Google AdWords vs. Organic SEO

We get this question often when discussing marketing strategy with clients and potential clients. In this post we will lay out the pros and cons of using AdWords versus organic SEO and vice versa. First, we’ll introduce you to Google AdWords and Organic SEO. Next we’ll discuss the benefits and limitations of each. At Red Egg Marketing we will typically create a marketing strategy that incorporates a blend of Google AdWords and Search Engine Optimization. After reading the post, let us know what you think in the comments!

What is Google Adwords?

Google AdWords, simply put, is pay-per-click advertising that works in conjunction with Google’s search engine. If someone searches on keywords that match keywords you have set up in your Google AdWords account, then your advertisement will appear above organic search results.

For example, if I type “Door to Door Groceries” notice how “Door to Door Organics” shows up as the first and most prominent result. This is an example of an effective Google AdWords campaign.

You only pay when people click on the Google AdWords match, meaning you are only charged when your Google Ads successfully reach their intended target. Google AdWords is an auction based platform but your bid isn’t the only factor that determines your ad placement. The price you pay is based on a number of factors including your landing page relevance, ad rank, and daily budget.

What is Organic SEO?

In contrast, organic SEO is generally derived from the content on your website and its relevance to the user’s search query. Google will index your website using meta tags, meta descriptions, backlinks, content and more to determine your website’s ranking.

Google AdWords Pros:

So why choose Google Adwords? The first benefit is that the results of your efforts are measurable. You can see your ROI when you view the associated data including number of clicks, number of impressions, click through rate (CTR), number of conversions, conversion rate, cost per click (CPC), and cost per acquisition (CPA). In many cases AdWords can be significantly less expensive and more effective than major organic SEO work on your website.

The next advantage is that Google is the top ranking search engine by leaps and bounds. Consider that Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide!

Furthermore, with Google AdWords, you are only paying for the successful keyword searches. If users are not responding to your ads, you are not out any money. You are only charged when the keyword searches match up and users take action.

Finally, Google AdWords campaigns can be highly targeted down to neighborhoods, specific times of day, and even customizable by language. You won’t be wasting your money on traffic that doesn’t bring you in business.

Google AdWords Cons:

Nevertheless, there are a few drawbacks to Google AdWords. Even though Google is the top dog of the search engines, there will be some people you miss. Search engines such as Yahoo, AOL, Bing, and Ask Jeeves still get some use albeit not very much. Ads also tend to be overlooked by some users.

Organic SEO Pros:

Organic SEO is all about content. The days of gaming the system with black hat SEO are over. The more relevant and up-to-date your content is, the better chance your site will appear in search engine results. Organic SEO enjoys a level of trust that can’t be bought with ads. When you see the words “Ad” in bold, there may be a reluctance by your potential customers to click. No matter how relevant the result, nobody wants to feel like they were duped by advertising.

Organic SEO Cons:

Organic SEO takes a lot of time and hard work. There is a level of secrecy around what Google uses to determine how results will appear and they intend to keep it that way. This means you could spend a lot of time and money on a Search Engine Optimization strategy that might never get you results. This is a big risk. Google has been known to tweak their algorithm sending websites from first page results to being buried on page ooooogle.

Our Recommendation:

At Red Egg Marketing we don’t try to game the system. Instead, we typically suggest a healthy blend of Google AdWords and organic SEO. A targeted AdWords strategy mixed with localized Search Engine Optimization can be a very effective and affordable marketing strategy. We take the time to understand your unique offerings, ideal customer base, and budget to keep you relevant and visible online. Talk with us today about how to ramp up your online presence with these two different, yet complementary approaches.