Choosing Pay Per Click or Organic Search

June 23, 2012 by  Filed under: PPC 

Choosing PPC or Organic… or Both!

Recently, I was reading an article comparing Pay-Per-Click (PPC) to organic search. While there was good advice in the article, there were also glaring omissions and unintentionally misleading information that can cost you money and leads. Here’s the information you need when comparing PPC to organic SEO.

Organic SEO typically has more cost-effective long term benefits. The fact that you don’t have to pay for the specific placement of your ads can save you money over time. The free positioning (as a result of hard work) is nice to have in the long run. People will also recognize that it is not an ad, and therefore will likely view it as more relevant. If you can get organic rankings, they are definitely better and pay off as time goes on.

PPC ads can help you get a quick boost. If you’re not ranking well in the search engines organically, it’s probably going to take a while to move up to the top position. In the meantime, you don’t want to miss out on all those potential leads. If you’re willing to pay to get to the top of the search engines, anything is possible. You can do this yourself, but a good SEO firm will help you get the most for your dollar.

And that’s how people normally look at PPC vs. organic search. They think of it as short term/long term. There is some validity to that, and individually, that’s probably how they are each best used. However, there’s an important element missing here:

Implementing PPC and Organic search together gets you 50% more clicks!

Conventional wisdom would say that when your organic rankings are good, adding PPC is basically wasting your money. That’s not true though. Research has shown and proven that if you take away PPC, all of the clicks lost from PPC are not replaced by clicks on your organic rankings, even if you have the #1 spot!

  • If you have the #1 spot and remove PPC, 50% of the clicks you receive from ads will not be recovered by organic search
  • If you have spot #2-4, 82% of the clicks lost will not be recovered by organic search
  • If you have spot #5 or below, 96% of clicks will not be recovered

That’s the danger that’s promoted by some agencies – following their advice could cause you to lose over 50% of your leads! That’s not smart advice. Just because you have a good rank, doesn’t mean PPC won’t help.

Sure, if you’re cash strapped, you may not want to pay the additional money for the ads on Google. Don’t think of it as unhelpful spending – stats show that it’s almost guaranteed to generate more traffic.

*Adam Wormann is an Online Marketing Specialist for Delia Associates in Whitehouse, NJ, specializing in SEO/SEM. You can see how Delia Associates can increase your company’s profitability through Branding, Web Design and Online Marketing (SEO) at, and you can see more articles on their blog at

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