Before we begin discussing the advantages and the disadvantages of both ‘natural’ search engine results and the ‘pay-per-click’ search engine results, let first re-cap the difference between the two. ‘Natural’ or also called ‘organic’ search engine results are the results.
Quote from “Wikipedia“:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.[jargon] In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.
Please have a look at the image below. The websites that appear inside the red squares are ‘pay-per-click’ advertising and the ones below the green arrow are the ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ search results:
Pay Per Click vs Natural Search Engine Results
Now that we know the difference between the two, lets examine the advantages that the ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ search engine results have over the ‘PPC’ (pay-per-click) online advertising mode. Quotation fromMarketingprofs.com:
Organic Search Engine Optimization
Organic search engine optimization campaigns offer several distinct advantages over pay-per-click advertising campaigns, as many recent studies have shown. What follows is a brief listing of some of the findings:
Propensity to click.
Studies indicate that people are less likely to click on paid search ads rather than on results from organic search engine optimization. For example, one study found that search users are up to six times more likely to click on the first few organic results than they are to choose any of the paid results, while an eye-tracking study showed that 50% of users begin their search by scanning the top organic results.
Other studies have shown that only 30% of search engine users click on paid listings, leaving an overwhelming 70% who are clicking the organic listings. And a 2003 study found that 85% of searchers report clicking on paid links in less than 40% of all of their searches, and 78% of all respondents claim that they found the information they we searching for through sponsored links just 40% of the time.
Studies are beginning to indicate that the trust level for organic results is much higher than that of paid results, and that paid results are looked upon as a nuisance by some searchers. One study found that only 14% of searchers trust paid listings, and 29% report being “annoyed” by them. Another study found that 66% of customers distrust paid ads. Clearly, it’s not generally a good idea to upset potential customers before they even click on your link.
Value of visitors.
Organic search engine results tend to be seen as non-biased, and they therefore are able to provide visitors that are more valuable. The overall conversion rate, or the rate at which searchers take a desired action on a site, is 17% higher for unpaid search results than the rate for paid (4.2% vs. 3.6%). Trends also have shown that more of the sales that result from search engines originated in organic search listings.
Visitors becoming more aware of pay-per-click as advertising. As more and more people turn to the Internet for research and information, more searchers are becoming aware of paid results as a marketing tool. One study showed that not only are 38% of searchers aware of the distinction between paid and unpaid results, 54% are aware of the distinction on Google, which is widely recognized as the most popular search engine.
Pay-per-click costs rising.
Meanwhile, pay-per-click costs are rising steadily. Between October 2004 and December 2005, average keyword prices rose from around $25 to just under $55.10 And the cost of keywords can increase by as much as 100% during the holiday season. These costs aren’t going unnoticed either; one study of problems experienced by US companies found that 57% of respondents felt that their desired keywords were “too expensive,” while 51% expressed concern that they are overpaying for certain keywords. On the other hand, when you outsource to an organic search engine optimization firm, your costs will likely remain more stable than the prices for pay-per-click advertising.
While a pay-per-click campaign may produce results more quickly than an organic search engine optimization campaign, organic search engine optimization campaigns can give you results that last. When the budget runs out for a pay-per-click campaign, or when your company decides that the pay-per-click campaign should be terminated, the results end as well. With organic search engine optimization, the optimized site content and other changes made to your site can have an impact on your search results until the next change in a search engine’s algorithm, or possibly even beyond.
Users also have rated organic search engine results as more relevant than paid results. On Google, 72.3% felt that organic results were more relevant, while only 27.7% rated paid results as more relevant. Yahoo offered similar results, with 60% calling organic results relevant compared to 39.2% for paid.
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