Organizations of all sizes are realizing the importance of online marketing, especially through search engines. Nowadays, people are more likely to end up on your website via a search engine than going directly to it. In fact, according to Jupiter Research, a Forrester Research company, 81% of users find their desired destination through a search engine.
This research makes it clear that it's very important for your brand to have a strong presence in the search engines, ensuring that you're in front of your target audience. However, there's still a big decision to make - whether to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization, or naturally ranking high in the organic results) or PPC (Pay-Per-Click ads, the Sponsored Links and purchased ads on a Google search) to get in front of your target?
Done correctly, both can get you on the front page of the search engines for targeted terms and in front of your desired audience. However, each has its respective benefits and costs. SEOmoz, a great SEO resource, recently published an article by the team at Enquisite quantifying the effectiveness of SEO vs. PPC.
The article details that organic results are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on than paid search results! That's a large disparity and is likely attributed to searchers gradually learning the difference between organic and sponsored results, and recognizing that organic results are typically the more respected resource. Also, researchers have used heat maps to show that searchers' eyes focus on the top organic results, with people barely noticing the ads to the right.
However, PPC holds a slight edge in conversion rates, as paid search results are 1.5x more likely to convert click thrus from the search engine. The SEOmoz article attributes, to the fact that the paid search result's "text and landing page is custom optimized by the advertiser."