Paid and Organic Search Work Hand in Hand

It’s very common for fans of organic traffic to argue with fans of paid traffic. The two schools of thought are almost diametrically opposed. But are they really so different? Recent research has shown that not only are they not on different sides of the spectrum, but they actually vastly complement one another.

Paid & Organic Search

Using both paid and organic search in conjunction results in more than just the sum of its parts. In other words, you’ll get more results from using both together than you would if you just added up the results from both separately.

Taking Two Spots Builds Credibility

Build Credibility

People are used to equating brands with having multiple spots. If someone sees that you hold the top spot in both the organic listing and in the paid listings, they automatically assume that your site is more credible. After all, your rank at the top – Twice.

If you search for major brands like Macys, or Amazon, you’ll find that they almost always appear in both the organic listings and in the search results. People have seen this often enough that they link seeing this dual appearance to having a quality brand.

Previous Visitors Use it to Find Offers

Special OffersOne surprising statistic is that as many as 50% of a site’s paid visitor clicks have actually visited the website before through an organic listing. This is particularly true if the paid listing appears on the same page as the organic listing.

Some people will view this as a bad thing. After all, if someone has already landed on your page, why should you pay to have them come back again? They already know what you’re offering, they already know your brand, isn’t it just a waste of money to get them to come back again?

Research shows differently. People often click on the links in the organic results to come back to a website’s home page. On the other hand, they tend to click on the paid links when they’re ready to buy. Paid links often take people directly to a buy page, to an opt-in page or to a specific offer.

People have gotten used to that as well and use these paid links to quickly access deals, offers, promotions and buy now buttons. By paying for links, you’re capturing people when they’re ready to buy.

Prevent Competitors from Taking the Spot Beat your competitors

Another prime reason to use both paid and organic search is that if you let a competitor take the spot, your revenue will actually drop.

Most people think of whether or not to do paid search as an on-off switch. The reality is however, that you’re not choosing between having an ad appear or not. You’re choosing between having your ad appear or having your competitor’s ad appear.

If having your ad appear would increase your revenues by 10% while having a competitor’s ad appear would decrease it by 10%, the risk of not paying for ads isn’t 10% – It’s a whopping 20%.

Revenue Per Visitor is Higher

RevenueFinally, the revenue per visitor tends to be higher once people have seen or clicked on two listings rather than just one.

There could be several reasons for this. One reason might simply be that you gave them more opportunity to act by taking up more screen space. Another reason might be because appearing twice gives you more of an appearance of credibility.

Whatever the reason it, it’s clear that getting two listings drastically increases revenues.

Does the marriage of paid and organic search apply to your business? The best way to find out is to test it. Aggregate a few months of past data where you didn’t run paid ads, then try running paid ads on the same pages that you appear organically. Test and track the results.

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2 Responses to “Paid and Organic Search Work Hand in Hand”

  1. Nick Stamoulis on February 3rd, 2012 3:04 pm

    There is certainly something to be said for having an organic and paid listing appear together on a SERP. It qualifies the brand and website to the search terms. Users will understand that it is highly relevant to their needs.

  2. J1 Physician Jobs on February 15th, 2012 11:12 am

    In my point of view, organic traffic is much more better than that of Paid traffic. Organic is friendly users for promoting the brand, it is a free promotion.

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