eCommerce Design

Paid vs Organic Search: Which Is Better For My Business?

Jul 02, 2020   •   4 Min Read

Many businesses struggle with getting their content in front of their target audience. To help your audience find you, we're breaking down two main marketing initiatives: PPC and SEO.

PPC, or pay-per-click marketing, involves creating ads that are featured at the top of search results. The advertiser pays a small fee each time the ad is clicked − essentially buying traffic to the site.

SEO, or search engine optimization, involves optimizing your eCommerce website to improve organic search rankings and drive more traffic to your site − which is free but requires great effort.

If you're not sure where to start, then you're in the right place! In this blog, we're examining paid vs organic search and sharing common circumstances in which to leverage both strategies.

Paid vs Organic Search: Opportunities For Using Each

The first step to paid vs organic search is determining who your target audience is. Understand shopping personas and buyer profiles to clearly define your target audience.

From there, create a strategy to get your content in front of that audience. It's important to note that one strategy is not superior to the other, and the decision depends upon a business's unique needs.

Paid Search

Paid search is one of the most popular forms of PPC. When you see ads at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), that means the business paid for that ad and had bid on the placement.

If you're looking to leverage PPC for your business but don't know if it's the right decision, we recommend contacting a certified eCommerce PPC agency to see how they can help.

For now, we're noting some common situations in which businesses evaluate paid vs organic search, and paid search is usually the move.

When Wanting Immediate Results

With SEO, ranking at the top of organic search results takes time and hard work to maintain. It's foolish to expect results in a short period of time because SEO is viewed as a long-term strategy to drive and maintain site traffic.

On the other hand, displaying paid ads to the right audience is bound to drive significant results. According to HubSpot, PPC Ads can boost awareness by 80%. So, if your goal is to drive immediate results, we recommend leveraging paid search.

When Targeting A Highly-Specific Audience

If you're looking to target a highly-specific audience for a promotion, use paid search. A key feature paid search offers that SEO does not is its narrow targeting capabilities.

Facebook is a great example of a social media platform that offers PPC advertising. Though demographics and location are of the most mundane targeting criteria, Facebook's ad targeting offers a wealth of other options such as age, sex, languages, interests, life event targeting, lookalike campaigns, custom audiences and more.

Segmenting prospects based off these criteria ensures your content is being seen by a desired audience and helps to drive traffic to your site, which means more dollars in your pocket.

When There's A Time-Sensitive Offer

This one ties in with wanting immediate results. If you're running a limited-time promotion or offering something that's time-sensitive, there's no doubt paid search is the answer. Paid ads will get the job done and drive the results you want to see in a short amount of time.

Avoid using SEO campaigns as they take long to produce results and fail to ensure your offer is being seen by your targeted audience.

When Ranking Is A Priority

Anyone with a fundamental understanding of paid vs organic search knows that paid ads rank above organic search results. If your main goal is to rank at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) in order to increase Google AdWords conversion, then go ahead with using paid ads.

Organic Search

In a highly competitive eCommerce market, many businesses struggle to appear in organic search results. Investing resources and budgets into PPC advertising is bound to ensue high rankings; however, these tactics aren't always sustainable.

We love organic search because it holds lasting value. Businesses that make the effort to maintain and optimize their SEO strategies reap the benefits when their pages appear at the top.

If you're looking to expand your organic search presence and attract new customers, we recommend partnering with a certified eCommerce SEO agency that is dedicated to using both technical and non-technical SEO strategies to help your business grow.

For now, we're sharing some common instances in which businesses evaluate paid vs organic search, and organic search/SEO is the most viable option.

When Wanting Consistent Results

It can take as long as several months to a year before businesses see results of their organic search efforts. Although this may seem bothersome, we promise it's a manageable process. Investing the time to practice and developing patience will help you increase your organic rankings.

Enjoy the benefit of maintaining steady traffic to your eCommerce site once your pages appear at the top of organic rankings. Continue to improve and maintain your strategy to rank highly for an extended period of time.

When Establishing Website Authority

An authority website is the information source that people go to for reliable and trusted information. If you're trying to establish your website's authority, SEO is the perfect step to take. Authority sites generate high amounts of traffic based on URL, optimized web pages and unique and relevant content.

To rank in organic search, optimize your off-site SEO with backlinks from authority sites. These backlinks essentially tell search engines that your site is credible because it is "backed" by a trusted, authority site.

When Increasing Website Value

If you're looking to increase the value of your eCommerce site, we encourage leveraging SEO best practices. We like to think of websites as real estate on the internet, and there are a plethora of reasons to increase its value.

Take advantage of SEO and optimize your strategy to increase website traffic, backlinks from authority websites and organic search rankings.


Whether you've found your business in these instances before or needed clarification as to when it's best to leverage paid vs organic search, we hope this blog has helped provide you a better understanding.

Generally, we recommend using paid search to drive immediate results, promote a time-sensitive offer, target specific audiences or ensure a high ranking. On the other hand, we recommend organic search to drive consistent, long-term results, establish website authority or increase website value.

If you have any questions about leveraging PPC or SEO for your eCommerce business or would like to learn more about how Groove can help, contact us through the form below. Our team will be in touch!

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