with it if you don't have any budget, but even if you can put a $50 starter budget towards it, you will receive some great data that will help you plan out your organic SEO campaign.



Great! Move forward to step 3...

What Google really wants


Recap a previous step...

  1. Introduction to search engines

  2. Paid search traffic vs Organic search traffic

  3. What Google really wants

  4. Understanding keyword research

  5. On-page content

  6. On-page optimization

  7. Off-page essentials


<<< Back to Training Academy Dashboard

bottom of page