In the dynamic and fast paced world of digital marketing, two primary strategies compete. Paid advertising vs organic SEO… Which is the most affective?

These two approaches are arguably the core foundations of modern marketing efforts. It is undoubtable that each of these approaches offer their own unique set of benefits, challenges and opinions.

Within this blog we will consider these two options. Paid advertising vs organic SEO, detailing which you should you invest in. We will delves into the requirements of each and explore some strategy options for both.

So, should you prioritise immediate visibility through paid ads, or should you cultivate long-term organic traffic through search engine optimisation? Let’s consider the options and dive straight in!

Paid advertising
Paid advertising: A picture of busy advertising billboards in a city. Photo by Joshua Earle

What is Organic SEO

Organic SEO is the abbreviation of search engine optimisation. This tool is the practice of optimising a website’s content, structure, and online presence to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Paid advertising

Organic SEO is considered a long game within the digital marketing world, inclusive of a wide array of strategies and techniques. 

Some of these techniques include: 

The goal of organic SEO is not only to increase a website’s visibility but also to attract targeted organic traffic, enhance the users engagement and strengthen the websites credibility.

Whilst a long term investment might seem like a daunting commitment, longevity will give your business credibility and financially mindful footing in the digital landscape.

Paid Advertising: A video explaining how to analyse an advertising strategy.

Paid advertising consists of financially investing in online adverts across an array of platforms. These platforms consist but are not limited to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and more. Through bidding or fixed pricing, you can secure a placement for your brand advertisement.

Paid advertisements can come in the form of text, image, or video. These then appear in search results, social media feeds, or even within other websites as banner ads.  

Some key considerations to be mindful of when choosing paid advertising include:

  • Budget: It’s important to determine how much you’re willing to spend on paid advertising. Having a strategy helps you avoid overspending or receiving a surprising bill that was unexpected.
  • Goals and Objectives: You need to define your specific advertising goals, whether it’s increasing website traffic, generating leads, boosting sales, or raising brand awareness.
  • Research Your Target Audience: Identifying your ideal customer personas and understanding their online behaviour, preferences, and demographics will ensure your ads reach the right audience.
  • Platform Selection: Choose the most suitable advertising platform for your business. The options range from Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, or other relevant networks, based on your audience’s presence.
  • Ad Format: Take time to choose the appropriate ad format for your campaign, whether it’s text ads, display ads, video ads, or others, based on your marketing goals and creative assets.
  • Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant and high-performing keywords that align with your product or service offering. A brand safety negative keyword list will prevent your ads from appearing alongside inappropriate or offensive content, helping protect your brand reputation. 

Crafting A Strategy For Paid Advertising 

Within this section I will outline an example of a strategy for paid advertising. The specifics of this strategy would of course be unique to you and your business, however this template can be used as a frame work to build upon.

There are three primary considerations when creating your strategy: 

  1. Goal: What is the outcome of your campaign?
  2. Target Audience: Who are you trying to target your ad campaign to?
  3. Platforms: What platforms will you run your ad on? Google Ads (search & display), Instagram Ads, Facebook Ads (Feed & stories).

Optimising your campaign as you run it based on metrics, is essential for effective campaigns

Some Key Metrics To Monitor Include:

  • Website traffic and app downloads
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • User engagement (active sessions, completed workouts)
  • Brand awareness metrics (social media mentions, website visits)

From here you can begin to craft the details of the advertisement, allocating budget, optimising the content and tracking conversion and analytics to monitor campaign performance. 

Paid advertising: A video of A Digital Strategy Workshop

Strategies For Organic SEO

As aforementioned establishing your Organic SEO strategy vs paid advertising takes a much longer time investment. Similarly to paid advertising, starting with a strategy will give you goals and a cohesive plan moving forward,

When beginning the journey of SEO I would start with these concise, actionable steps.

Step 1: Website Audit & Keyword Research

  1. Technical SEO Audit: Analyse your websites technical health for indexing and crawling issues using tools like Google Search Console.
  2. Content Gap Analysis: Identify topics and keywords your competitors rank for that you don’t. Find ways to integrate these keywords into your content.
  3. Keyword Research: Use tools such as Ubersuggest to conduct extensive keyword research.
  4. On-Page Optimisation: Begin to optimise title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, image alt text, and internal linking using target keywords.

Step 2: Content Creation & Optimization

  1. Content Plan: Create a content calendar targeting diverse keyword types.
  2. High-Quality Content: Focus on creating valuable, informative, and engaging content that answers user queries and solves problems.
  3. Long-Form Content: Prioritise in-depth, comprehensive content like blog posts or guides to establish authority and relevance in your field.
  4. On-Page Optimisation: Integrate target keywords naturally within the content, ensuring readability and user experience.
  5. Visuals & Multimedia: Use images, videos, infographics, and other media to make content engaging and break up text.

Step 3 : Monitor & Review

  1. Track Performance Metrics: Regularly monitor website traffic, keyword rankings, backlink profile, and user engagement metrics using tools like Google Analytics.
  2. Data-Driven Decisions: Analyse data to identify what’s working and what’s not, then adjust your strategy accordingly.
Paid advertising: A video explaining what are SEO examples?

As you can see from the comparison, paid advertising and organic SEO offer two very distinct approaches to driving traffic and conversions.

Positive of Organic SEO: 

  • Organic SEO offers the possibility to quickly rank in search engines and content sites for valuable keywords and phrases, earning qualified visitors. When optimised effectively, this ranking can position can be achieved virtually for free.

Nagative Of Organic SEO: 

Postitive Of Paid Ads: 

  • With paid ads, you can target precise and exact users quickly and efficiently, getting your message in front of those most likely to respond.

Negative Of Paid Ads:

  • Reaching your audience comes at a continuing cost which must be factored into your overall budgeting. For smaller business, it’s essential to consider who you will be bidding against in your campaigns. Small businesses might find themselves in a position where they are bidding against huge corporates with massive budgets.

The choice between focusing efforts on paid advertising or organic SEO comes down to a long list of individual circumstances and considerations. These include: budgets, target timeframes, business models and overall marketing objectives. 

Evident from the considerations discussed, there are an extensive array of considerations when debating paid advertising vs organic SEO.

In my opinion, primary considerations include, budget and time investment. These considerations will be unique, dependent upon your businesses position and size. Organic SEO is a long-term game. Patience, consistent effort, and high-quality content are key to achieving sustainable success. Juxtaposed with paid advertising, where financial considerations are the key informant.

Let us know your ideas in the paid advertising vs organic SEO debate in the comments.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *