Free SEO vs. Paid SEO

Everyone that owns or operates a website can understand the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

It’s that place in Google where my website shows up, right?

Exactly. What most clients do not know is that there are multiple places in the return results where their site has the possibility of being displayed. More options equal higher opportunities for better placement, which in turn generates more visitors and traffic to your website. When speaking with an SEO consultant, you may hear the terms organic or paid placement when discussing a comprehensive SEO plan for your website. Do you know what each means?

Organic Search

Organic SEOThe organic search is the “free” search results area returned by the search engine. By “free,” I simply mean that you don’t pay anything to the search engine for your site to display. If the searcher enters the appropriate keywords into the search box and Google (for example) matches that query with your website, then you’ll see the return in the organic search area. But nothing is really free, right? In fact, organic search placement takes the most time to research and implement successfully. There are thousands of sites offering the same or similar services and/or information that your site offers. You’re going to need to invest some time yourself or pay for the services of a professional to make sure that your site is targeting the right keywords with the right demographic and the appropriate content. Otherwise, Google will rank your site poorly and your website could easily wind up buried on page 30. Most small business owners I speak with are hesitant about investing in organic search. Many believe it takes minutes to add a keyword and description and then their website will be returned in the first position on page 1. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Organic SEO is a continuous process of target keyword research and content optimization that is site wide. It’s not simply focused on your website’s homepage either. So, is it worth it? Well, considering 77% of searchers choose organic results over paid results with 50% clicking on the top two websites returned, organic SEO can be extremely valuable in driving a lot of traffic to your website.

Important SEO Statistics

SEO Paid Placement


Paid placement is the area directly located at the top right sidebar of the Google results page. Paid placement requires an account with Google Adwords. Once the account is set up, you create multiple ads that target specific keyword searches. Paid placement operates like an auction. After you have decided which keywords you want to target, you enter a cost you’re willing to pay Google each time a searcher clicks on your ad. You don’t pay for the impression (the ad showing), but instead you pay each time a searcher clicks your ad and is directed to your site. The keywords with the highest bids are shown in order. You set a daily limit in your Google Ads account so you don’t have to worry about getting an outrageous bill. The important thing to remember is while Google Paid search is a valuable tool, it doesn’t do two things:

  • Rate your keywords.
  • Track conversion rates.

It’s important to do your research. Google Ads are only effective for your business if the people clicking on your ads are in your target demographic and they’re going to your website and purchasing your goods or services. Otherwise, you are simply paying Google with no return. Read more about Google Adwords. Let me know if you have any questions!

Until Next Week,